How To Treat A Splint On A Horse

How To Treat A Splint On A Horse


A horse with a splint on its leg may need treatment by a veterinarian, but you can use these techniques to reduce the pain and help your horse recover faster.

What is a splint?

Splints are soft tissue injuries that result from trauma to the leg. They most often occur in young horses and are caused by impact to the leg, such as jumping off a fence or kicking something.

Causes of splints:

There are many causes of splint problems, including:

  • Overwork – When a horse is worked too hard, it will often develop soreness and fatigue in the tendons and ligaments. If this continues over time, the soreness can become chronic or permanent.
  • Too much exercise – Excessively long periods of exercise can lead to breakdown of the soft tissue structures in a horse’s leg. This includes both muscle and tendon injuries as well as ligament damage in joints such as fetlocks or stifles on your horse’s front legs.
  • Poor nutrition – Inadequate nutrition is one of the most common causes of lameness in horses today because they do not get enough vitamins or minerals from their diet to maintain proper health and function properly without suffering from health issues like lameness due to lack of nutrients necessary for good health maintenance (meaning they’re not absorbing enough).

Signs and symptoms of splints:

  • Laminitis is a painful, medically complex disorder that usually involves pain in the hooves and lameness. Laminitis may cause changes to the shape of your horse’s foot, including a shift in weight distribution.
  • Heat can be detected by feeling for increased temperature around the damaged area; if you suspect heat, take your horse’s temperature using an oral thermometer (not an ear or rectal thermometer).
  • Pain is often experienced as sensitivity to touch or pressure over areas of high inflammation (swelling). Your veterinarian will feel for this during diagnosis.

Diagnosis of splints:

In order to diagnose splints, the vet will check the horse’s legs for swelling and heat. They will also observe its gait, range of motion and response to heat and cold. Palpation may be performed in order to determine the severity of any swelling present.

The diagnosis of splints can take a long time, as there is no definitive test for them (such as bloodwork or X-rays). In some cases it may not even be possible to pin down exact cause or treatment because there are so many possible causes for similar symptoms on an animal with such variable anatomical structures; however generally speaking it is believed that stress on joints and ligaments leads directly into inflammation which leads into pain receptors firing off constantly—this causes further damage until something breaks down completely or heals itself over time (and sometimes both).

Treatment of splints in horses:

Splints are a common injury, especially in horses that have been confined to stalls for long periods of time. A splint occurs when there is swelling and inflammation in the ligaments that connect the bones of the leg to allow them to move freely.

Splint boots are made from leather, neoprene or rubber and designed to be worn on one leg at a time. They are put on over an injured hoof and secured with Velcro straps or buckles around each joint. The boot prevents movement by immobilizing the joint, decreases swelling and pain by compressing the area around it while providing support and protection from further damage until it heals properly. Although wearing splint boots can be uncomfortable for your horse, they’re necessary if you want him or her back up on all fours quickly!

Splints are not as severe as chips but it is still important to take preventative measures to avoid future injury to your horse.

Splints are not as severe as chips but it is still important to take preventative measures to avoid future injury to your horse.

The first step in preventing splint injuries is identifying the cause of the problem. The most common causes include:

  • Improper shoeing – so make sure to have your farrier check his or her work regularly and ensure that there isn’t too much weight on any one area of the hoof, whether it be on top or bottom.
  • Improper stabling – if your horse lives in a wet and muddy environment, they will probably develop splints more quickly than those who live in dryer areas with better footing such as gravel driveways or dirt paddocks. If possible, try switching up where they sleep at night by moving them into an indoor round pen until spring arrives so that their feet won’t get too soft due  to constant exposure outdoors all day long during winter months when snow covers up any potential moisture sources underneath leaves/grass/etcetera…


Hopefully now you know how to treat a splint in a horse, it’s best to get it taken care of sooner rather than later. Good luck!

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