Rory, point out the cannon bone.” He did.
“It’s also called the third metacarpus,” Katie added.
“Yes. So, what bones are involved in splints?”
“The ones on either side of the cannon bone, here and here, the 2nd and 4th metacarpals,” Katie pointed to the slender bones attached to each side of the cannon bone.
What causes a splint to form? Gay asked.
A trauma to a splint bone, either from a crossover injury where the opposite hoof hits an inside splint bone, or from hitting a leg against an object. The trauma of the impact inflames the ligament between the splint and the cannon bone, and the resulting swelling and inflammation can be quite painful.
“It says to wiggle the 2nd and 4th metacarpals,” Gay said.
“I can’t,” Katie said. “It’s too firmly attached. Here Rory, can you move the splints?”
“That’s because strong ligaments are holding each splint to the cannon bone. The lameness called a splint bone injury is due to inflammation of this ligament, sometimes accompanied by an actual fracture of the bone, but more commonly just a bump.”
“That’s why we use splint boots,” Gay said. “They protect a horse’s legs during exercise from an injury that may occur if one leg or hoof strikes the opposite leg.”
“It’s also a good idea to use the boots when trailering the horses,” Katie added. “They are always adjusting their legs back and forth during transport.”
They continued with the study of the horse’s leg for another hour. It went well and Rory, feeling positive vibes from Katie, knew it was time to act.
As they put their books and papers back in their packs Rory started the conversation.
“Hey Gay, what’s going on with Casey and Rasha? Do they still remember how to go on walks?”
“Yes, they do. They’re waiting, patiently. You only need to whistle, and they’ll be right there for you, not that you brought them any treats to eat during this entire winter. In fact, they complained to me you didn’t even bring them carrots for two months.”
“Well, maybe I can make that up with you guys. Let me treat the both of you to lunch at the Grad.”
Katie jumped up. “Yeah, it’s a good idea. I’m hungry; I’m ready.”
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Bone Splints: Butterfly Boy, Chapter 5