Pastern Bone Damage in Sport Horses: Conservative Treatment vs. Surgery
Veterinarians have two options when faced with bone damage—technically called osseous trauma—of the long pastern bone in horses’ fetlocks: conservative treatment (rest and controlled exercise) or surgery (placing a screw to stabilize the bone and promote healing). But which is more effective? A team of researchers in the U.K. sought to find out.
Giulia Lipreri, DVM, an equine surgery resident at the University of Liverpool’s Leahurst Equine Hospital, and colleagues reviewed the records of 21 sport horses diagnosed with osseous trauma via an MRI exam of the fetlock region. If needed, they followed up on cases with a telephone questionnaire to establish their present soundness and exercise levels.
Twelve horses (nine with forelimb injuries and three with hind-limb trauma) received conservative management, which included four to six weeks of stall rest, hand-walking for a month, and three to six months of paddock
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