Pelvic Fracture in Horse

I’ve had quite a number of visitors due to the “pelvis fracture” posts on my horse Big Guy. To make it a little easier for you to find what you need I thought I would post this summary:

In Jan. 09, Big Guy fractured his pelvis in the pasture. How is unknown; it was determined to be a pelvis fracture due to his inability/nondesire to walk yet was resting weight on the leg/side involved. A pelvic examination (done up the rectum by the vet) found a large hemotoma (football size) on the right side – probably in the location of the fracture. X-rays were not done as I considered them dangerous in his condition.

I highly recommend the book: Lameness by Christine King (BVSC, MACVSC) and Richard Mansmann (VMD, Ph.d). It is bursting with information on all sorts of lameness and there is some info about pelvic fractures within.

He was immediately put on stall rest (12×12), deeply bedded with pine shavings, (and boy, did I wish I had rubber stall matting) for 3 months. He was initially on a regime of bute (phenylbutazone) to start – powdered so it could be placed within feed twice a day – but I decreased it as quickly as he could handle it, as long term bute usage can actually prevent healing and cause interior damage to the horses’ organs if used too long. In this case, (if I remember what I did correctly) he was on a daily dose for two weeks; reduced to every other day for two weeks, then once every three days for another week and then removed. (NOTE: your horses’ level of pain tolerance, severity of injury and vet should be your guide on this).

I started feeding him alfalfa as it has a high calcium content (but be aware you have to balance for calcium:phosphorus ratio) as well as a Calcium supplement called Super Bones for three months. Also, for pain and healing he was on InflammaSaver as well as a homeopathic for Musculo-Skeletal support.

Details of events and treatments can be found on this summary page of posts

At the end of three months, I attached a small pen to his shed so he was allowed a 12×24 area – which was later expanded to about 24×48 using round pen panels. During this time I did do some hand walking and pasture grazing by hand. Because he actually likes being in a stall, this wasn’t as big a deal as it might have been for a younger more fretful horse.

Within about 4-6 months post injury, I started him on walking rehabilitation. No trot was done, though sometimes he would break into it, and it was over large flat areas of ground with a lot of straight lines.

Eventually, I added in small hill work at walk, groundpoles and cavaletti all as GROUNDWORK – NO RIDING. I think the cavaletti helped him the most as well as the very small hill work.

In August, he started having monthly work done by a GENTLE chiropractor. You have to be careful with who you choose because some can be rather harsh in their methods and IMO would not be suitable for a horse healing from this major an injury. As always, consult your vet for guidance.

I started working him with the Activate your Horses’ Core exercises. Posts about these exercises are found at this summary –

Looking back I wish I had started the Activate exercises about 2 months earlier then I had.

About this time, I did put a saddle on him and check  him out – however, he still seemed very unstable and leery of his own balance. 11 months post fracture, I was back to riding him at a walk, doing some lunge of walk and trot, and some liberty work at faster speeds – and this is our status at this time.

I hope this helps… and if you have any questions you can post here or anywhere on the blog and I’ll answer you the best I can…

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2 Responses to Pelvic Fracture in Horse

  1. Sharon says:

    I have a horse that fractured his pelvis in Feb. He was put on stall rest for 3 months. At that time he was allowed a bigger area and taken on 5min walks 6x daily. After 2 weeks the vet said that he could be turned out into his round pen and connecting stall. I am wondering who guided you through the rehab program that you did with your horse. My horse is now weak in the rear end and cannot get up without assistance after he lays down. Since he is in a bigger area now he has laid down 1x per week. The vet says it will take time for him to get stronger but I would like help setting a program up for him as I want him to have an optimum chance of recovery. Any guidance that you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thank-you for your time.

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