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Pelvic Fracture in Horses


Pelvic fractures are relatively common in horses and ponies and can occur as a consequence of trauma or stress from athletic training. Fractures involving the acetabulum almost always occur as a consequence of trauma and usually present as a severe lameness, which is frequently nonweight-bearing at the time of injury. Crepitus may be difficult to appreciate, even during passive flexion of the limb or rectal examination.

Radiography can be diagnostic, but the difficulties of obtaining such images means that diagnosis is usually achieved by a combination of nuclear scintigraphy and ultrasonography. Fractures of the acetabulum, in contrast to other forms of pelvic fracture, carry a poor prognosis for return to athletic function, because such fractures are frequently displaced and invariably lead to osteoarthritis. The only treatment is usually prolonged (6–9 mo) rest followed by symptomatic therapy for any resultant osteoarthritis.

Last full review/revision March 2012 by Stephen B. Adams, DVM, MS, DACVS; Joerg A. Auer, DrMedVet, Dr h c, MS, DACVS, DECVS; James K. Belknap, DVM, PhD, DACVS; Jane C. Boswell, MA, VetMB, CertVA, CertES (Orth), DECVS, MRCVS; Peter Clegg, MA, Vet MB, PhD, CertEO, DECVS, MRCVS; Andrew L. Crawford, BVetMed, CertES (Orth), MRCVS; Jean-Marie Denoix, DVM, PhD, Agregé; Marcus J. Head, BVetMed, MRCVS; C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DSc, FRCVS, DACVS, DACVSMR; James Schumacher, DVM, MS, DACVS, MRCVS; John Schumacher, DVM, MS, DACVIM; Roger K. W. Smith, MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, DECVS, MRCVS; Chris Whitton, BVSc, FACVSc, PhD

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