Use of a fetlock support brace to manage lacerations of equine flexor tendons

C. Whitfield-Cargile, R. M. Dabareiner, D. Sustaire
Equine Veterinary Education
January 2011

A retrospective analysis of 15 cases of flexor tendon lacerations managed with a fetlock support brace between 2004 and 2008 was performed. Information was gathered concerning exact nature of the injury, treatment details and outcome. Limbs involved included 2 forelimbs and 13 hindlimbs. Eight of fifteen horses (53%) presented with a dropped fetlock, elevated toe or both when bearing weight on the affected limb. General anaesthesia was performed on 7/15 cases to further evaluate and treat the wound, 8/15 cases were managed with local anaesthesia and/or sedation only. The brace was applied within 14 days of presentation and maintained for a mean of 106 days. Sixty percent of cases were sound and used as intended and an additional 20% were sound but at a lesser level of work. Horses with flexor tendon lacerations can be managed with a fetlock support brace alone and have a similar outcome with shorter hospitalisation than horses managed by other methods.