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RE: [RC] Horse's Kick Injury - Susan E. Garlinghouse, D.V.M.

Your horse has already been running around with no catastrophic breakdown
for awhile, so in your case, I think it's safe to assume there was no
fracture.  I would still suggest ultrasound or radiographs to try to
identify an ongoing injury and therapeutic options.  If such a thing
happened again, then my suggestion is to put the horse into stall rest for
at least a few weeks until the possibility of a hairline fracture is past.
In my example, you're right that the hairline fracture didn't show up on
radiographs.  It might have a few days later once the fractures started to
destabilize.  **Usually**, fractures can be visualized, especially if taken
a few days after the initial injury, as these were.  This time, it just
didn't show up.  In the same scenario, I'd still opt for conservative
treatment (stall rest) and radiographs whenever possible.

BTW, coincidentally, I went to see a sudden lameness in a nice mare
yesterday.  Did radiographs and found a significant fracture, which will
respond very nicely to treatment.  If she'd just been turned out to heal on
her own, the fracture would probably have destabilized and she'd have
completely broken down.  Moral of the story, radiographs are usually a very
helpful tool.

Susan Garlinghouse, DVM

-----Original Message-----
From: Val Nicoson [mailto:sweetmare55@xxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2005 3:35 PM
To: suendavid@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx; ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: [RC] Horse's Kick Injury

Susan--You stated x-rays and/or ultasound make help me
identify what's going on with my mare.  But at the
same time...in your two examples...x-rays didn't show
a hairline fracture either.  So (speculating) IF she
received a hairline fracture of any large bone in her
rear leg...how _would_ one identify such?  Just
strictly rest and see if it resolves or what?

--- "Susan E. Garlinghouse, D.V.M."
<suendavid@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

In the past month, I've had two clients whose horses
received a relatively
'mild' kick from another horse, one on the inside of
the forearm midway
between elbow and knee, the other at the same spot
but on the outside of the
leg.  Both horses trotted out sound at the time, but
had minor puncture
wounds to mark where the kick was.  Both owners were
agreeable but thought I
was being paranoid when I told them to put the horse
into a 12 x 12 stall
with no exercise and watch closely.  One owner let
me radiograph the site a
few days later, no signs of fracture, the other one
passed.  Both horses'
legs suddenly blew up like a basketball a week after
the injury from the
occult spiral fractures that were invisible on
radiographs, and both horses
were put down.  No surgery or other therapy would
have saved either one in
these cases, but there is always a chance that stall
rest alone will allow a
hairline fracture to stabilize rather than totally
crumble as these did.

Anyway, the tibia is a larger bone than is the
radius, but my suggestion
after a kick is to put the horse in a stall with no
exercise and watch them
like a hawk for at least a few weeks.

In your exact case, Val, I agree, radiographs and/or
ultrasound will at
least identify whether there are problems open to
further therapy (say a
sequestered bone fragment, etc), and help pin down
if the problem is
resolving on its own, needs further intervention or
is a permanent injury. 

Good luck,
Susan Garlinghouse, DVM

-----Original Message-----
From: ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Val Nicoson
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2005 3:48 PM
To: ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [RC] Horse's Kick Injury

How long is too long for a horse to heal from a kick
injury...and where/how to proceed next?

My mare received a good solid kick to the muscular
area on the outside of her upper leg...behind the
stifle/kneecap area.  When kicked she screamed and
where I board at the lady ran out to see what was
wrong and brought her into the stall.  She was quite
sore, about a Grade 3 lame, and we carefully checked
her out but no swelling, etc was obvious.
The next day she had a swelling on her leg the size
a grapefruit.  She was on Banamine for about a week,
on MSM to help reduce swelling, and we even tried a
couple treatments of photon light therapy (which
seemed to help her pain/reduce swelling).  
She was allowed to roam the enclosed property by
herself which kept her moving but away from the
Then after she was doing much better after a few
she was put back with the herd to roam about 20
of pasture at will.  During the past few weeks she
been placed on limited pasture to keep an older
gelding company for the winter.  
She is running about and acting normally and seems
be in great spirits.  But the other day I discovered

that she is short-striding on the rear leg that was
Called a nearby Equine Vet Clinic and they feel that
X-rays and/or Ultrasound are in order since she is
still off on that leg.  Phoned our vet/chiro who
suggested further pasture rest and a few more photon
light therapy to help heal things up a little

But what would x-rays/ultrasound really do except to
say she's still recovering from the kick she
 Is it normal for it to take a long time for a hard
kick to heal?  
Any advice appreciated.
Thanks Val + Sania

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