Bucked Shins in Racehorses: Understanding Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment. When it comes to training young racehorses, bucked shins is a common condition that can pose challenges. This condition arises from excessive concussion, resulting in the tearing of the periosteum over the metacarpal bones or microfractures on the metacarpus. Here, we delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for this ailment.


Causes of Bucked Shins


Bucked shins stem from the repetitive stress endured during racehorse training. This stress can lead to the tearing of the periosteum, forming a hematoma filled with blood, or microfractures on the metacarpus. These conditions result from the immense physical demands placed on young, developing racehorses.

Symptoms of Bucked Shins

Lameness is the primary symptom associated with bucked shins, typically worsening with exercise. Horses with this condition often display a shortened and choppy stride. If one leg is affected, the horse may naturally favor resting that limb. However, if both forelegs are afflicted, the horse will shift its weight from side to side. Additionally, a warm and painful swelling becomes apparent over the front of the cannon bone.

Prompt intervention is vital to prevent further complications, such as fractures.

Treatment Options for Bucked Shins

Effective treatment for metacarpal periostitis involves a multifaceted approach. Cold packs applied during the initial days can help alleviate inflammation. However, allowing the horse adequate rest is equally crucial. Sodium oleate injections into the affected area have proven to be an effective treatment choice, potentially reducing the recovery period. An alternative option is a subcutaneous corticosteroid injection followed by leg wrapping.

After receiving therapy, the horse must undergo a minimum of one month of rest before resuming training, even if they appear sound. This precaution is essential because the leg may not have fully healed, and subjecting it to stress could result in a fracture.

In cases where a fracture has occurred, immobilization with heavy support bandages and at least forty-five days of rest is imperative. It's worth noting that counterirritants, firing, and radiation therapy have limited effectiveness in treating fractures.

Conclusion

Bucked shins can indeed challenge young racehorses, impacting their performance and overall well-being. Nevertheless, with the right treatment and a dedicated period of rest, these horses can recover and return to their training regimen stronger than before. Early intervention and attentive care are the keys to their successful recuperation.

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October 29, 2023

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