Why Horses With Leg Injuries Can’t Be Healed?

Horses are prone to minor and major injuries during a training session, exercise, and work. It may not need a hurdle or steeplechase but an uneven footstep sometimes can lead to serious injuries. Despite taking much animal welfare considerations during the race, horses are at the risk of fatal injuries. According to British Horse Racing Authority, there are ups and downs in the injuries and fatalities of horses at racecourses; however, data shows a gradual decrease in the last 15 years. These injuries are not limited to racehorses, even leisure horses can go through wretched accidents while messing in the barns. Leg injuries in horses lead to severe consequences like finished carrier or euthanization.

Why horses with leg injuries can’t be healed, here are some reasons.

Keeping the weight off is difficult

One of the major reasons behind the difficult recovery of an injured horse is that we can’t control him. Naturally, horses spend most of their time while standing or grazing. Keeping the weight off from the limbs of a horse is difficult.

When a 500kg horse tries to stand, it put a lot of pressure on the injured limb. In this way, the weight of the horse prevents the healing process of its leg injury. And a little un-even pressure can further aggravate the condition of an improving wound.

Horse legs lack muscle and tissues 

The tissue surrounding the legs helps in the recovery of fractures and other leg injuries. Unlike humans, the leg of a horse has little tissue and muscle mass. So a broken leg in the horse has very little support for healing.

Especially, the lower limb of the horse has compound joints surrounded by tendons and ligaments. Keeping the bones at their place becomes very difficult in the absence of surrounding tissues.  

Laminitis and lameness can be consequences

The extra burden of an injured leg in a horse leads to the lameness or laminitis of the un-injured limbs. The hoof of the horse is very sensitive to extra pressure. Even metabolic problems like the acidity of the stomach can lead to lameness in horses.

Laminae are the epidermal structures that help the attachment of the external covering of the hoof with its bony part. When a hoof faces extra pressure to balance the weight of the injured limb, it causes damage to the laminae. Consequently, Inflammation and swelling of the hoof lead to severe pain and locomotion issues in the horse.

Splints and supports don’t work in horses

Splints support, and sometimes surgical wires are used to support the broken legs in humans and pets. Unfortunately, a broken leg of a horse can’t be supported using splints. The obvious reason is that we can’t persuade a horse to lie down and recover.

Recovery from a fractured limb takes several weeks. When a horse is managed to lie down for a long time it leads to the atrophy of body muscles and compression injuries. This immobility can also develop pneumonia in horses, lying down for long period.

All these factors along with associated complications are the major reasons behind the failure of leg injuries in horses. Despite knowing all these realities, horse lovers use their recourses to recover the health and wellness of their equine fellows. Furthermore, animal welfare authorities are striving to improve the horse wellbeing in the barn and racecourse.

References and further readings : BritishHorseRacing , TheGuardian