Horse Health

Transporting the Fracture Patient

Safely haul your horse to the veterinarian for treatment.

The November 2004 feature “Fracture Repair” discusses how veterinarians handle the injuries. In some cases, you must haul your injured horse to the veterinary clinic for treatment. Consider these points when transporting a horse with a fracture.

Once the fracture is properly splinted, the horse can be taken to a hospital for treatment. Move the vehicle to the horse if possible rather than move the horse to the vehicle. Vans and large gooseneck trailers are preferable to small trailers, because they’re more stable.

Transport a horse with a forelimb fracture facing the trailer’s rear, and a horse with a hind limb fracture facing the front. This positioning results in transferring the horse’s weight onto his sound limbs when the vehicle slows or stops.

During transport keep the horse strictly confined with chest and rump bars or chains and with partitions to create as limited a stall as possible. Such crowding allows the horse to lean on the supports to maintain his balance. An unconfined horse trying to keep his balance in a trailer can severely damage his injured leg. However, the horse’s head and neck should be left free or loosely crosstied, because he uses his head for balance.

Haul foals in a partitioned area next to their dams with an attendant if possible. Bales of hay or straw can reduce a hauling stall to foal size.

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