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evanthomas 06-27-2011 06:12 PM

Radial Nerve Injury
i am going to post a video along with the video description copy and pasted into here.

My five year old mare athena ran into a fence 4/9/2011 and got stabbed by a piece of fence into her chest area. She was bleeding "all over" as my friends said. They called me and the vet and I was there in an hour and the vet was already halfway done sewing her up. She had gone into shock immediately after the injury and stayed out of it even until late in the night I didn't leave the barn until at least ten when I was beginning to nod off sitting on the floor of her stall. The vet had confirmed that she had hit her radial nerve. We don't know if she severed it or just crushed it or how bad the nerve itself was damaged but she wouldn't walk that night and for a week after couldn't walk very steadily. She stayed in her stall for two weeks with all four legs wrapped and poultice in her hoof to prevent founder. She was taken out twice a day during those two weeks by me and my two best friends to take off the wraps, massage her legs and hand walk her for 20 minutes. She was given salt in her grain to encourage her to drink, an antibiotic (for two weeks), probios (til a couple days after the antibiotic) and two and a half vitamin b1 pills once a day. After two weeks she was let out into her own small field alone (happened to be her fifth birthday 4/24 what a nice gift) for a week. Then moved her back into her field. She know only slightly drags her foot every other step and has severe muscle atrophy in her left pectoral causing her to paddle that foot. I am currently not shoing her but she is getting regular trims. I recently put her on a joint supplement suggested by my vet. I rode her once in week 9 just walking and a light jog and once in week 11 the same thing. She is very energetic in the field and runs all around with the other horses. Please let me know if you've experienced this type of injury or are now.

In the video I show you her walking, her scar and her muscle atrophy. Any suggestions on rebuilding her muscle are much appreciated.

evanthomas 06-27-2011 06:51 PM

does anybody know any exercises, vitamins, supplements or any type of treatment for this injury on top of what i'm doing already?

evanthomas 06-28-2011 06:56 AM

i feel very much in the dark during this injury, is there anybody else who has dealt with this?

evanthomas 06-29-2011 01:04 PM

bumping to see if anybody new knows anything. :(

atreyu917 06-29-2011 01:15 PM

I just watched the video...poor girl. I have no advice, but I hope someone here can help you :/

evanthomas 07-02-2011 07:15 AM

thank you, i hope so too. It doesn't seem like a very common injury. from what i see so far most horses don't recover at all. for the first week it was really stressful for me, it took so much to get her to walk and she wasn't putting her left leg past the right and dragged it. I had to get behind her and push for the first couple of days because she didn't want to walk.

natisha 07-02-2011 03:15 PM

She doesn't look as bad as I thought she would. She's walking pretty well, seems to know where the leg is. If she were mine I would have a chiropractor out to assess her & possibly teach me some stretching excercises to do with her.
She's very pretty & I would not give up hope of a full recover. Horses can bounce back from some horrific accidents. I hope your lovely mare does too.
Please keep us informed of her progress. Thanks

Daisy25 07-03-2011 02:36 PM


She's a pretty little thing, despite the injury - isn't she?

And despite the muscle loss, she seems to have plenty of movement. I wonder if it's just a matter of regular exercise? I would think it would be the same approach as any other creature suffering a traumatic injury. Gradually increase her activity. Keep her using those muscles and let the body rebuild.

What sort of exercise is the vet recommending?

stoneybug 08-18-2011 12:17 PM

I hopefully have good news for you -- at least our case of this type of injury is turning out well.

Two years ago we had an 8 yr old reining horse get run into at a show. He was hit on the point of his shoulder by another horse on a fast gallop. It knocked him down and from his reaction, we thought his neck or spine was broken. When he finally stood, he was non weight bearing on the front left. X-rasy showed no fractures, and severe radial nerve damage was diagnosed.

After 48 hours in ICU on heavy doses of DMSO and other anti-inflammatories, we were told to put him down. He was still very swollen from shoulder to wither, and still lethargic due to severe pain and totally non weight bearing, choosing to lay down 95% of the time. But, like most people with special horses (he was our daughter's show horse) we decided to look for alternatives. Long story short, poeple at the show came to our aid (he could not travel the 13 hour trip home) and he was taken to a nearby barn. He remained laying down 80% of the time and was totally non weight bearing for the next 60 days. They kept a support boot on his non-injured front leg to try to prevent founder, but I believe what saved him was his willingness to stay quiet and LAY DOWN the better part of the time, as well of course, as impeccible care (deep bedding, plenty of attention, good feed & water, etc).

After 30 days they began leading him around a little on 3 legs for mental well being and circulation, and at 60 days he began resting weight on the toe of the injured shoulder. By 90 days he was stable enough to transport home, and stand on the leg while we carefully had his feet trimmed (they were VERY long). After a total of 120 days he was hobbling around OK on all fours, and we turned him out on 120 acres pasture with a few buddies - his shoulder muscles were totally atrophied, yet he was apparantly sound to walk on the leg and could shuffle around the pasture in total happiness. There was no muscle tone around the joint at the point of the shoulder, so it looked like it would pop out from under the skin when he put weight on that foot. But all we wanted was for him to be retired in peace and tranquility, so in our mind it was the end of the story.

BUT - it has been two years - TWO long years - and the vacancy in front of the scapula is now totally filled in. The shoulder looked pretty much unchanged for around 20 months, but in the past 4 months rapid changes are evident. This horse runs and bucks and plays and when we made a longe line video to show all his friends and supporters, you could not tell he'd sustained an injury. If his progress continues, which we assume will be the case, we will bring him in and try riding him, with the goal of getting him fit to show again.

Important Keys to our success story:
immediate anti-inlfammatories and pain meds
support of the non-injured leg
this horse being a naturally good patient that LAID DOWN 80% of the time
TURN OUT time with no expectation

We had lots of folks wanting to give this horse a bunch of different treatments, and they are all greatly appreciated, but bottom line is I don't believe anything can make a nerve grow back faster. I am now of the opinion that if it grows back, it grows back. Nothing can hurry it along. I also have a new found appreciation for the common old-timer's advice of "turn 'em out and forget em", as hard as that is to do sometimes when you WANT so badly to help one recover.

This horse was a fat, fit show horse and was fed a premium diet while in immediate recovery, but then was a pasture horse with minimal care for 16 months following - he stayed of adequate weight, but did lose about 150 pounds of "show bloom". His feet were trimmed and he was vaccinated etc, but he got no extra care. Just time, rest, and room to move around with his pasture buddies.

nicole25 08-18-2011 12:35 PM

At the barn I rode at in college a little white arabian was kept with the QH i rode and a draft X. One night something freaked all the horses out and they all ended up with scratches all over them except the Arab, he ran right in the fence and the wire dug into one of his front legs. I cannot remember which leg at the moment. The wire was barbed wire, used to keep small animals out of the field. It cut into him so deep that you could see bone. The vet was called he was given IV after IV stitched up. A few skin grafts had to be done. He was kept in his stall all through the winter and lead around everyday. He has several other treatments to help heal this. If the wire had cut any deeper he would of had to be put down. This was about 2 years ago I would say. I am not exactly sure what was all done for him to recover. I know lots of meds and love and care aside from surgeries and several weeks at the vets at UPENN. He has made a full recovery goes on long trails (i still keep in touch with the BM) and is just as hardy as he was before this happened.

I love hearing success stories like this, it makes owning a horse and all of the trials and tribulations so worth it.

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