Bringing a horse back from a torn tendon

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Bringing a horse back from a torn tendon

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    03-15-2012, 08:57 AM
Bringing a horse back from a torn tendon

Hi all :)

I have a lovely 11 year old qh x arab who 5 months ago tore the tendon sheath in his front left knee. He was on stable rest for 3 months and has been in the paddock for nearly 2 now.

He gets regular checks by my vets and they've agreed that he can start light work under saddle - so far we've been doing 5 minutes of walking a day and have started on just a few strides of trot now to.

I was wondering if anyone has had experience with torn tendons and what your horses recovery schedule was like and how long it took them to come back into full work.

I've already been told he can probably never jump again (which doesnt bother me I only jumped him to add a bit of variety into our routine) but the vets havent given me any indication on as to how long this sort of injury takes to fully recover. Some say 6 months, some say 12-18... some say not at all..

Any stories anyone would like to share with me?
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    03-15-2012, 09:39 AM
Green Broke
18 months minimum for the tendon itself normaly.

My 18 yrold pony tore his suspensory and it took 6 months of box rest, 6 months of field rest and 6 months of very very slowly bringing him back into work before we were sure it had healed!
    03-15-2012, 09:46 AM
Super Moderator
I think it depends on the horse, the location of the injury, and the severity. My mare severed the tendons in her back leg. We had to haul her to the equine hospital for repair, she spent around 10 days there and then came home to spend the next few months in a stall. After that she was moved to an outdoor pen. I think about 8 months after the injury we were told she was "as good as she was going to get". We started lightly riding her and a year later, she was actually better then she had been at 8 months. She is able to jump and has been jumped a few times but we really don't push her. She's actually been shown a few times in beginner walk trot classes and won at the local level. Her injury was very severe and she only had about a 70% survival rate as it was. She has a lot of scar tissue and will never be 100% limp free. (she's lost the flexibility in that leg) but she's doing far better then we thought she would do.
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    03-15-2012, 09:48 AM
My experience is about the same as Faye's. Woodstock tore his digital extensor in his rt front the fall of '10. It was months of stall rest, laser therapy and hand walking. Then to pasture. I just started him back under saddle this last month. So far, so good aside from his pasture time made him fat & out of shape lol!
    03-15-2012, 09:53 AM
Green Broke
My lad had stem cell therapy to his leg but unfortunatly the cells failed to divide (a risk in a pony who is so old). However by the time we were finnished you could not see where the injury had been and he was perfectly sound afterwards (to the point of winning major championships in a show under saddle)
    03-15-2012, 10:00 AM
He has Tenosynovitis if that helps

It's the tendon sheath that runs over the top of the knee.

There are adhesions to the sheath and he's had 4 cortizone shots into the tendon sheath and had the synovial fluid drained twice....
    03-15-2012, 10:05 AM
This is a photo of the tendon injury about a month after he did it when it was drained for the second time.

Sorry I don't have a current photo. It looks much better now and the hair has pretty much all grown back from the ultrasounds etc.
    03-15-2012, 10:11 AM
Super Moderator
Beauty severed one of her tendons 100% and the other 80% in her back right. She severed the artery in the left. I remember the artery is what scared me the most. It was so much blood. I remember sitting almost completely underneath her holding her leg as tight as I could with my bare hands while I waited for my dad to come from his house. Everytime her heart beat, a huge gush of blood would pump out and there was a tiny vein that had been severed, it was squirting blood about four feet away. (A tiny stream). The leg w/ the tendon injury was hardly bleeding at all. It looked more like a scrape and was just oozing a little. I really wasn't all tha worried about it so when the vet finally showed up (after nearly 2 hours) and then laid her down so he could sew up the artery before even looking at the other leg... I was shocked when he said... I can't fix this and talked about putting her down. Next thing I knew, we were standing up a very drugged horse and loading her into the trailer for a 2 and a half hour drive to the equine hospital. The vet had told us that it would cost about $2500 to $3000 to fix her. It was $2500 just to get her in the door. Actual cost was closer to $6000. I switched to a new vet after that. One that has a larger practice with a surgical facility....
    03-15-2012, 10:17 AM
Oh jeeze that's awful! your poor horse! And poor you! I cannot for the life of me imagine how terrifying that would have been for you! How is she now? Is she getting better??
    03-15-2012, 10:38 AM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by wingana    
oh jeeze that's awful! your poor horse! And poor you! I cannot for the life of me imagine how terrifying that would have been for you! How is she now? Is she getting better??
As witchy as ever! That photo of her up above was actually taken last summer. We don't ride her much anymore but she is rideable at the walk trot canter and small jumps. She does have a hitch in her stride though.

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