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On Monday my 17 year old QH gelding, Comet, came into the barn with a left hind leg about twice as large as the right hind, from right above the hock down to basically his hoof. Of course that caused concern and I called the vet out immediately; I'm no where near an expert and had no idea how it even happened. He was lame on it, but walking on it without looking like he was in a huge amount of pain.

The vet checked it out and said he had cellulitis, which was why his entire leg was swollen, but was concerned by a slight dent right above the hock. He took some X rays on Comet's leg and said, "this is weird". Just what everyone wants to hear, right? He told me that Comet has an incomplete fibula, something most horses don't have, and that it was fractured from almost definitely a kick. He prescribed 3 days stall rest, advil, and SMZs for a week and he should be fine from there.

I just don't understand why a fracture would take so little time to heal. Two days later, he is a little less swollen and walking around a tiny bit better. I believe he will need more stall rest. Does anyone else have any experience or knowledge of an injury like this? I am in contact with my vet every couple days about this injury, but was wondering if anyone on here has ever dealt with this, or knows more on incomplete fibulas. Comet is pretty much a companion horse after a tendon injury, as well as having DSLD. I just want him to be comfortable and as sound as possible moving forward.
 

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Fibulae is horses are more of a vestigial bone and don't do a whole lot in terms of stability or mobility in the leg. An incomplete Fibula is quite common and they usually have this from birth as the bone doesn't completely form in utero. Its kind of an odd thing to look at as on x rays it literally looks like pieces of bone just hanging around ( kind of like OCD lesions on a stifle). If he is mostly a companion horse it isnt anything to worry about, the only time it would be concerning is if you planned on doing high level competing and he was using his body to it's fullest ability. I used to work in lameness clinics at a racetrack and we saw several who had successful racing carriers with it.

In terms of the fracture, if it is just a hair line or chip, I can see why he would say only a few days. Although in my personal opinion, as long as he is happy, leave him in a little longer. If your horse already has mobility issues, the vet may have been worried about leaving him in longer and making him more sore from lack of movement.

You know your horse best, if you think he needs more time off, give it to him. If you think he will be ok being turned out after a few days, and stays relatively quiet, the extra movement may help clear out the cellulitis.

Hope this helps!
 

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Thanks, Cappaloosa! Definitely a lot of helpful information. My boy is looking so much better today, swelling has gone down significantly. Seems like he really will be okay!
 

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The above post explained quite well what fibula fractures are like to deal with. Its a common injury in race horses, and the frustrating thing with them is that the symptoms can last for months and can be quite vague.

What I liked about your post is that you spend the money to get an xray done, because its very unlikely you would have found the fracture otherwise. Wish you luck with the healing. Hopefully it heals on its own without more medical care.
 

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It took my horse a week or two to get over his bout of cellulitis. It was awful painful for him :(
 

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Thanks everyone! I left Comet in until Saturday afternoon, at which point it was approximately 72 degrees out, partly sunny, and the ground was finally dry enough that I felt comfortable letting him out. I walked him around a bit to assess the lameness (which was basically none) and the swelling in daylight as opposed to the stall, and he looked so much better. Still a little swollen, but not really noticeable to someone who didn’t know he had an injury.

Well, I walked him into the field and took off his halter and he gave me this devilish look… then TOOK OFF AT A FULL GALLOP. Comet doesn’t buck, never has- otherwise I think he would have. I was screaming after him, SO worried he was going to wipeout or reinjure it, but instead he went over to one horse, possibly the one that kicked him, and lifted his injured leg at him as if to say, “Don’t even try it again because I’ll get you back!” which is funny because Comet is the most passive horse I’ve ever met. He’d never actually kick anyone/thing. Then he proceeded to roll in four different spots, all the way over a couple times, and then went to the hay where he usually parks himself.

I guess he thinks he’s feeling better!

I checked him out after that episode and found he seemed to be perfectly fine, and went back that night to check on him and he still looked good, possibly better from finally getting to move around. I kept him in Sunday since it rained all day, and the ground got really wet and slick. He was NOT happy to be in again. Let him back out this morning and he is still doing great. I think it’s safe to say no further vet care will be needed unless something happens again.

I’m just amazed at this boy. After everything he’s been through in his life (I rescued him in 2011, close to starvation and hadn’t been ridden in 10 years), a bowed tendon, a fractured fibula, and according to my vet having DSLD, he still thinks and acts like he’s a young colt. I’ll have the vet back out in a few months to have him assess Comet for soundness for riding, as I’d like to use him for HUS (he loves the show ring and is a GORGEOUS mover), even just w/t. We will see what the future holds, but as long as he’s sound and comfortable I’m happy. Seems like we’re on the right path for that!

PS- Here’s a picture of my handsome boy.

 

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Thanks everyone! I left Comet in until Saturday afternoon, at which point it was approximately 72 degrees out, partly sunny, and the ground was finally dry enough that I felt comfortable letting him out. I walked him around a bit to assess the lameness (which was basically none) and the swelling in daylight as opposed to the stall, and he looked so much better. Still a little swollen, but not really noticeable to someone who didn’t know he had an injury.

Well, I walked him into the field and took off his halter and he gave me this devilish look… then TOOK OFF AT A FULL GALLOP. Comet doesn’t buck, never has- otherwise I think he would have. I was screaming after him, SO worried he was going to wipeout or reinjure it, but instead he went over to one horse, possibly the one that kicked him, and lifted his injured leg at him as if to say, “Don’t even try it again because I’ll get you back!” which is funny because Comet is the most passive horse I’ve ever met. He’d never actually kick anyone/thing. Then he proceeded to roll in four different spots, all the way over a couple times, and then went to the hay where he usually parks himself.

I guess he thinks he’s feeling better!

I checked him out after that episode and found he seemed to be perfectly fine, and went back that night to check on him and he still looked good, possibly better from finally getting to move around. I kept him in Sunday since it rained all day, and the ground got really wet and slick. He was NOT happy to be in again. Let him back out this morning and he is still doing great. I think it’s safe to say no further vet care will be needed unless something happens again.

I’m just amazed at this boy. After everything he’s been through in his life (I rescued him in 2011, close to starvation and hadn’t been ridden in 10 years), a bowed tendon, a fractured fibula, and according to my vet having DSLD, he still thinks and acts like he’s a young colt. I’ll have the vet back out in a few months to have him assess Comet for soundness for riding, as I’d like to use him for HUS (he loves the show ring and is a GORGEOUS mover), even just w/t. We will see what the future holds, but as long as he’s sound and comfortable I’m happy. Seems like we’re on the right path for that!

PS- Here’s a picture of my handsome boy.

Look at those big socks! What a stunner!
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