Influences on Equine Fracture Healing

Bone fractures in horses, whether catastrophic or microscopic, heal through a complex sequence of events.
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Influences on Equine Fracture Healing
Photo Credit: Doug Herthel
Editor’s Note: This article is part of TheHorse.com’s ongoing coverage of topics presented at the British Equine Veterinary Association’s 51st annual Congress, held Sept. 12-15 in Birmingham, U.K.


Bone fractures in horses, whether catastrophic or microscopic, heal through a complex sequence of events. Owners and veterinarians who understand this process can take steps to improve a fracture’s outcome and a horse’s prognosis.

Peter Clegg, MA, VetMB, PhD, Dipl. ECVS, CertEO, MRCVS, from the University of Liverpool Veterinary Teaching Hospital, in Cheshire, U.K., reviewed these influences on fracture healing at the British Equine Veterinary Association’s 51st annual Congress, held Sept. 12-15 in Birmingham, U.K.

Clegg described the fracture healing process in three stages: The initial inflammatory response that debrides (removes dead tissue) the fracture site; the repair phase that produces a callus (bony tissue that develops around the ends of a fracture during healing); and remodeling, during which scar tissue becomes bone. The variables that impact this process include loading, strain, and infection

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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