Now That’s a Headache: Facial trauma and fractures in horses

A horse with an injured face is handled on the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Media Contact:
Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU School of Veterinary Drugs | 405-744-6740 |

Many horses may cause trauma on themselves. Normally, these are wounds or cuts on the
legs — however generally, they’re on the horse’s head.

Head wounds might be easy lacerations involving solely the pores and skin and requiring a couple of
sutures out of your veterinarian. Lacerations involving the eyelids, nostrils or lips
are more difficult to restore with a beauty, practical consequence. Issues get extra
advanced when the trauma is extreme sufficient to fracture facial bones — the boney orbit
defending the attention, the nasal bones overlying the nasal passages or the bones overlying
the paranasal sinuses. A majority of these fractures typically end in a number of small items,
a bit like a jigsaw puzzle.

In the event you suspect that your horse has fractures and/or trauma to the bones of the cranium,
have your veterinarian study the horse as quickly as potential. With these accidents,
you would possibly discover cuts or breaks within the pores and skin overlying the fractures, and a few of the
fracture fragments could also be seen. If there’s not a break within the pores and skin and there are
fractures involving the sinuses, air could accumulate beneath the pores and skin, termed emphysema.
Fractures involving the sinuses and/or nasal passages often exhibit bleeding from
the nostril on the affected aspect(s). Swelling of various levels could also be noticeable as
properly, notably if the harm is quite a lot of hours outdated.

An preliminary examination of the horse by your veterinarian will probably embody a radical
bodily examination, sedation and delicate cleansing and palpation of the injuries. Radiographs
of the cranium could also be taken to get a greater thought of which bone(s) are concerned and the
extent of the fractures. Fractures that contain the nasal passages, notably if
either side of the nostril are affected, may end up in swelling extreme sufficient to impair
respiration. For these circumstances, a brief tracheostomy (non permanent opening within the trachea
with placement of a tube for the horse to breathe by) could also be wanted.

Therapy course is determined by the severity and extent of the accidents. Much less intensive
fractures with minimal displacement could warrant solely restore of the pores and skin lacerations,
permitting the fractures to heal on their very own. Surgical restore of the fracture fragments,
often beneath common anesthesia, could also be advisable for extra intensive fractures
of the sinuses and nasal passages. Fractures involving the boney orbit surrounding
the attention sometimes require surgical fixation as properly. In very extreme circumstances, superior
imaging within the type of a CT scan could also be advisable earlier than going to surgical procedure, to acquire
prognostic info for the horse and to assist the surgeon plan for the restore.

Surgical restore of cranium or facial fractures has been achieved through quite a lot of
strategies. Typically, we use bigger sutures or chrome steel wire to reattach the fragments.
In some circumstances, small reconstructive bone plates are used. Very small items of bone
could must be discarded if they will’t be wired into place. If left the place they’re,
these will probably die and turn out to be a supply for drainage. If the sinus cavities are
concerned, a radical lavage of the sinus cavities will probably be carried out. Bleeding into
the sinuses that happens with facial trauma units up a pleasant setting for bacterial
an infection to happen, so a radical lavage of the sinuses, or a minimum of a course of broad
spectrum antibiotics, is usually indicated. As soon as the fracture fragments have been repaired,
pores and skin wounds might be closed.

Restoration for cranium or facial fracture sufferers might be tough. We need to decrease
extra trauma to the top and maintain the horse from rubbing its face on the stall,
fence, and so forth., to keep away from harming the fragile restore. As beforehand talked about, the horse
will probably be positioned on broad-spectrum antibiotics, in addition to Bute or Banamine for

Following facial trauma, quite a few problems which will happen and warrant extra
remedy embody: secondary sinus an infection, sequestration of bone fragments (the place
small items of bone turn out to be devitalized and act as a supply of drainage), and fistula
formation (because of incomplete therapeutic of bone, a communication varieties between the pores and skin
and the sinus). In very extreme circumstances, neurologic signs comparable to uninteresting mentation or
incoordination could happen, indicating a poorer prognosis for the affected person and warranting
extra diagnostics and coverings.

Many facial fractures heal properly and comparatively cosmetically with early and acceptable
remedy. Contacting your veterinarian straight away offers your horse one of the best likelihood
for a profitable restoration.

In regards to the creator: Megan Williams, DVM, DACVS (Massive Animal) is an assistant professor of equine surgical procedure
at Oklahoma State College’s School of Veterinary Drugs. She is board-certified
in giant animal surgical procedure and a diplomate of the American School of Veterinary Surgeons
(Massive Animal). Her analysis pursuits embody equine lameness, notably relating to
suspensory ligament pathology.

Veterinary Viewpoints is supplied by the school of the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital. Licensed by the
American Animal Hospital Affiliation, the hospital is open to the general public offering
routine and specialised look after all species and 24-hour emergency care, one year
a yr. Name 405-744-7000 for an appointment or extra info.

OSU’s School of Veterinary Drugs is considered one of 32 accredited veterinary schools in the US and the one veterinary
school in Oklahoma. The faculty’s
Boren Veterinary Medical Hospital is open to the general public and supplies routine and specialised look after small and enormous
animals. The hospital affords 24-hour emergency care and is licensed by the American
Animal Hospital Affiliation. For extra info, go to or name 405-744-7000.


Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button