الأربعاء 24 أبريل 2024

Why Horses With Broken Legs Are Often Euthanized

موقع أيام نيوز

Horses put a huge amount of stress on their legs, especially when galloping and jumping. And, there are several bones below the knee and hock. Some of the bones are within the hoof, and when they shatter, they are far more difficult to stabilize and heal.

Over half of the horse's weight is borne on the front legs, so those bones and joints, in particular, endure a lot of stress. Even if a horse's bones are healing, other complications can set in, such as static laminitis, making it difficult for the horse to fully recover without ongoing severe pain.1

Fractures That Can and Can’t Be Repaired

The less complicated the fracture, the more likely the horse will recover. Greenstick and stress fractures are incomplete fractures, and these can usually be treated successfully. Simple fractures, where there is one clean break, are more likely to heal successfully than shattered bones (or comminuted fractures).



Compound fractures, where a broken bone penetrates the skin, have a much poorer prognosis and are less likely to heal successfully without complication. Such cases are likely to be euthanized, particularly if the blood supply to the leg has been compromised.2 Fractures that involve joints such as the pasterns, are often irreparable. Fractures that occur above the knee are also difficult to repair.

Signs of a Horse With a Broken Leg

A horse that has fractured a leg will be in obvious distress. It will not want to bear weight on the leg and there will be swelling.2 The leg may appear to be crooked, or a bone may even appear to protrude through the skin

As soon as possible, have a veterinarian examine the horse. Continued movement can worsen the fracture or cause additional injury to the horse, so it must be kept as still as possible.2 If the veterinarian determines the fracture can be repaired, the horse may be transported to a veterinary hospital