From cannon bone fracture to winning at Flemington

Alfa Oro at Flemington racecourse

In August 2018,  Alfa Oro trained by Matt Laurie, fractured his leg during training and was referred to U-Vet Equine Centre for assessment and surgical repair. Alfa Oro had sustained a medial condylar fracture in the right front cannon bone. A CT identified the fracture line spiralling up to 75 per cent of the height of the cannon bone.

Surgical repair was undertaken with two screws placed to compress the fracture at the joint surface and a 10-hole plate and screws to stabilise the remainder of the bone and avoid catastrophic failure. The joint was examined arthroscopically during the procedure which showed good reduction of the fracture at the joint surface which is important to minimise the risk of osteoarthritis developing and maximise the likelihood of a successful return to racing.

Stabilising surgical plates and screws in horse front cannon bone
X-ray of stabilising surgical plates and screws in right front cannon bone

The surgery came with many potential risks and possible complications however Alfa Oro recovered very well and was discharged from hospital to stay on strict stable and yard confinement for 3 months with regular checks and X-ray re-assessment by the referring veterinarian.

A repeat surgery in November 2018 at U-Vet Equine Centre to remove the plate and screws was performed standing under sedation. Alfa Oro required a further three months of stable and yard confinement with X-ray reassessment before paddock turn out.

Cases like this require dedication and a whole team commitment from the trainer and racing stable staff, owners, referring veterinarians, surgeons, and farriers. The team at U-Vet Equine Centre were thrilled to hear Alfa Oro made a full recovery post-rehabilitation and has recently resumed racing with fantastic results; four starts for a second and three consecutive wins.

Racehorse Alfa Oro back on race track
Alfa Oro back on the track

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