Axial dens fractures can occur through the cranial physis of C2, separating the dens from the body of the vertebra, as seen in the radiograph. A fragment of the dens remains attached by its ligaments to the atlas and the the major part of the dens stays in contact with the axis but is also partially displaced along its physes. The axis per se moves ventrally, resulting in cord compression at the atlantoaxial joint. The physis closes at 8-12 months of age.
Cervical vertebral fractures
Vertebral fractures may be present with or without neurologic signs. Symptoms and prognosis of vertebral fractures depend on their location, the portion of the vertebra that sustains the trauma and the degree of compression of the spinal cord. Foals are more susceptible to vertebral fractures than adults.
The cervical vertebrae are more likely to be affected. Vertebral fractures in the adult horse are rare; approximately 50% involve the cervical vertebrae.
Cervical stenotic myelopathy is a common cause in ataxia in young horses.
Rearing and falling over backward (falls over jumps and obstacles)
Collisions and kicks (head on collisions)
The prognosis correlates with the severity of the spinal cord damage, the severity of the fracture, and the duration of the problem until treatment.
Clinical signs of cervical vertebral fractures
Clinical signs of cervical vertebral fractures depend on: