Splints

By: Dr. Lydia Gray

What is it?

When a horse "pops" a splint, it means the splint bone and surrounding tissue have become inflamed or swollen. The splint bones are the small bones on the inside and outside of the cannon bone, beginning just below the knee and ending just above the ankle, where they taper to a "button." Causes of "popped" splints which are more common in younger horses--include a direct blow, concussion, poor conformation and improper shoeing. Trainers often protect horses' legs with boots or bandages to help prevent "popped" splints.

What can be done about it?

Sometimes enlarged splint bones are found on a horse long after they "popped," and once they are cold, hard and "set," nothing may need to be done. However, if a horse becomes acutely lame during or after a workout and pain, heat and swelling are detected in the splint area, a veterinarian should be contacted right away to assist in the diagnosis and treatment. Early management of a "popped" splint may include rest, cold therapy, bandaging and anti-inflammatories.

What else do I need to know?

A "popped" splint that causes significant lameness, is larger than usual or has quite a bit of swelling around it may indicate a more serious problem such as a fractured splint bone or involvement of the suspensory ligament. Ultrasound or other advanced imaging beyond X-rays may be required to confirm the diagnosis. Surgery, injection therapy or other techniques are among the possible treatments for these conditions.

About Dr. Lydia Gray

Have questions? Contact us »
Connect with us:

Meet the SmartPakers

Brittany and Nate
Ever since I was the girl with 1,000 breyer horses and the raggity braid in her hair, I was always obsessed. In second grade I moved into a town with a barn right down the street, which is when I started taking lessons...

Learn more »

Read our blog

Supplements and Feeds for Senior Horses
I run barrels and ride a 14yr. old mare, she will be 15 next month. Should I put her on any certain supplements or a senior feed? All she gets now is a 12-4 pellet feed. She is doing ok

Read More »

Healthy horses, happy riders.
SmartPak is committed to a greener planet.
Sign Up Now!
Free Catalog Get Yours Now!

SmartPak Equine is the premier online provider of horse supplies and equine supplements.
Questions? Call us Toll-Free at 1-888-752-5171. © Copyright 2014 by SmartPak Equine LLC. All Rights reserved.