with M. Norris Adams, DVM, Diplomate ACVS, Diplomate ACVSMR, Clinical Assistant Professor of Equine Lameness and Surgery
Sponsored Content – Foals can be born with crooked limbs, or they can develop during periods of growth. Deviations may be classified as angular, meaning “bow legged” or “knock kneed”, rotational, meaning, “toed-in” or “toed-out”, or flexural, which refers to the musculotendinous unit being too lax or too tight.
Many deformities can self-correct with controlled or restricted exercise or time. Care should be taken to protect the foal’s immature bones during this process. If the deformities are nit improving, or if they are severe, then other therapeutic interventions should be considered.
Application of limb bandages or splints, or extensions applied to the hooves, can help to support and protect the foal’s limbs during therapy. Some flexural limb deformities (legs that are too upright) responded well to IV oxytetracycline because it relaxes the musculotendious unit. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
Angular limb deformities that do not respond to conservative therapy may be treated surgically. Most often, techniques to temporarily slow or stop the growth on one side of the limb, to allow the other side of the limb to “catch up” are performed. These procedures must be performed before growth plate closure occurs to be effective; typically, 3-5 months of age for angular deformities of the fetlock joint and before about 15 months of age for knees. Careful monitoring of the foal’s improvement is imperative because the implants used for correction must be removed at the appropriate time to avoid over-correction.
Early recognition and correction of the crooked-legged foal, including nutritional consultation and hoof trimming and balance, can preserve your foal’s athletic potential and future comfort.
For further information about orthopedic diagnosis and treatments options at the EMC please call Kathy Ashland at (703) 771 6875
sponsored content; originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of The Equiery)
The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) is a premier, full-service equine health facility conveniently located at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. As an integral part of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and Virginia Tech, the EMC offers an array of cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic technologies and veterinary expertise to provide innovative and cost-effective care for your horse. The EMC offers a broad range of general and advanced specialty services by appointment as well as comprehensive 24/7 emergency services. State of the art technology with cutting-edge expertise…
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