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Potential fracture to radius?

If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all!

Horse can in with lacerations to his inside forearm. Possible fence injury or a kick. Walked in fine but sore when jogged. Vet came out and stitched up wound but could not tell me if I was dealing with a fracture or not. Recommended stall rest for 2 weeks, antibiotics and then a reevaluation for soundness. I’ve always thought fractures were the end game to a horse. Just looking for thoughts since I have to worry for 2 weeks until I get a definitive? answer? If just a hairline, can I get an estimate of how long of a rehab process I will have? And prognosis for future soundness? Just trying to get my head wrapped around it ahead of time.

The sooner you can get a diagnosis the better. In some cases, surgery may be advised, casting, or putting the horse in a sling. It should not be a difficult area to image. But, frequently, fractures are pretty painful for walking, so maybe that is why your vet wasn’t that worried?

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Fractures are not “the end game.” They happen relatively frequently.

I’m curious why the vet wouldn’t want to do radiographs. I can understand not doing them on the emergency call, but if you suspect a fracture, generally you want to do them within the first few days to see see the degree of displacement.

Radius fractures can heal fine with stall rest. My biggest concern would be how deep this associated wound is— open fractures are a whole different ball game. Open fractures of a major bone like the radius are very difficult to treat.

I also think if the horse was walking soundly, there probably isn’t a fracture unless it is incredibly minor or a tiny chip. They are usually very, very painful when something is fractured. You know when you see them.

Jingles for your horse!


I was told small hairline fractures are not visible immediately? That is why she wanted to wait 2 weeks to X-ray to be sure no fractures.

Yes he’s walking fine on it but the leg is huge due to the wound.

Thanks for the replies. Already dealing with one rehab and I really don’t need two right now.

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Right. Small hairline fractures are not visible immediately.

I can see the vet’s thinking now that you have shared more info: vet is concerned of the slight possibility of a very minor fracture. In which case, there isn’t much difference in management over the next two weeks whether it is there or not. So you might as well wait.

With a more serious fracture, while you might wait a day or two for better imaging, you wouldn’t want two weeks because by that point a fibrous union would be forming. But that doesn’t sound like it’s the case here.

If by chance you see a fracture in 2 weeks, all it would really mean is longer stall rest. Eight weeks is pretty typical for something like that. There are usually non-issues after that.

If he is walking fine, I think the odds are slim there is a fracture. Even the most stoic horses are very painful with a fracture.


My horse was kicked and had two hairline fractures just above his knee (on his radius). He was on stall rest with hand walking for 6-8 weeks and then back to light work. This was in 1991 and he lived a long and happy life, finally passing away at the age of 35 about five years ago. He evented and fox hunted for many years and my vets assured me that the fractures were not even detectable on his later radiographs.

I wish you and your horse the best even if there’s a fracture.


Thank you Texarkana for the comforting words. I did have a horse fracture his radius in the pasture from a kick but it was pretty obvious it was serious and he was immediately 3 legged lame.

Glad it is just a relatively short stall rest if it is a small fracture. I’m just getting done a tour of 10 months for a suspensory branch injury from my other horse so I’m a bit scarred about long term rehab.


Coming here to say fractures don’t always mean “the end” to a career or life.

My mare fractured her right radius at 18 months old, fence injury, very similar to what you’re describing. We rehabbed and I was cleared to start light riding at 2 1/2 by my vet, after rads. She’s 6 now, and does better with front shoes, but otherwise has no maintenance. I avoid intense work when possible, and no high impact work (jumping, gymkhana, reining etc). But don’t get me wrong, she is just fine when things get more intense. We just take extra precautions afterward.

In other words, do not panic right now. Do what your vet is telling you to do, and take it day by day. The one thing I would push for is rads ASAP. It’s better to know what you’re dealing with so you can adjust your rest and rehab program to fit the injury. We didn’t take rads for a year because we thought it was an OCD lesion… It wasn’t, and my vet found a very nicely healed fracture instead. We got lucky! Don’t play that game like I did, unknowingly.

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A non displaced fracture is one of the best injuries a horse can get. It heals stronger than before the break and is never a problem again.


Update, X-rays found no fractures and horse is slowly returning to work. Thank you fir your support!