Fractured neck - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-09-2011, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: San Jose
Posts: 416
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Fractured neck

So like a year ago me and Twink somersaulted, we went to change leads and he just tripped and went forward, I was okay besides a jammed shoulder and twink got up like he was fine but was pretty cut up if anyone remembers me posting the pictures. I had him worked on by a horse massuse(sp?) and chiropractor. He seemed fine for awhile but here and there he started having issues with keeping his head down and collected, he refused to collect as he picks the lead up and will go to collect but the second the inside leg extends in the canter he tosses his head up and out, he's also diving on me in corners of the arena as if guarding his neck or shoulder and continues to drop his shoulder no matter what I do.

And if I put a shank in his mouth nad ask for collection to see if he's just bein a brat he runs through the lope so I went back to the snaffle and he stopped running through it but didnt want to collect. I took him to the vet a couple months ago and the vet determinded it was a foot issue and I spend over 500$ in vet bills x-rays ect. But my usual vet was listening to what I was saying and is now pretty scared that he has a fracture in his neck from the somersault but is hoping its something less severe but either way Twinkie has to go in for more x-rays as soon as possible....

My vet said if its a spinal issue theres ways to treat it but for the most part his athletic ability will be gone?

My questions are is that what it sounds like to you? What are treatment options normally for spinal neck fractures and we believe its in the lower neck. How is competition looking for him in his future, he's a pretty much all around horse, reining,cutting,cow work, barrels, poles, ect.

Any information of experience would help wonders thanks guys-
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-13-2011, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-13-2011, 04:22 PM
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Why are we talking about fractured necks when no radiographs have even been done? What was the horse like in the days/weeks following the initial incident? How did the first vet go about diagnosing the hoof issue--what tests were done?
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-13-2011, 04:39 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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All valid questions.
If it were a fracture caused by the fall it would now be a healed fracture. Maybe one that didn't heal perfectly or has developed bony/arthritic changes or kissing spines etc.

Don't write him off yet. Get the x-rays then make an informed decision.
If he does have a problem that can't be fixed but he is comfortable moving in his own way, then maybe a career change or retirement is in his future.

My friend has a ASB that because of a throat problem could no longer do the high head carriage even after 2 surgeries. She now makes a nice low headed arena & trail horse.

I wish you & your horse only the best.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-13-2011, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Alberta Canada
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I don't have much experience in this area, but seeing as there are no responses, I will try to give you the best and worst case scenario from my experience. I can say that recovery will likely all be situational depending on severity. A horse at our barn was diagnosed with wobbles (a spinal issue where the spine meets the back) wobbles is kind of a catch-all phrase for some issue in the neck when the actual problem is unknown, it is a real disease, but they lump a lot of diagnosis in with that when they are unsure. He wasn't born with it really as it didnt show up until he was 4, but he took a fall in his pen as a yearly before being gelded trying to jump the fence and we think that too could have been a possibility of what happened. Once the girl who owned him started working at setting his head and collecting him, he seemed t increase at tripping and his 'wobbles'. Was that the reason for sure, no, no one really knows for sure, but it is a possibility.
From what we learned, spinal issues are expensive and a lot of work, but I would definitely wait and see what comes back with the x-rays and check your options from there. It is also just as likely that he is stiff in his neck and it is uncomfortable.

My mare had a stiff neck from a tumble she and I took on one of the early trail rides...she fell behind the group and got stressed...she sped up, tripped on a mound of dirt and we both pitched forwards, myself landing some what on her neck and falling off to the left side. I noticed after this that she didnt want to bend, she tossed her head and she could no longer touch my foot with her nose from the saddle on our warm up bends... I have been standing on either side of her neck before every ride with a treat and getting her to bend her neck over the shoulder closest and touch my hand that is beside my furthest away hip. I try to get her to do this without moving her back and also in the saddle i bend her both ways get her to drop her head to the ground and do plenty of circles bigger to smaller eventually tu turns on the haunches...since doing this she has loosened up tons and at our last show (she is a natural TWH
(padding or gimmicks did not cause her stiffness) she was shaking her head up and down so loosely and comfortably her teeth were clacking lol

Keep me posted, I am interested to hear what is the issue, goodluck!
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-13-2011, 08:32 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
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I agree with the others that said wait until you get the exrays then see what needs to be done. No need in worrying yourself about it until it is a sure thing it will just give you grey hair and wrinkles. LOL


Horses lend us the wings we lack.
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-16-2011, 01:38 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
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I have a big mare, 16.3h. In August of 2007, she became very ataxic. She could not walk a straight line. She kind of looked like a car with a bent frame traveling down the road when she walked. Always sideways. It was really weird because she went out to the pasture perfectly fine one morning and came in with severe neurological problems. My vet came out and diagnosed her with EPM. He didn't run any blood or spinal fluid tests, just a field neurological exam with feet crossing and tail pull etc... He felt like Wobblers Syndrome could not be the issue because she was 10 and had never had a problem before. She'd been vaccinated for West Nile, so he didn't think it was that.

I joined a great yahoo EPM group where I learned more than I ever wanted to know about EPM and other neurological diseases.

I spent about $5000 total treating her for EPM between vet bills, Marquis, and special supplements for the neurologically impaired horse. After about 9 months, I started rehabbing her and started riding her again after about 14 months.

This past winter, I started noticing some things that made me a little uncomfortable, and then mid January, she came in from the pasture ataxic again, but not as bad as in 2007. There was a new EPM blood test out and I sent it 2 samples spaced 3 weeks apart. The first came back suspicious, but the 2nd one, all her titers had dropped, so the vet at the testing clinic felt that she did not have EPM.

So, I trailered her up to the vet clinic and had a series of radiographs done on her neck. My vet found compressions at C4-C5 and C5-C6. He sent them to 4 vets, including the top Wobbler's expert in the US. All agreed that her neurological issues were most likely due to the compressions and most likely caused by a fall back in 2007. So, the bad news was that the cost of the surgery started about around $14,000 and that was just for the surgery and not for the month or so she'd have to be at the horsey hospital, plus the closest hospital was about 7 hours away.

There are basically 3 types of Wobbler's Syndrome. First type is in young horses that grow too fast, which causes disk compressions. They will sometimes outgrow it if you can restrict their diet and slow their rapid growth. They are also the best candidate for a successful surgery. The next most common is from arthritis due to age and hard work. These horses are generally retired or put down. Then there's the horses who have Wobbler's due to an injury. A good surgical outcome for them is best if done very shortly after the injury.

For my mare, we think this is what happened to her. I had videos from 3 schooling shows in the months leading up to the 2007 incident. I had my vet, an EPM research vet, and the Wobbler's expert look at all the videos and none could see any neurological impairment in the videos. The only conclusion is that she fell in the pasture and hurt her neck.

So, my mare is retired now, eating grass and getting fat. Right now, you can't really see any neurological problems in her, but I've had 3 vets tell me that she should never be ridden again. It makes me sick. She was bred for Dressage. She has this beautiful floaty trot and always wants to please.

Moral of the story. Get as many tests as you can and do your research. There are so many aliments out there and there is no way that a general practice vet can stay current on some of the more obscure ones, like EPM and Wobbler's Syndrome. My vet is a great general practice vet, but I should have pushed for more tests. Back in 2007, I might have been able to swing the surgery because I had a good job. In 2011, I just can't because I am self employed and my business is very economy based.

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