New Equine Flexural Deformities Treatment Technique Studied

A novel treatment technique for correcting flexural deformities in foals showed promise in a recent study.
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A team of British researchers has recently completed a study evaluating the success rates of a novel technique they developed to treat congenital flexural deformities in young foals, with promising results.

Flexural deformities occur when the soft tissue structures in foals’ legs are disfigured causing one or more joints to be "stuck" in the flexed position; often, more than one limb is involved in affected foals. Mild cases often resolve with exercise alone or in combination with customized splints and/or casts, toe extensions, and/or intravenous oxytetracycline (which has been shown to relax tendons and ligaments). More severe cases, however, can keep the foal from standing and typically necessitate surgical intervention—which carries a high price tag and risks associated with general anesthesia—to correct the deformity. Lower limb deformities (such as those involving the fetlock and coffin joints) are more easily corrected and carry a better prognosis for recovery than deformities located higher in the leg (such as knee deformities).

Polly Compston, BSc, BVM&S, MRCVS, a resident in clinical research, and Richard Payne, BSc, BVSc, CertES, Dipl. ECVS, MRCVS, a surgeon and partner at Rossdales Equine Hospital in Newmarket, England, recently evaluated a novel technique for treating congenital flexural deformities (those present from birth) in foals’ lower limbs that they believe can save time, money, and possibly even a trip to the hospital

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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