Puncture Wounds of the Navicular Bursa in 38 Horses A Retrospective Study

G. L. RICHARDSON, T. R. O'BRIEN, John Pascoe, Dennis Meagher

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The medical records of 38 horses with puncture wounds of the navicular bursa were reviewed. Only 12 horses had a satisfactory outcome (breeding or riding). Of the remaining 26 horses, 19 were euthanized, five were sold due to persistent severe lameness, one died, and one was lost to long‐term follow‐up. Different combinations of conservative management prior to surgical debridement and drainage of the navicular bursa were unsuccessful in resolving the condition. Horses that were treated surgically within 1 week of the injury and had a hind leg affected had the best chance of a satisfactory outcome. Additional wound debridement was necessary in 15 horses after initial surgical treatment. The most common complications encountered were navicular bone osteomyelitis and sepsis of the deep digital flexor tendon. Thirteen of 14 horses that had rupture of the deep digital flexor tendon and subluxation of the distal interphalangeal joint had an unsatisfactory outcome. One mare subsequently developed ankylosis of the distal interphalangeal joint and was a useful brood mare. Two horses that had biaxial palmar digital neurectomy because of persistent lameness were later euthanized because of navicular bone fracture and rupture of the deep digital flexor tendon. Results from limited numbers of bacterial cultures and antibiotic sensitivities suggest that penicillin and an aminoglycoside antibiotic should be used as initial antibiotic therapy. Immediate surgical debridement and appropriate antibiotic treatment are recommended as the minimum therapy for penetrating wounds of the navicular bursa in horses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-160
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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