Your Guide to Equine Health Care

Figuring Out Limb Fractures in Horses

With treatment advancements, many horses with fractures either return to partial or complete athletic function or can be used as breeding stock. Learn about the types of fractures and how veterinarians handle them.

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Figuring Out Limb Fractures in Horses
Veterinarians can use digital radiograph units to diagnose fractures right away on the farm. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Type of fracture, diagnosis, and treatment dictate a horse’s chances of recovery

Finding a horse unable to bear weight on a limb can be a nightmare. And when your veterinarian says the word fracture, you might immediately anticipate the worst-case scenario: euthanasia. But don’t jump to conclusions.

With all the advancements in modern veterinary medicine, fractures are no longer death sentences for horses. Veterinarians can repair and rehab many limb fractures, and the horse might even be able to return to work.

Dean Richardson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, head of surgery at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, in Kennett Square, says the biggest horse owner misconception is that you can’t treat a

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Written by:

Sarah Evers Conrad has a bachelor’s of arts in journalism and equine science from Western Kentucky University. As a lifelong horse lover and equestrian, Conrad started her career at The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care magazine. She has also worked for the United States Equestrian Federation as the managing editor of Equestrian magazine and director of e-communications and served as content manager/travel writer for a Caribbean travel agency. When she isn’t freelancing, Conrad spends her free time enjoying her family, reading, practicing photography, traveling, crocheting, and being around animals in her Lexington, Kentucky, home.

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