Veterinarian, Farrier Team Up to Fuse a Joint and Save a Horse

Arthrodesis case study from Iowa demonstrates success through teamwork

As I work with veterinarians on therapeutic shoeing cases, I become very aware of the importance of good farrier-veterinarian relationships. That relationship was a vital factor in the outcome of this case.

Fracture Peril

Alicia, a 3-year-old Appaloosa mare, was found three-legged lame by her owner in her paddock. She was taken to the Thomas Veterinary Clinic in Ottumwa, Iowa, where she was examined by Dr. Tom Lopp, a veterinarian.

X-rays were taken of the pastern area of her right hind leg, which had substantial edema. An eminence fracture, medial and lateral, of the plantar aspect of P2 was identified. The fracture was significant. In days past, it probably would have been treated with a single bullet, giving the horse and owner a different and undesirable end result.

But this horse was lucky enough to have an owner who was willing to endure the long road of recovery, as well as to incur the financial obligations that long road would entail.

The horse was anesthetized and surgery was performed. Two stainless steel plates were applied to the dorsal area of P2 and stainless steel screws were used to pull the fractured areas back together. During the procedure, all of the cartilage between P1 and P2 was scraped away to induce fusing of the joint. Care was taken not to interfere with the extensor process of P3 when the plates were placed. The horse was placed in a cast and confined to stall rest.

A period of about 60 days went…

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