Fractures in racehorses are an inherent risk of the job they perform and the most common of these are seen in the cannon and pastern bones. These can be categorised as either complete or incomplete but traditionally surgical repair of either type of fracture required a general anaesthetic.
In recent years, repair of certain fractures under a standing sedation has become possible and routinely performed with success. This is provided that the fracture is incomplete, non-displaced and the patient’s temperament suitable for the procedure.
Surgery performed in this way avoids the risks associated with general anaesthesia and as a result can greatly reduce the costs involved. However, in contrast to these benefits is the risk of the horse moving during the procedure. This requires careful management of horse’s sedation and local anaesthesia levels as it will be weight bearing on the affected limb during the surgery.
Standing fracture repair is not suitable in all cases, however it is a welcome advance in the treatment options available for many career-threatening and potentially catastrophic injuries.
If your horse is being treated by a veterinary surgeon for any injury or illness please do remember to keep us informed together with providing a veterinary report detailing the diagnosis and treatment.