Suspensory ligament injury

A good friend of mine has a thoroughbred gelding who is 17 years old and has a torn suspensory ligament. Apparently, it is completely torn.A good friend of mine has a thoroughbred gelding who is 17 years old and has a torn suspensory ligament. Apparently, it is completely torn.

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Dear Dr. Lowder:

A good friend of mine has a thoroughbred gelding who is 17 years old and has a torn suspensory ligament. Apparently, it is completely torn.

What treatment options are available, and can you suggest any rehabilitation programs that might help here.

The horse is used for trails, driving, drill team, and has been shown western and dresssage. What is the likliness that he could return to these activities?

Thanks a lot,
Jonathan Boudin
N.Vancouver, BC, Canada

Jonathan,

If the suspensory ligament is torn completely the prognosis is poor. This horse will require some serious nursing and shoeing with a supportive brace. You will do good to get the horse pasture sound. However, if the suspensory ligament is partially torn then the horse will require stall rest for an extended period of time (I would have to examine the horse to say for sure) and have to have his tendon ultrasounded prior to beginning any turn out or riding programs. The leg will require a support wrap during this time period. You will need to work closely with your vet and farrier.

Happy Trails,
Dr. Lowder