Vets On Wheels Equine Orthopaedic Case Study – LEMON

Case Study :

A 17 year old Standardbred trotter who is retired from racing was found in his paddock with an injury to his knee.  The wound was assessed at the stables by Dr Claire, but due to the depth and severity of the wound he was taken to the Vets On Wheels Marsa clinic for further assessment.  

On arrival at the clinic x-rays were taken which showed that the wound was very close to the knee joints but fortunately there was no damage to the bones of the knee.  Fluid samples were taken from the knee and also from the sheath surrounding the tendon and tested in our In house laboratory.  Unfortunately one of the tendons over the front of the knee, and its sheath, was found to have been damaged, and surgery was required in order to remove the infection.

In order to clean the tendon sheath and repair the wound and the tendon Lemon was anaesthetised.  The arthroscope (key-hole camera) was used to look inside the tendon sheath and remove the dirt, and insert fluids to flush the tendon sheath until it was clean.  The wound was carefully cleaned to remove all the sand and dirt that was contaminating the wound.  The wound was carefully closed in several layers to ensure that the knee bones were covered.  The skin was closed with a special re- enforced suture pattern to counteract the force of the horse bending his knee.  A four layer bandage was applied to the whole limb to protect the knee during recovery.

After carefully helping the horse to stand after anaesthesia using our state of the art rope recovery system, splints were applied to the front and the back of the bandage to prevent movement of the knee and increase the speed of healing. The horse was taken home straight after the surgery.  

The following day, the horse was eating well, and seemed very happy in himself.  The bandage was changed every three days and after 12 days the sutures were removed.  Three days later the splints were removed and the bandage changed to a small single layer bandage.  The horse is now able to start walking exercise for ten minutes twice a day, which will gradually increase over the next few weeks back to normal. 

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