Fractured hock joint?

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Fractured hock joint?

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    03-28-2012, 06:39 PM
Fractured hock joint?

I did a post 2 weeks back about my having issues with her left hind leg. Well after tons of x rays we found out she fractured her splint bone which wasn't bad and would heal on it's own. Well we had her on bute and she walked on it and put pressure but when we took her off it she wouldn't anymore so we called a horse surgeon and he told us to bring her in to get more x rays well today we found out she fractured her hock joint also. He said they would do surgery to put a pin in it. He also said she's most likely going to get arthritis and not sure if shed be able to be ridden again. Does anyone have experience with this? How did it turn out? We just don't wont her to be in pain her whole life. She is 17 and we only used her for trail riding. Were okay with her being a pasture horse even though we would love for her to be able to be ridden again. Would you go with the surgery? The other option is putting her done :( which we really do not want to do! But we also don't want her to suffer any advice/ information would be greatly appreciated.
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    03-28-2012, 06:44 PM
Realistically, a 17 y/o horse isn't a great candidate for hock surgery.

Can she recover to be pain free enough to be a pasture pet? Maybe.

It's up to you, but I wouldn't put a horse through major surgery and a long rehab period for a 'maybe'.
    03-28-2012, 06:47 PM
To be totally honest, and it's probably not what you want to hear, but I very much feel that putting her down would be the kindest option for her. If she already has a fractured splint bone, then a fractured hock on top of that, the recovering is going to be slow, painful and stressful for all involved. It will be a long period of box rest, and because there are two significant injuries involved, meaning the horse will want to be taking weight off the affected limbs, the chances of her developing laminitis in the 'sound' legs is very high. Not only that but mentally it is very hard for a horse to be boxed up for such a long period of time.

I put my horse down for a similar reason, though not a break. He was only 10, and had arthritis in his hock, and then went and tore his suspensory and ruptured a tendon in the same front leg. After 2 weeks I couldn't put him through it anymore and elected to have him put to sleep. It was the best choice I have made in a very long time.
After I laid Hugo to rest, I put a post up here about 'when enough is enough', in relation to when to make that final call. Your mare is 17 years old, putting her through surgery alone is a risk, the hock is a very problematic joint, and as the vet said, the chances of her coming sound again even with it pinned are slimmed. Plus arthritis and a fractured split bone.

Personally, I could never put my horse through all of that, because I couldn't stomach saying goodbye. The horse knows no different, it's there one second, gone the next. It does not think about what it's going to do tomorrow or what its goals in life are. It knows only 'now', and if 'now' is uncomfortable, painful, stressful etc. and we as humans have the knowledge that this is going to continue for a long period of time with little chance of a full recovery, then I think it is our duty as the carer of that animal to end their suffering.

Best of luck in your decision, it is never easy.
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    03-28-2012, 06:47 PM
If you can keep her comfortable on bute for 4 to 6 weeks is there any chance she can heal on stall rest?

Super Nova
    03-28-2012, 06:49 PM
Originally Posted by Super Nova    
If you can keep her comfortable on bute for 4 to 6 weeks is there any chance she can heal on stall rest?

Super Nova
4-6weeks isn't going to heal a pinned hock completely. Recovery time will be months. As well as the fractured splint bone and arthritis.
    03-28-2012, 07:05 PM
Originally Posted by Kayty    
4-6weeks isn't going to heal a pinned hock completely. Recovery time will be months. As well as the fractured splint bone and arthritis.
I was not referring to the surgery recovery ..........I was thinking that if the horse could be made comfortable on bute ......and the fracture is not displaced could it not heal on its own? With stall rest as it sounds like the horse can walk with bute??.....Just a question for the OP to ask her vet...........I remember hearing about a famous quarter horse that broke its hip and he was put on stall rest and made a complete recovery.

Super Nova
    03-28-2012, 07:06 PM
I agree with Kayty the mare is 17 years old why put her though surgery and box rest for months. At that she will possibly be in pain for the rest of her life sorry if that was my horse id put her down. Sometimes the kindess act is putting them down I would NEVER let my old mare suffer in pain. I wont keep an animal around for my own sake either when their time comes they get put down. The outlook for your mare isnt great do whats in her best interest which I think would be putting her down.
    03-28-2012, 07:13 PM
There is a time to think of the horses quality of life,not how you will feel if she is gone. Mare is 17 years old.She is on bute now, you take her off, she is in pain. Bone surgery is very expensive, not to mention very painful, she will have months and months of healing. She will most likely develop arthritus in the hock, which will of course hurt everytime she moves.Even if she does heal,I can't imagine she will ever be able to be ridden..She will end up being a pasture ornament, a very expensive ornament, if she even comes out of the surgery.
This is not the splint bone, this is a joint, and trust me, I have seen many many joint injuries that do not heal well. Plus, you have to think of laminitis in her other back leg or one or both front legs as she tries to keep the weight off of the leg with the pin in it and puts unequal weight on her other good legs.
Please, think of the horse and the pain she is going to endure , possibly for the rest of her life.
    03-28-2012, 07:13 PM
At 17 years old, if she were my horse, I would probably put her down as well. In their older years, it should be able quality of life, not quantity. And will she really truly have a quality life if she is stuck in a stall, in pain for weeks-months during her healing time after surgery? After that, the arthritis pain that's bound to set it in. Long-term buting can cause gastic ulcers, which is more pain, ontop of the stress of the healing process that can alone cause ulcers.

Some horses will do very well, others, you'll go through all of the surgery, the time spent treating her and hand-walking her and it'll all be for nothing because in the end, there's always a chance that she may have to be put down anyways.

If she were 5-8 years old, I'd probably have the surgery done, but at 17, it's so much trickier.

Unfortunately there is no guarantee either way. She might recover well, and you might even be able to ride her lightly again. On the other hand, she might injury herself on stall rest and have to be put down. Laminitis is also a possibility when dealing with stall bound recovering horses.

That is a very hard choice that is being placed on your shoulders and I hope that your able to do what's best for your horse in the end. I wish you luck in whatever that you decide! *hugs*
    03-28-2012, 07:44 PM
Originally Posted by Super Nova    
If you can keep her comfortable on bute for 4 to 6 weeks is there any chance she can heal on stall rest?

Super Nova

The splint bone would heal on its own. But her hock most likely would not heal with out being pinned. I discussed all the options with the surgeon. If I decided to do the surgery it would be months of stall rest and she is most likely going to get arthritis which is just going to put her in pain. Believe me I wish I could just put her in stall rest for 6 weeks and it woul be healed but unfortunately that's not the case.
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