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Stifle Trauma In The Equine Athlete

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Stifle injuries (bruising, fractures, meniscal and ligament tears), common in event horses, can often be successfully treated. The paucity of soft tissues on the cranial aspect of the stifle makes it injury prone. A horse with a stifle injury stands with the stifle partially flexed and with weight on the toe. Swelling tends to increase with severity, but bruising alone can cause severe lameness. Ice, laser, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory therapy often resolve trauma pain within 24 hours. Further diagnostic techniques, including radiography and ultrasonography, are indicated if no improvement is seen within 24 hours. Lacerations, no matter how small, may involve tendon sheaths. Fractures on the proximal aspect of the tibial crest respond well to rest for 4 weeks and inactivity for 3-6 months. If displaced, fragment removal or internal fixation may be necessary. Other serious fractures can be found from different radiographic views ( skyline view/flexed lateromedial view ) to determine a diagnosis. Prognosis is usually good with these types of injuries.

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