Speedy Splint Recovery
By Raul Bras, DVM, CJF • Nov 17, 2015 • Article #29488
[question name="Rebecca" location="via email"]Do you have any suggestions for speeding the time it takes for proximal splints (in the forelimbs) to resolve? My horse had inactive splints for two years but was shod by a different farrier with inappropriate shoes, dropped heels, and front clips, which has caused very late breakover. As a result, the splints were aggravated (active splints generally are inflamed and painful). My regular farrier redid the shoes four days ago and there is some improvement already but I have quite a few endurance rides left this year. Do you have any suggestions?[/question][answer]Splints are an inflammatory condition of the splint bones located on each side of the cannon bone. I believe that horses mainly develop splints due to conformation deficits, but improper shoeing with imbalance--like the case you describe--can also cause splints or aggravate inactive splints.[/answer]
To prevent and treat splints, I recommend routine regular shoeing by a skilled farrier. With active splints in their early stages, I believe icing is the best anti-inflammatory. Rest from work is also very important to alleviate the inflammation and pain--30 days is usually sufficient time. Other treatments include pressure bandages for support and the use of topical anti-inflammatories such as Surpass (1% diclofenac sodium) cream, DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide), and Furacin (nitrofurazone) ointment. To speed up the healing process, particularly with sport horses, some veterinarians also use steroid injections.