Ending the season with a break... of bone

Guinness' week off did not go as planned.

On the second day, the mare in his pasture was re-introduced. She's in heat, bitchy, and apparently super desirable. The field exploded into hormonal chaos. There was running. There was screaming. There was kicking. There was biting. There was more running. All of this is, of course, great for a potentially fragile and healing leg.
And super good for faces, too. Apparently...
The next day, Pig was extremely lame ... at the walk. He was refusing to more than a few steps at once, and the bump on his leg was MASSIVE. The bump was sitting on the suspensory a little, which set of huge alarm bells for me. It was also the first day he showed sensitivity when I palpated his suspensory, which made my little lizard brain freak out.
"Look at me! I'm the size of a small moon!" ... It seemed to say.
I took the only course of action open, I put that horse on stall rest ASAP and called the vet to schedule an x-ray and lameness exam.
"Horse prison?! Why I am in horse prison?! What did I DOOOOOOO?!" -- Hysterical Pig
After two days of aggressive treatment and stalling, Pig's leg finally started to calm back down. Of course, that was the day the vet was scheduled.
Pig's leg after two days of Surpass, cold hosing, icing, wrapping, and stalling. Note, bump no longer sitting on the suspensory. Cue immense relief.
The vet had me trot Pig some, both in circles and on the straight away. Pig was full of himself and enjoyed bucking and playing some on the lunge. Some of that may have been pain related, as he only really did it going to the left (where more weight would be on the bad leg). Overall, he looked pretty good. He would take one bad step out of every four, but looked better the longer he trotted on the lunge.

The vet palpated the suspensory, and checked his knees. He didn't mess with the fetlocks because "he's obviously going to come up positive on those." Well said, vet. Well. Said. Everything else checked out fine, so he was convinced everything we've been seeing is related to the splint injury.

I won't lie.  I breathed a huge sigh when he said the suspensory seemed just fine.

The vet asked if I wanted to do an x-ray. He said he didn't think there was a break issue, but if I wanted to be sure we could do one. I said yes.
Best choice.
I am utterly grateful to myself for saying yes, because what we found changed the treatment plan entirely.
Can we just appreciate how flimsy the splint bone looks on an x-ray? I mean. What is that? A toothpick?
Yep. We found a fracture. It's extremely hard to see, and already mostly calcified. (My picture of the vet's monitor doesn't really show it well, either. I promise it's easier to see on the actual x-ray.) The vet agreed with my theory that he probably popped the splint first, then fractured it when he whacked himself a bit later. Regardless of how he did it, we are extremely lucky that the fracture is very clean and already mostly set.

The treatment plan immediately shifted to one of extreme caution. The vet wants Guinness to stay on stall rest for 10 days, keeping up with the aggressive treatment I've been doing: cold hosing, Surpass, icing, wrapping. He can be hand grazed if he stays quiet (usually not a problem), but zero turnout or walking for the sake of moving.
Loooots of this...
After 10 days, we will reevaluate and do a steroid shot at the bump site. That will keep the bump from growing much bigger and impinging on the soft tissue in the area. The vet doesn't want to do the steroid shot until the bone is further along in its knitting process. Following the shot, Guinness will serve out another 10 day prison stall rest assignment. After that he can go back to turnout and light work.
"You mean I have to stay inside for 20 days?!?! Can you at least get me a book or something?"
So, I guess I'm in the market for fleecy splint boots now... and maybe an air vest...


  1. I hope he makes a speedy recovery!
    I hope he doesn't suffer cabin fever and that when he makes his return to the field, I really really hope he behaves when he is released

  2. Ugh no fun! Sounds like it was a good thing to do the x-ray though. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly from now on! Naughty horse, he heard about all the hard work he'd be doing this winter and decided to do something about it.

  3. oh. Poor Pig! What a nightmare for you- I totally get the lizard brain freak out thing. I do it all.the.time. I hope that the 10 days is not too arduous for the two of you. (and a vest might be a good thing).

  4. It sucks that Pig is injured, but thank goodness the suspensory is okay. I hope the recovery process goes well.

  5. I am so sorry, I hope Pig makes a speedy (and calm) recovery.

  6. He's an OTTB, a fractured splint is like, nothing! You'll be back to your regularly scheduled programming in no time at all. The hard part is going to be convincing him he needs rest.....

    Good luck! I like to teach my horses tricks while they're on stall rest or otherwise out of work. It keeps their minds busy and focused and helps with the spazziness. Just little easy things, like bowing, pushing a ball, and stretching exercises.

  7. Poor Guinness! The stall rest is definitely the worst of it. 20 days isn't so bad - it'll fly by! I wish I had some stall diversions to recommend... Mikey didn't appreciate any of the ones I tried with him so I can't recommend anything!

  8. Welp. At least he did it now instead of the beginning of the season?

  9. oh no!!! so glad though the road to recovery is already further along than originally anticipated!

  10. lol @ your vet's comments about his fetlocks. ugh Pig... c'mon buddy we just wanna see you sound and doing fancy prancing 3rd level type shit!

  11. Aww, hope he's feeling better soon!

  12. Yikes! Glad you listened to your gut and got an xray. Hoping for a speedy recovery.

  13. Jeepers. Glad it wasn't more serious! Hoping the healing journey goes well.

  14. Oh my gosh- PIG! Glad you guys have an action plan. Get an air vest for Pig!

    1. Bahahaha! I'm picturing little air vests on each of his legs.

  15. So sorry to read this!!! Speedy recovery for yours and Guinness' sanity!


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