Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Fracture of Skull, Not Involving Sinus

Skull fractures are relatively common in horses because of the speed and force with which they react. However, major fractures of the skull are uncommon. Those that involve the brain case may result in brain injury. If there is a wound associated with the fracture, then bone fragment infection is possible and may require surgical removal.

For fractures that do not break into the sinuses, the risk of long-term infection is less.

The nature of a fracture is determined by clinical examination and x-ray. For most small fractures of the skull that do not involve the sinus, treatment is conservative. The bone of the head heals amazingly rapidly.

Often a wound is associated with the fracture though and this may need to be repaired to achieve the best cosmetic and functional outcome.

Fractures that disrupt the structure of the skull or jaw will probably need surgical repair. Those that involve the brain case can be fatal, and in rare cases may warrant a surgical approach.

Prognosis & Relevant Factors

Prognosis depends on the specifics and severity of the injury, but is fair to good with early treatment. If the sinus is not involved, chronic sinusitis should not be a consequence.

QUESTIONS TO ASK MY VET

  • Will the bone heal without surgical repair?
  • PREVENTION

    Good husbandry, which reduces the likelihood of head injury. Horses should be taught to tie well and not set back against pressure.
    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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