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Rupture of the Common Digital Extensor Tendon in Horses

By Matthew T. Brokken, DVM, Assistant Professor - Clinical, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University

This condition occurs in foals and may be present when the foal is born or develop in the first weeks of life. It can be primary or secondary to carpal or fetlock flexural deformities (see Flexural Deformities in Horses). Affected foals have a characteristic soft/fluid swelling over the dorsolateral aspect of the carpus and distal radius. Ultrasound examination is confirmatory. Management involves stall rest and preventing secondary tendon contracture with the use of bandaging with or without PVC splints to prevent knuckling, if appropriate. Prognosis is excellent in foals without concurrent flexural deformities or cuboidal bone abnormalities.