Fixing Neck Fractures in Horses? It’s Possible

A horse with a vertebral fracture without severe neurologic disorders could be a good candidate for surgical repair.

No account yet? Register


Maybe your horse careened across his pasture before losing his footing and taking a spill. Or perhaps he fell over a jump during training or competition. However it happened, your horse has fractured a bone in his neck.

Until recently, few attempts have been made to surgically repair these injuries. However, French veterinarians recently tested a surgical procedure on three horses that sustained fractured vertebrae in falls. All three horses exhibited neck stiffness, pain, and some degree of ataxia (incoordination), making them good candidates for the procedure.

“A horse that has a fracture of the body of one or two vertebrae without (severe) neurologic disorders may be a good candidate for a locking compression plate (or LCP) procedure,” explained Fabrice Rossignol, DVM, Dipl. ECVS, a surgeon at Clinique Équine de Grosbois, in Boissy-Saint-Léger, France.

Essentially, Rossignol and colleagues used a locking compression plate to repair fractured cervical vertebrae and even fuse two fractured vertebrae and an intervertebral disc in one case. Locking compression plates offer stability, which helps improve bone healing, he said. “The locking implants use screws, which lock into the bone, and a plate with a threaded head,” making these implants strong, Rossignol said.

Following surgery, all three horses successfully returned to their respective careers as a show jumper, a low-level dressage horse, and a flat racehorse

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

What do you think: Can pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) be managed by medication alone?
126 votes · 126 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!