The thin sheath or membrane that covers the cannon bone is called the periosteum.
When a calcium deposit (periostitis) develops, new bone growth occurs
and gives the appearance of the shins being ‘bucked”. Bucked
shins are common among young horses that have not fully grown and are
being trained heavily. Soreness is the result and rest is the cure. Bucked
shins are very common.
Bone chips are very common in horses and are actually broken pieces of
bone from the knee or ankle. They can be very troublesome and painful
or be of no bother at all. The size of the chip and its location determine
whether or not removal is necessary. Arthroscopic surgery is the usual
course of action and is followed by rest and rehabilitation. Most horses
can resume a racing career after chip removal.
A bowed tendon is a serious injury. Less than 50% of horses that suffer
a bowed tendon are able to return to racing. Usually caused by severe
strain, a bowed tendon is an inflammation and enlargement of the flexor
tendon which is located at the back of the front cannon bone. Horses
that are “back at the knee”, have long or weak pasterns,
or are improperly shoed are more likely to experience this injury. The
best treatment is long periods of rest. Enzyme injections and surgical
procedures are often used to aid in treatment.
A common problem with racehorses, bleeding or Exercise-Induced Pulmonary
Hemorrhage (EIPH) is commonly found in horses after exercise or in racehorses
after or during a race. Some studies indicate that from 70 to 100 percent
of horses in training experience EIPH. During a race or training conditions,
the blood pressure in the vessels of the horse that lead from the heart
to the lungs is very high. The walls of the vessels
can break and force blood into the airways. The physical make-up of
the horse in action can also contribute to bleeding as the muscles
used in running act as a pump against the chest cavity further exasperating
the problem. After a horse bleeds during a race or training they are
usually declared ineligible for at least 10 days. A second bleeding
put them on the shelf for 20. There is record of bleeding in thoroughbreds
as far back as the 18th century. Bleeding Childers, whose name was later
changed to Bartlett’s Childers was a bleeder and also the grand
sire of Eclipse, who can be found in the bloodlines of over 75% of modern
thoroughbreds. Bleeding is often treated with lasix. Lasix can lower
the blood pressure of the horse and is also a diuretic that dehydrates
animal. The reduced BP with less fluid pressure against the chest cavity
can alleviate bleeding, but is not a cure.
A fracture of the condyle of the cannon bone. The condyle is the bulbous
bottom or distal end of the cannon bone that fits into the fetlock joint.
Condylar fractures can be repaired surgically. The prognosis for survival
and a return to racing soundness is dependent on the severity of injury.
In uncomplicated cases, after surgery to fix an uncomplicated condylar
fractures, the horse normally is given stall rest for one month, followed
by stall rest and hand-walking for another month. After this 60-day
period, follow-up x-rays are taken to determine the rate of healing.
If all is going well, there likely is another two to four weeks of paddock
exercise before the horse might resume training. In the case of more
severe fractures, the recovery period could encompass many months before
the horse is ready to return to training.
The sesamoids are two small, delicate bones located at the back of the
fetlock, held in place only by ligaments. These little bones located
just behind the pastern serve as pulleys over which the deep digital
flexor tendons pass. A fracture to the sesamoids usually involves an
injury to the suspensory apparatus. Depending on the severity of the
injury, surgery can be performed to treat the fracture.
A hard enlargement on the rear of the cannon bone immediately below the
hock. It begins as an inflammation of the plantar ligament and the inflammation
leads to a thickening of the ligament.
While running, the horse "grabbed" one of its front hooves
with a rear hoof, tearing skin and tissue. Cost and amount of training
lost depends on the extent of the injury.
Under stress, or if improperly shod, the hard substance of the hoof (similar
to the human fingernail) can crack and become a source of pain - sometimes
including the development of an infection in the exposed soft tissue
underneath. This ailment can be corrected with a fiberglass or epoxy
patch, and shoeing. Cost and amount of training time lost, if any, depends
on the extent of the injury.
Colic is a general term used to describe pain in the gastrointestinal
tract of a horse. Colic can happen any time to any horse and has many
causes. It is the number one killer of horses. Treatments vary depending
on the type of colic and its severity. A "simple" colic may
cost around $100 for treatment. More severe or prolonged colics can
cost several hundred dollars to treat. If the colic is severe enough
to require surgery, the cost of treatment can be several thousand dollars.