Figment Firefly, a feisty 11-day-old Morgan colt, came to the Equine Medical Center for treatment of an olecranon (elbow) fracture. His dam, Coachman’s Tsunami, stable name Sue, is a very special grulla broodmare that has endless patience for her rambunctious offspring and is very tolerant of Firefly’s continual antics!

Jennifer Valentine, Firefly’s owner, noticed his injury soon after birth, and veterinarian Shannon DeArmas, of Hoof and Paw Veterinary Service in Purcellville, Virginia, was called out to Figment Farm in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, to assess his injury. X-rays at the farm revealed the olecranon fracture. Initially, Firefly was managed conservatively with bandaging, but this proved to be unsuccessful, and Firefly was referred to the Equine Medical Center for surgical repair of the fracture.

After Firefly’s arrival, he was sedated, and his bandaging was removed for further treatment and diagnostics, which confirmed a simple fracture through the body of the olecranon with articular involvement. The preferred treatment plan was an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) under general anesthesia.

Because making the decision to go ahead with the surgery was difficult due to mounting financial commitments, Norris Adams, clinical assistant professor of equine lameness and surgery, approached the center’s director, Michael Erskine, for assistance.

In 2015, the center’s Compassionate Care Fund was expanded to provide financial support for the treatment of serious or life-threatening conditions. Over the years, philanthropic support from many donors has benefited horses and ponies suffering from all types of injury, illness, and disease. Funds are allocated on a case-by-case basis to help deserving patients over the finishing line and get them back home to their owners!

An ORIF of the right olecranon, which entailed stabilizing the fracture with plates and screws, was performed under general anesthesia. Firefly recovered well post-operatively and was quickly bearing full weight on his repaired limb. He  returned home to Figment Farm under strict stall rest for three weeks and with a plan in place for his continued rehabilitation and care.

Firefly and his dam Sue
Firefly on the mend with dam Sue

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