On the topic of horses constantly looking for ways to kill themselves, I introduce my red horse, the “quietest horse in the barn,” bolting away from the barn manager (whom he loves) at turn in (read: dinner, and horse is an “easy keeper”) time, making a bee-line for the fence to the paddock next door, and trying to jump out. Said paddock fence is steel pipe fencing with hot wire cord strung at 2 levels inside the paddock plus a line above. Horse has his winter blankets on, catches right front upper leg/knee on the fence, doesn’t quite rotate at this time and lands in other paddock on his head/neck/left shoulder then rotates over, also slicing left stifle in the process (probably on hot wire or one of the hot wire attachments), gets up right away and then lets horrified barn manager catch him as he is now dead lame.
Things he did NOT do to himself - break his neck (although he had what appeared to be a subcutaneous bleed a few hours later that swelled up a lot but responded right away to ice), break his stifle, break his humerus, break his elbow, break or separate anything at the shoulder joint, break his withers, break the neck of the scapula, or break the supraspinous fossa or spine of scapula. What he DID do was manage to have an oblique fracture of the infraspinous fossa, which is underneath a lot of muscle and in this horse’s case some fat rolls. Unclear if he might have some broken ribs somewhere, as he has a bit of swelling that’s persisting farther back on his right side also.
Aside from being dead lame and not totally weight bearing on the right front, he doesn’t mind having things pushed on or moved around, and if it weren’t for some crunching noises, we probably wouldn’t have even investigated the scapula that thoroughly. We can only see it on ultrasound, as he’s too dense to image this on Xray.
It’s been 4 weeks, and he’s showing some improvement, including no longer having me freak out so much about the possibility of support limb laminitis. We have another month or so until his next ultrasound. He’s on Robaxin and Equioxx and is getting cold laser and PEMF.
Of course, we had just come out the other side from an SI injury, and figured out how to manage his asthma, and he was going the best he’s ever gone with me. Won at a local hunter show. Started taking dressage lessons again and doing great. Was at a nice lean (for him), muscled weight. Super fit and lovely. All things considered, I’m thankful he’s alive.
My vets researched this, and there are only 2 somewhat similar cases in the journals. Neither of which are very helpful. The radiologist thinks it will heal fine. The consensus is not to try to put a plate in. Consultation with canine orthopedic surgeons (where this type of injury is less rare) suggest it will heal fine. He already had saddle fit issues on this shoulder in particular, so that could be a new journey in the future, assuming he can be ridden again. The estimate is for 6 months stall rest. Maybe back to work in 11-12 months. Thankfully, he is the quietest horse in the barn, and so far handling confinement like a champ. We’ll see once he can move more comfortably if he stays so quiet.
Posting here in case anyone else has seen something like this. And, if not, maybe it could help someone in the future to follow along given how rare this seems to be.