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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wondering if any one has experience with neck fractures in horses, after a paddock injury on Thursday, my mare has x-rayed today with a fracture in her c2-c3. She was initially treated for colic, but after ~3 days of not being herself I called the vet back out to the farm and asked for an x-ray.

Has anyone got experience with this sort of injury and what was the prognosis? She is my first horse (just over 3 years into this journey) but is a wonderful mare with great bloodlines and amazing potential. Even if dressage is out of the question she has a forever home and we'll do whatever it takes to make her comfortable.
 

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I am sorry, I'm not any help, but we have had one with a skull fracture who, aside from the big knot on his head while it healed, you would never have known that he had the injury at all. Another who had a displaced fracture in her hoof which was for years by her previous owner assumed arthritis. She was just treated for pain management and with a shoe to help keep her comfortable. So, totally not the same but regardless they can recover or manage quite well for what thats worth. I am curious, what is your vet saying in regards to her recovery? What is the treatment?
 

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It depends on where it is, how bad it is and whether you can manage the recovery period and recommendations that go along with it. I had my stallion put down as the prognosis not good and recovery efforts would have been much more than I could provide.
 

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Cervical Spine Fracture -
Fractures of the cervical spine usually have history of trauma with an acute onset. Falling on the cervical area while jumping, pulling back when tied to an inanimate object or running into a stout fence with the head extended are characteristic histories. They may also present as colic as the pain and discomfort is very obvious. Foals with Salter fractures of the cervical body endplates have a dramatic ventral distortion of the midcervical area. If the patient is in lateral recumbence and cannot become sternal or stand, then a fracture of the lower cervical bodies with severe cord compression should be considered.

Radiography is indicated to assist in the diagnosis. Initial treatment is the standard anti- inflammatory medications previously mentioned. They should be offered feed and water in an elevated (chest high) position. The degree of ataxic behavior will improve rapidly in most cases. If the patient is still standing and radiographs show a fracture additional imaging such as CT scans and myelography are not indicated unless the degree of ataxia does not improve or becomes more dramatic. Often the articulation anterior or posterior to the fracture causes cervical stenosis. The majority of cases do improve and either return to competition or in the case of a foal develops into performance horses.


From here - Equine Spinal Trauma Fractures-Neurological Signs

Follow your vets orders. I'd also consider a consult with a specialist or at least someone experienced in this type of fracture if your vet does not have extensive experience with an injury such as this.
 

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The big red horse on the left, with the five-foot-nuthin’ woman holding him, is a Get of Dash For Cash.

He fractured his neck on a hot walker at the race track and could never race again.

Someone called the lady holding him and she bought him for next to nothing, just hours before he was to be loaded on the kill truck.

He could never be tied, not even in a horse trailer. She & I spent many months riding out in the rock hills of Southern California, rehabbing/conditioning him. She was a long time expert & kind horse woman who pretty much knew how to help him but also sought out a Rehab vet in our area —- there was no shortage of specialty vets:)

Hawk turned out to be a great and willing horse, who carefully negotiated any trail we eventually took him on.

So — depending where and how serious your horse’s injury, as @QtrBel said, the horse can be rehabbed for a new career that likely will not involve dressage, etc. just some good old smell-the-roses trail riding:)
65DA8FAF-CAD6-41D4-8367-8A7719BC0028.jpeg
 

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I bought one once that was healing from a neck/ cervical fracture. It was stable. I wanted to see how he healed and so did the vet I worked for. He was 7 years old.

I basically did nothing but turn him out on a few hundred acres, with other horses, and check on him daily.

He healed with his nose tilted slightly to the right. He never took a wrong step, so his vision had adjusted. Was a sweet horse. He was the kind you could not ride for two months and when you did he was as mellow. After getting in shape he competed nicely in lower level reining.

A timid young boy came to visit, rode the horse, and they hit it off well. I let them buy him. Eventually, the young fellow was putting his own children on him. The horse's injury was a great conversation starter at shows, along with placing well, and the young man became less timid.

Good luck with yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for all the replies. We've had a public holiday long weekend in Australia, so will be talking to the surgeon and getting a second opinion tomorrow. Just want to make sure I have all the facts and we can come up with a clear plan. Fingers crossed that she stays stable and we come out the other side.
 
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