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Diaphyseal Fracture of the Third Metatarsal Bone in Horses

By Jane C. Boswell, MA, VetMB, CertVA, CertES (Orth), DECVS, MRCVS, The Liphook Equine Hospital ; James K. Belknap, DVM, PhD, DACVS, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ohio State University

Diaphyseal fractures of the third metatarsal bone usually result from direct trauma (eg, kicks) or may result from propagation of medial condylar fractures. Prognosis depends on age and size of horse, configuration of fracture, integrity of the vascular supply, involvement of the metatarsophalangeal or tarsometatarsal joint, and degree of contamination. Prognosis for adult horses with open, comminuted fractures of the third metatarsal bone is poor, but in those with closed, mildly comminuted or oblique fractures, internal fixation may be possible (although often limited by financial constraints). Prognosis in foals with simple or mildly comminuted fractures of the mid diaphyseal third metatarsal bone after internal fixation with two plates is fair.