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Managing distal phalanx fractures in horses

A. B. M. Rijkenhuizen, K. de Graf, A. Hak, A. Furst, F. ter Braake, C. Stanek, T. R. C. Greet

FRACTURES of the distal phalanx in horses are relatively common and usually have a favourable outcome. Generally treatment consists of immobilising the hoof wall and a prolonged period of box rest. This retrospective study aimed to enhance the management of distal phalangeal fractures on the basis of clinical evidence. The medical records and radiographic images of 285 horses with distal phalangeal fractures were reviewed and the outcome after treatment was available for 223 cases. Information on patient signalment, cause and type of fracture, affected limb, degree of lameness, treatment regimes and times, convalescence time, hoof shape (before and after treatment) and final outcome were all collected. Long-term follow-up was achieved through telephone responses from owners and trainers.

Horses with a non-articular type I fracture had a better prognosis (91.7 per cent) for a return to the original level of use than those with an articular type II (69.9 per cent) or III fracture (74.1 per cent). The prognosis was fair for types IV and V fractures (57.7 per cent and 57.1 per …

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