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Severe Equine Tendon Injuries Don’t Have to be Fatal

Casting, hoof stand cradle are critical to providing fetlock support

"Spook Wizzed on Me” — also known as Spook — is a 2-year-old Quarter Horse stallion that sustained a life-threatening injury on Aug. 31, 2018. He was startled while being led in from turnout, went backward and ran into an electric box for an RV hookup. He lacerated his right hind digital flexor tendons.

Farrier Takeaways

  • A shoe will need to support the fetlock as it descends during weight bearing to decrease tension on the lacerated superficial flexor tendon; elevate the heel for comfort; provide significant caudal support; and designed to avoid adjustments that require the shoe to be removed during the construction phase.
  • The design must be the proper height to provide enough support and remain comfortable. It also needs to allow active fetlock motion to prevent scar tissue.
  • The use of countersink bolts will avoid an increase of traction fromhex head bolts.

The wound was immediately cleaned with betadine solution, bandaged and sent to Peterson Smith Equine Hospital in Ocala, Fla. The laceration occurred just proximal to the fetlock, which meant it involved the digital tendon flexor sheath. An ultrasound image showed that approximately 85% to 90% of the superficial flexor tendon was severed (Figure 1 above), as was 10% to 15% of the deep digital flexor tendon.

The decision was made to not suture the tendon. Many surgeons feel it is difficult to keep the ends of the tendon together. When the sutures fail it creates more complications than allowing the tendon to scar back together…

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Brent-barrett-dvm

Brent Barrett

Brent Barrett, DVM, CJF is a veterinarian and an American Farrier’s Association certified journey­man with 20 years experience. Equine Podiatry Services is his referral-based practice in Ocala, Fla.

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