On each side of the cannon bone is a long narrow bone known as the splint bone. There are two main conditions which affect the splint bones: The term “splints” commonly refers to an inflammatory condition and a calcium lump on the bone, while the term “broken splint bone” refers to a fracture of the splint bone and a calcium lump where it is trying to heal. When lameness in this area occurs, the above conditions may be confused.
An injury to the horse causing a splint may be the result of direct trauma, such as a kick, or a concussion resulting from jumping, running or working.
Veterinarians use many different methods to treat “splints”, but most would agree that the horse should be rested and placed on soft ground for at least 30 days.
The outlook is good for most horses except those in which the bony growth is large and interferes with the knee joint or the suspensory ligament. Sometimes surgery may be helpful in these difficult condition.
Fractures of the splint bones must be differentiated from the inflammatory condition known as “splints”. Fractures of the splint bones can occur anywhere along their length, but are most commonly located at the lower third. Heat, pain and swelling will occur over the fracture site. The more acute the fracture, the more severe the swelling.
When a horse is recovering from an injury, massage will help keep surrounding muscles from taking on an excessive load. Keep muscles supple and loose will help the recovery process and keep the tightening in the injured area from being passed to the next group of muscles.