Science & Equine

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Written by Marly Coppens

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Injuries of the superficial digital flexor tendon

Superficial Digital Flexor tendon injuries caused by overstrain of the tendon are typically fairly mild and approximately 1 to 2 grades out of 5 at the trot on firm ground. Injuries caused by direct trauma are typically mild to moderately lame at the walk with acute tendon ruptures.

At the walk evaluation of fetlock angle gives information about the SDFT and the suspensory apparatus. If one of these structures is damaged it results in dropping of the fetlock (hyperextension of the MCP joint). Complete ruptures of the SDFT give significant dropping of the fetlock.

Casts provide the most ideal form of immobilization for repaired or healing flexor tendon ruptures.

The “fore-limb model Kimzey splint” is the most commonly applied commercial splint. It is designed as an emergency device for transport to a referral facility. It also provides access to the limb for the management of horses with wounds and tendon sheath injuries.

Support Shoes
If the SDFT is able to bear some weight but is still at risk of damage the fetlock support shoe can be an option.


> From: O’Sullivan, Clin Tech Equine Pract 6 (2007) 189-197. All rights reserved to Elsevier Inc.. Click here for the online summary.

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