Foaling season is well underway, and it is an important time for your foal’s development, particularly when it comes to conformation.
Unfortunately, not all foals are born perfect and some foals require help in correcting their legs to ensure they are developing correctly. For some foals, this will mean they undergo a transphyseal screw surgery.
The transphyseal screw surgery explained
A transphyseal screw surgery is where a self-tapping cortex screw is placed across the growth plate on one side of the animal’s limb coursing from the metaphysis to the epiphysis. Its intention is to correct the lateral or medial deviation in the affected limb.
Some foals develop angular limb deformities which is a deviation of the limb in the frontal plane, and most commonly affects the fetlock and the carpus of the limb. This can then add extra pressure on one side of the joint in question.
Angular limb deformities are corrected in order to improve the cosmetic appeal of the foal, potential commercial value, and most importantly, athletic performance.
Correction of the angular limb deformity is essential to improve the conformational defect as well as preventing secondary degenerative changes that may result from abnormal biomechanical stresses on the deviated limb.
A transpyhseal surgery should have no negative affect on the growth and development of a foal when performed correctly. The screw implant will be in situ for a relatively short time period and the optimal objective of performing this surgery is to produce an individual with correct skeletal conformation for athletic purposes.
The distal growth plate of the cannon bone accounts for only 5% of growth in the total length of the bone.
Padraig Kelly Equine Veterinary Services has an experienced and efficient team which allows a single limb surgery to take less than 30 minutes and a bilateral surgery to take approximately 45 minutes.
All surgeries carry a minor anaesthetic risk however this procedure is considered one of the safest due to the short anaesthetic time period taken.
The foal is monitored carefully during anaesthetic recovery, allowing the foal to return home on the day of surgery. If required, overnight stays can be facilitated by request.
The surgical table was designed with this type of surgery in mind. The foal lies in lateral recumbency allowing good access to the fetlock joints and distal cannon bones. The anaesthetic machine has also been modified specifically to anaesthetise young foals between 100kg and 250kg.
Padraig Kelly Equine Veterinary Services have installed an electric hoist which enables a smooth transition of the foal to and from the surgery table. The recovery room also has a new soft rubber floor installed and the walls have been fully padded to optimise safety.