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Gastrocnemious rupture in a thoroughbred foal

Early in the spring of 2015 a thoroughbred filly was born at Wood-Mere Farm. Shortly after birth and despite careful supervision, the mare accidentally kicked the foal in the hind leg. The foal was immediately examined by Dr. Melissa. No sign of fracture could be found and although lame, the foal was initially weight bearing. Over the course of the next 48 hours, the foal became progressively more lame on the left hind leg. The leg would seem to give out when the foal attempted to bear weight on it.DSC_0152 A thorough series of radiographs revealed no sign of bony injuries. And Dr. Melissa could not palpate any abnormalities.

Dr. Melissa then teamed up with Dr. Paul for further evaluation. On ultrasound exam, Dr. Paul was able to locate an area of hemorrhage and disruption around the gastrocnemius muscle and tendon. The gastrocnemius muscle is also called the calf muscle in humans. Without it, the foal could not lock her leg in weight bearing. After conducting a little research, Dr. Paul was able to build a splint for the foal to help it use the leg while the muscle and tendon healed. DSC_0151The splint had to be changed at least once per week to ensure it stayed in place and there were no rub sores on the foal.

DSC_0156This continued for several months but thanks to excellent care from the doctors of Weitz Equine and the owners of Wood-Mere Farm, the foal did GREAT! DSC_0158

She is now at her home in Kentucky and is out on pasture with her dam with just a light bandage. We are so excited that this unique and challenging injury has turned out so well. We can’t wait to see what kind of success she can have as a racehorse.