Cuba, a 2-year-old Anglo-Arab colt owned by Kimberly Graves, was found down in his field, badly injured. Cuba’s primary care veterinarian Jennifer French, of Haymarket Veterinary Service in Haymarket, Virginia, was called and carefully examined Cuba’s right front leg, which bore a large laceration that stretched over the entire palmar aspect of the right front pastern. Cuba was fitted with a Kimsey splint and promptly referred to the Equine Medical Center for emergency treatment.

Upon Cuba’s arrival at the center, James Brown, clinical associate professor of equine surgery, removed the Kimsey splint and noted that the superficial and deep digital flexor tendon and the straight distal sesamoid ligament were severed. When Cuba tried to put weight on his right front, his fetlock dropped significantly, and his toe would elevate off the ground.

To help Cuba heal, surgical debridement and lavage of the affected structures and long-term stabilization of the palmar aspect of the fetlock would be required. Under general anesthesia, the colt was fitted with a cast on his right front limb to elevate his heel and provide palmar support to the limb. Although Cuba’s laceration was healing well, cast sores over his fetlock and cannon bone began to develop. As a result, the cast was removed and replaced with thick bandaging and a Kimsey splint.

Luke Goodness fitting an ingenious support brace he created to support Cuba's leg

In addition, Luke Goodness, Goodness Farrier Associates, custom-made an adjustable fetlock support brace for Cuba! The ingenious brace keeps the colt’s leg supported and correctly positioned in order to heal appropriately. The brace will remain in place for two to three months while Cuba remains on stall rest. Regular trimming allows Goodness to adjust Cuba’s heel angle. 

Even though Cuba will not be sound for future athletic work because of the injury, it is hoped that he will heal sufficiently to succeed as a breeding stallion.

Luke Goodness fitting a specialized shoe, part of a support system he created to support Cuba's leg

Written by Sharon Peart for the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.