Case Studies

Browse our case studies to learn about different types of illness and injuries that we have handled.

Case Study 1: Eye Injury

Eye InjuryAn early morning call  came from a client who reported one of their horses had a huge laceration around and possibly involving the horses eye. Thia was an emergency due to the clients description of the laceration and possible involvement with the eye.

Upon arrival at the farm, a severe laceration was found medial to the right eye. It was in a “L” formation and upon exam it was discovered to have torn down to bone and involved some of the musculature behind the eye.  A floracein eye stain was placed in the eye to determine if any injury to the eye itself had occurred. The stain was negative, fortunately the eye was normal. The horse was sedated and the wound area clipped and scrubbed.  The wound was lavaged and surgically debrided. It was necessary to remove a portion of the cartilage at the orbital rim. As a precautionary measure ointment was placed in the eye and the process of suturing the area was begun. The wound was closed with 2 layers of sutures. A drain was also put in place to allow any excess secretions to freely exit the area. Banamine was administered and SMZ antibiotics were started.

The owner was instructed to apply hot compress to the area 1 to 2 times a day. In addition the area was to be cleaned daily as well as keeping the drain open. Triple antibiotic ointment was to be applied daily under the wound site. The horse was to received SMZ twice a day and  oral Banamine given for pain and  to help with inflammation.

On recheck 5 days later the wound had begun to granulate. The wound was cleaned and lavaged. A gauze soaked with betadine was packed into the pocketed area where bone could be visualized.  Several recheck exams for suture removal and further debriding of the area were necessary.

Thanks to the owners dedication and compliance with aftercare instructions after approximately 8 weeks only a slight scar remains.

Case Study 2: Fetlock injury

15 year old Quarter Horse gelding, primary use – barrel racing. Owner complaint of recent decline in performance, especially turning to the right.  Previous history of maintenance hock injections. On exam hoof tester negative, RF fetlock increased effusion to joint with good range of motion still present but pain of passive flexion of joint.  When trotted out horse was 1/5 lame on RF and 2/5 lame post fetlock flexion.  To confirm location of lameness intra-articular anesthesia of the RF fetlock with Carbocaine was performed. Approximately 20 minutes post injection horse was negative to flexion of the fetlock joint and trotted sound.

Radiographs were taken and a chip fracture off the dorsomedial  aspect of P1 was evident.

Xray of right fetlock

Radiograph of right fetlock

When damage to the joint exists, as evident in this radiograph, we know that the cartilage surface and most likely the subchondral bone is compromised. In order to achieve the best prognosis for return to athletic performance surgery is most often recommended to remove the chip fragment to prevent further damage to the articular surface. The arthroscopic procedure also allows visualization of the joint surfaces to determine the amount of damage the joint has already incurred and aids in follow up treatment.

Arthroscopic view of joint surfaces.

Arthroscopic view of joint surfaces.
* Picture courtesy of Blue Ridge Equine Clinic

This horse was referred to Blue Ridge Equine Clinic for arthroscopic chip removal and debridement.  The corresponding cartilage surface had some mild scoring as a result of loose chip fragment. Post surgery stall rest with hand walking is required for up to 8 weeks to allow the joint to heal. Currently the horse is doing well, in a rehab program and will be back to racing later this year.