Tendon injury

My 8 yr old stud had recieved a tendon injury to his superfisical tendon right below the ankle. It was cut about 3/4 of the way through. We casted it and gave him stall rest and rehab. He is ...My 8 yr old stud had recieved a tendon injury to his superfisical tendon right below the ankle. It was cut about 3/4 of the way through. We casted it and gave him stall rest and rehab. He is ...

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Dr. Lowder,

My 8 yr old stud had recieved a tendon injury to his superfisical tendon right below the ankle. It was cut about 3/4 of the way through. We casted it and gave him stall rest and rehab. He is on free excercise now as far as us leading him in a walk and trot. He still limps on it but the swelling stays down as long as shoeing is done about every six weeks. We put an egg bar shoe on it.

Was wondering if you had an opinion on him being sound or if there is something else we could try? This injury happened in November of 2002.

Thanks for your time.
Cody

Dear Cody,

Flexor tendon lacerations, such as the superficial digital flexor injury you describe, do not have the most favorable prognosis. Partial cuts in tendons, such as in your horse, are typically not sutured unless greater than 75% of the circumference of the tendon has been cut. The limb is then cast, usually for six weeks and then physical therapy is begun. The prognosis for horses’ with such injuries to return to normal athletic function is guarded.

Partially torn tendons can later rupture completely causing lameness. Another potential complication of these injuries is that adhesions may form around the tendon causing decreased range of motion. For this reason, some veterinarians advocate the use of a splint (rather than a cast) so that passive range of motion exercises can be done on the leg.

You should continue exercising your horse lightly and try some passive range of motion exercises (pick up your horses hoof and flex and extend the ankle joint). Discontinue the exercise and contact your veterinarian if your horses’ lameness worsens or does not improve.

Thank you,
Dr. Lowder