Rehabbing Funny Bunny B’s Injury: Caring for a Fracture

I immediately wanted to examine the damage. My mind raced…there was so much going on, from looking at it, there was no way to have known if it was broken. And then the vet dropped the bomb…

If you read my first and second article about Funny Bunny B’s complex injury, you know he has a long road to recovery ahead of him. If you haven’t had the chance to read about the nightmare, here’s a recap: On October 7, 2019, Funny Bunny B (Buns) sustained an injury to his right hind leg. He has a fracture, torn tendon and soft tissue damage. On his journey to recovery I, along with In Stable Hands, have faced many challenges and educational topics that I would like to share. The first challenge I faced and discussed was proud flesh. Another issue I have been aiding is the fracture Buns sustained.

My first concern when I received the call that Buns was hurt was, “Is it fractured?” Cari, the barn owner, had called me stating that something was sticking out of the wound. I initially thought was that is was an open fracture and the bone was on the outside of the wound. Once I arrived, I immediately wanted to examine the damage.

My mind raced with all of the signs and symptoms of identifying a fracture. Could he walk? No. Was it swollen? I had no idea, the vet already had it bandaged. Honestly, there was so much going on, from looking at it there was no way to know if it was broken. And then the vet dropped the bomb — the X-rays showed a fracture to the cannon bone.

I will admit that once I was able to view the x-rays, the damage wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated. The vet stated that the fractured bone may heal back to the rest of the bone, may expel itself from the wound or, worst case scenario, it may float around and cause trouble. I’m praying for the best outcome but I understand that Buns’ fracture could heal, taking any of the above routes.

X-ray by Misty Hollow Equine Practice

I’m aware that fractures in horses can be difficult to deal with — especially if you have a young, spirited horse like Buns. Buns doesn’t want to be cooped up in his stall. He’s got a serious case of cabin fever and he’s itching to go outside with his pasture buddies. I can’t give Buns the speech I frequently give to patients about the importance of using aids such as crutches and remaining non-weight bearing.  It’s also not an option to confine him to bed rest.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. However, there are many options I have been undertaking to ensure that his fracture heals to the best of its ability.

The first intervention I have implemented to aid in healing Buns’ fracture is placing him on stall rest as this is the most effective way to limit his activity. While in the stall, he can’t do anything too detrimental to further injure his leg. However, he is not fond of continuously looking at the same 10 x 12 area.

To reiterate what I had stated above, Buns has one of the worst cases of cabin fever I have ever witnessed. Keeping him confined to small areas is making him completely nutty, but the alternative is even worse. Soon enough he’ll be able to go back outside to frolic with his friends but for now he needs to rest his leg, as hard as that may be for him.

Another intervention I am utilizing is tightly wrapped bandaging. This is an extra line of defense to stabilize the fracture and also helps minimize the proud flesh. Due to the wound and the fracture, it is wrapped with a 4 x 4 gauze, a roll of gauze, followed by cotton wraps, vet wrap, quilted wraps and more vet wrap. This tedious wrapping is hopefully enough to stabilized the fracture without splinting or casting. Splinting and casting is not an option because the open wound needs frequent attention.

Follow up care with our vet has also been an important intervention, making sure that everything is healing correctly. After approximately one month of care, the vet came out to take follow up x-rays. To my surprise, the fractured off bone was slowly starting to heal back to the cannon bone. The x-ray shows a fine area where the bones are healing. I was ecstatic and wanted to find ways to aid the process even more.

X-ray taken by Misty Hollow Equine Practice

Thanks to Skye’s Spirit Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, who has so generously lent me her Red Light, I have another tool to aid in Buns’ healing process. Skye’s Spirit Wildlife Rehabilitation Center has made it possible for me to perform Red Light Therapy on Buns’ fracture.

Red light therapy is known to speed up healing with a variety of different health related issues. Studies show that it has also improved healing with fractures. The red light therapy will be started once Buns’ open wound is completely closed. The guidelines state not to use over open areas, so I’m patiently waiting to start the therapy.

Other than the above interventions, the only other component Buns’ fracture needs to heal is time. This is the hardest part of the process because it is not something I can control. I’m just patiently — sometimes not so patiently — counting the days until the fracture is healed and he can progress to the next part of his rehabilitation program.