Case Study: Blind Splint

Eight year old Arab gelding show horse with a 2 year history of chronic, recurrent forelimb lameness. Repeatedly blocks sound with suspensory ligament origin block. Large lateral splint, mid-splint bone. Reportedly no suspensory ligament injuries found on ultrasound exam. Referred for MRI of suspensory ligament, and surgery. MRI scan of forelimb suspensory ligament: extensive adhesions of suspensory ligament body and branches to cannon bone and both splint bones. Very large “blind” lateral splint impinging on suspensory ligament body and both suspensory ligament branches. No suspensory ligament tears were found.

This horse was treated surgically by taking down all abnormal adhesions of the suspensory ligament to the splint bones and the cannon bone. The “blind” splint was removed so that it was no longer impinging on the suspensory ligament. Sepra-Film (hyaluronic acid paper) was inserted at the site of all previous adhesions and “blind” splint to help prevent recurrent adhesions. The MRI scan gives a perfect surgical roadmap to address all problems through smaller incisions, less tissue damage, faster recovery, and quicker return to athletic soundness. The horse was hand-walked for 4 weeks and returned to regular athletic work 4 weeks after surgery. The horse is now sound again for the first time in over two years.

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