Equine Patella Fracture

This is an 8 month old, quarter-horse colt that sustained an injury to his left stifle. The cause of the injury was unknown, but he did have a superficial skin abrasion over the front of the stifle. He was 4/5 lame on the left hind and appeared to be partially collapsing in the stifle when fully weight bearing.

Equine Stifle injury


Digital Radiographs (X-rays) show a fracture of the patella (knee cap). The fracture-line runs vertically up the inside 1/3 of the patella. These images are taken from top to bottom- looking down on the patella..

equine patella fracture radiograph
equine patella


Ultrasound shows moderate damage to the medial (inside) femoropatellar ligament. (Ligament on the inside of the patella that attaches to the femur preventing the patella from dislocating laterally). There was also a moderate tear of the medial retinaculum of the medial femoropatellar joint capsule. The collateral ligaments (stabilizing ligaments) of the femorotibial joint appeared intact.

Horse patellar ligament injury


Surgical treatment of the fracture was performed. The fracture was reduced and two screws were placed to hold the fragment in place.

Equine Surgery patella fracture


24 hours post-operatively the patient appeared comfortable and able to ambulate at the walk.

Share This Post