Standing sedation to repair lower limb fractures in racehorses proved to produce similar results to surgery performed under a general anaesthetic, but with the advantages of less surgical complexity, time, cost and risk.

New research has shown that the use of standing sedation to repair lower limb fractures in racehorses produces similar results to surgery performed under a general anaesthetic, but with the advantages of less surgical complexity, time, cost and risk.

Standing fracture repair undertaken by Richard Payneat Rossdales Equine HospitalStanding fracture repair in the horse is a relatively new surgical procedure with very little follow-up data available.

However, a new study, titled “Short and long term results following standing fracture repair in 34 horses”, looks at the case records of 34 Thoroughbred and Arab racehorses that had a lower limb fracture surgically repaired by one surgeon at Rossdales Equine Hospital up until June 2011.

The study, by Richard Payne and Polly Compston, has been published in the Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ).

The injuries included non-displaced fractures of the proximal phalanx, the third metacarpal bone and the third metatarsal bone, all of which are relatively common fracture sites in racehorses.

Hospital records, website research, and owner and trainer telephone questionnaires were used to evaluate follow-up.

The short and long-term results were similar to those of horses undergoing repair of comparable fracture configurations under general anaesthesia, with 20 of the horses returning to racing within an average of 226 days.

This early research indicates potential for tangible benefits, including avoidance of the inherent risks of general anaesthesia as well as a reduction in surgical complexity and associated costs, leading the way for future research into larger cohorts of horses.

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