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Pelvic Fracture Prognosis

Horse Pelvis

Dr. Sarah Peters set out to determine the short- and long-term prognosis for pelvic fractures in a group of Thoroughbred horses and to see how these horses could recover and continue to perform. Peters said that 0.5-4.4% of all lamenesses occur in the pelvis, and 28% of these are fractures. She reviewed the records of 136 Thoroughbreds diagnosed with pelvic fractures (Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, 2000-2010), looking at each horse’s race record or offspring race record (if the horse was retired to breeding). Discharge from the clinic was considered a successful short-term outcome, with a return to racing or breeding as a successful long-term outcome. She found that 72 horses (62%) returned to racing after their fracture, and 42 horses (36%) were able to have at least one foal. She determined that the type of fracture (if the acetabulum was involved, for example) had an impact on the chance of a successful outcome.

Her conclusion was that her study found a better short-term prognosis for pelvic fracture than what had been reported previously and that the type of fracture could impact short-term success but not necessarily long-term success.

Pelvic fractures do occur in all breeds of horses, including the Friesian. It is important to determine where the fracture is located and how extensive it might be such that a treatment plan can be formulated. A pelvic fracture, while serious, can be something that your horse could recover from successfully.

Scientific Article: Peters, ST, “Short- and Long-Term Outcomes of Pelvic Fractures in 136 Thoroughbreds (2000-2010)”, AAEP Proceedings, vol. 60, 2014, p. 249

Companion Article: Beckstett, A. “Sport Horse Studies- Pelvic Fractures in Horses: Not Always Career-Ending,” The Horse AAEP Wrap-up, March 2015, PP. 28-29.


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