Orthopaedic surgery in horses has broken boundaries in the past decade. Many fractures can be repaired successfully to allow full healing, recovery and return to a fulfilling career. Accurate diagnosis and preparation of the fracture patient for travelling is essential. Immobilization and compression of the fracture site for travelling using multi-layer bandaging, splints casts etc to prevent further damage is strongly advised. Pre-travelling x-rays to assess the level of stabilizing needed for travelling may be required. Fracture management has been aided with the use of arthroscopic keyhole surgery to ensure the proper alignment of the joint surface (articular fractures) for optimal surgical repair. The use of pre- and intra-operative digital radiography is routinely used in our fracture patients. This aids implant placement immensely.
Assessment of non-radiographically evident fracture with the use of scintigraphy has improved the ability to diagnose stress related fractures in long bones of the horse and helped decrease the fatality rate due to fractures on the training gallops and racetrack.
The use of arthroscopic surgery for intra-articular lesion repair and diagnosis/treatment of soft tissue articular injuries has prolonged the performance life of athletic horses. Digital radiography has increased the sensitivity of diagnosis of radiographic lesions.