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Veterinary Recommended Treatment For Equine Splints

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Equine Splints and their Occurrence

 

What are Splints (Interosseous Desmitis)?

Splints involve lesions in the connective tissue between splint and cannon bones manifesting themselves as swellings and bony enlargements on the splint bones of both fore and hind legs. In early stages enlargements may be invisible, but deep palpation often reveals painful swellings. Later, calcified boney enlargements appear and if lameness is present it usually disappears except where enlargements impinge upon the suspensory ligaments.

 

Splints - Diagnosis

Why do splints occur?

  • Splints occur as bony enlargements and swellings on the fore and hind legs of horses. When splints occur on the foreleg, they usually occur on the medial side (inside) of the leg close to the knee. When splints occur on the hind leg they usual occur on the lateral side (outside) of the leg close to the hock.
  • Splints are caused by damage to the dense, fibrous interosseous ligament which holds the splint bone to the cannon bone. This is accompanied by inflammation with heat to the damaged area and lameness.
  • As acute inflammation settles new bone is laid down in this area forming a hard proliferation (lump), which depends in size on the degree of the injury. This is the splint.
  • Such factors such as nutrition namely mineral imbalance, excessive weight, work on hard and uneven surfaces, unbalanced hooves, and conformation can be the causes of splints. Fractures of the splint bone can also lead to the formation of a splint. Radiographs should be taken if a fracture is suspected.
  • Splints detract from the appearance of horses. In some cases splints cause clinical lameness. In all cases the value of the horse is affected. In short, splints are costly whenever they occur.

Blind Splint:

  • A blind splint is a splint whose proliferation generally grows inwards. A splint causes clinical and chronic lameness when it impinges upon the suspensory ligament. Lameness is relieved only when the splint proliferation no longer impinges upon the suspensory.

False Splints:

  • False splints occur resulting from trauma such as an external blow. This can be the result of striking a leg with the opposite hoof, kicks and external knocks. A bony lump occurs where there is damage to the periosteum covering the bone.
  • Treatment of the periostitis of false splints must be immediate within several days of occurrence. This requirement pertains to only false splints. True splints can be treated at any stage after injury with either Splintex Silver or Gold as indicated.
 



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