Horse one year later. Photos: Dr. Scott Fleming

Beware of Potential Post-operation Infections

Routine castration leads to a laminitic event in a Thoroughbred racehorse

Pictured Above: A year after the horse graduated from Fleming’s care, the horse won a maiden special weight race in Florida.
Photos: Dr. Scott Fleming

Why should a farrier be concerned about a routine castration?

A post-operation complication from castration, or any other procedure, has the potential to trigger an inflammatory cascade. When the horse’s body activates a protective reaction to an injury or an infection, there’s a significant risk of laminitis and a bacterial disease known as septicemia.

That’s precisely what happened to a 2-year-old Thoroughbred racehorse several days after he was gelded. The owners brought him to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., because he had spiked a fever and was lethargic.

Farrier Takeaways

  • Infection and non-hoof traumas can create an inflammatory cascade leading to laminitis.
  • Post-shoeing radiographs are more important than pre-shoeing
    to confirm that trimming and shoeing goals have been achieved.
  • With quick treatment and prolonged follow-up care, horses can
    sometimes successfully return to work after a severe laminitic episode.

“He walked off the van normally and didn’t present with hoof issues,” Scott Fleming, an equine veterinarian and a certified journeyman farrier at Rood & Riddle, told attendees at the 2019 International Hoof-Care Summit while speaking during the Friday Lunchtime Panel, presented by Delta Mustad Hoofcare Center. “After anesthetizing him, draining the abscess at the surgical site and treating him medically for the infection, he started to get sore in all four feet.”

Baseline radiographs were taken of all four feet. Then the horse…

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Katie navarra

Katie Navarra

Katie Navarra is a freelance writer who draws from her experiences owning and showing horses, and inter­viewing the industry’s leading pro­fessionals.

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