Objective—To determine whether heavy (≥ 680 kg [≥ 1,500 lb]) draft horses undergoing surgical treatment for acute signs of abdominal pain were at a greater risk for anesthetic and postoperative complications and lower postoperative survival rates than light (< 680 kg) draft horses.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—72 draft horses.
Procedures—Medical records of draft horses that underwent exploratory celiotomy for signs of acute abdominal pain from October 1983 to December 2002 were reviewed. Medical records of draft horses in which a celiotomy was performed for correction of reproductive abnormalities were not included in the study.
Results—When compared with light draft horses, heavy draft horses had longer durations of anesthesia, more postoperative complications, and lower survival rates. Seventy-six percent of horses that recovered from anesthesia had postoperative complications. Postoperative complications associated with low survival rates included myopathy and neuropathy, ileus, diarrhea, and endotoxemia. All horses with postoperative myopathy and neuropathy died or were euthanized. The short-term survival rate for horses that recovered from anesthesia was 60%. Horses undergoing small intestinal surgery had a worse prognosis for short-term survival than those undergoing large intestinal surgery. The survival rate for horses for which long-term (> 1 year) follow-up information was available was 50%.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Draft horses weighing > 680 kg that underwent surgery because of acute signs of abdominal pain had longer durations of anesthesia, more postoperative complications, and higher mortality rates than draft horses weighing < 680 kg.
Objective—To evaluate clinical findings, complications, and outcome of horses and foals with third metacarpal, third metatarsal, or phalangeal fractures that were treated with transfixation casting.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—29 adult horses and 8 foals with fractures of the third metacarpal or metatarsal bone or the proximal or middle phalanx.
Procedures—Medical records were reviewed, and follow-up information was obtained. Data were analyzed by use of logistic regression models for survival, fracture healing, return to intended use, pin loosening, pin hole lysis, and complications associated with pins.
Results—In 27 of 35 (77%) horses, the fracture healed and the horse survived, including 10 of 15 third metacarpal or metatarsal bone fractures, 11 of 12 proximal phalanx fractures, and 6 of 8 middle phalanx fractures. Four adult horses sustained a fracture through a pin hole. One horse sustained a pathologic unicortical fracture secondary to a pin hole infec-tion. Increasing body weight, fracture involving 2 joints, nondiaphyseal fracture location, and increasing duration until radiographic union were associated with horses not returning to their intended use. After adjusting for body weight, pin loosening was associated with di-aphyseal pin location, pin hole lysis was associated with number of days with a transfixation cast, and pin complications were associated with hand insertion of pins.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that transfixation casting can be successful in managing fractures distal to the carpus or tarsus in horses. This technique is most suitable for comminuted fractures of the proximal phalanx but can be used for third metacarpal, third metatarsal, or middle phalanx fractures, with or without internal fixation.