Horse Leg Injuries

Written by Sierra Rein
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The legs of a horse, especially the forelegs, are the most common areas of injury and pain. The entire weight of the horse's body is placed upon these thin bones and delicate joints. When a horse runs, all the forward momentum is pushed into the hooves, leading to possible fractures and tears in the bones and soft tissues of the legs.

Without proper treatment, these leg injuries can result in poor balance, further injury and the inability to concentrate and learn during training sessions. The ultimate danger is lameness and the possibility of the need of euthanasia. Because this is the worst scenario for both horse and owner, it is essential that the warning signs of leg injury be noticed and dealt with before permanent damage ensues.

The Top Known Horse Leg Injuries

Tendon injuries occur mainly due to overuse or misuse and can cause pain, inflammation, and swelling. A bowed tendon means that a case of tendonitis has gone untreated for a number of days or weeks. The complete or partial rupture of a tendon is the most serious of tendon injuries, and can lead to lameness within 24 hours of the incident.

Ligaments can also experience pain and injury, especially during cases of desmitis of the suspensory ligament. Desmitis typically occurs in racehorses that take long, deliberate strides and place undue stress between the second and fourth metacarpals on the reverse side of the third metacarpal. Luckily, this only results in mild limping or moderate lameness, and with proper care and treatment, the ligament can be repaired.


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