This is a particularly common injury in foals and young horses that fall on their side or are kicked in the elbow. The mechanics of weight bearing in the front limb involve contraction of the triceps muscle holding the elbow in extension. When the point of the elbow (olecranon or funny bone) breaks off, this function is lost and the horse cannot bear weight. These horses assume a “dropped elbow” stance. There is usually severe swelling of the upper limb and a non weight-bearing lameness.
Veterinary diagnosis is made through x-ray and to a lesser extent, ultrasound.
Treatment is usually surgical. Usually a bone plate is used to reattach the fractured off point of the elbow to the parent bone.
Other Diagnoses Considered
Treatments May Include
Prognosis & Relevant Factors
Prognosis is fair to good with recognition and appropriate treatment, usually surgery. In most cases, a plate is placed on the olecranon, re-attaching the pulled off part.
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