Rupture of the gastrocnemius muscle in six foals

Sophy A. Jesty, Jonathan E. Palmer, Eric J. Parente, Thomas P. Schaer, Pamela A. Wilkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rupture of the gastrocnemius muscle and subsequent disruption of the reciprocal mechanism of the hind limb was diagnosed in 6 foals examined at 7 hours to 3 weeks of age. In 2 foals, the musculoskeletal injury was detected as an ancillary finding to clinical signs of neurologic dysfunction ascribed to hypoxic ischemic insult during delivery, whereas in the other 4 foals, musculoskeletal injury, manifested as inability to rise or stand unsupported, was the chief complaint at admission. Five foals had a history of dystocia and assisted delivery. Common clinical signs were inability to rise, disruption of the reciprocal mechanism, swelling in the caudal aspect of the thigh, instability of the stifle joint, and stifle joint effusion. For mild gastrocnemius injury, exercise restriction via forced recumbency, with minimal or no bandaging, may be sufficient treatment. For more severe disruption of the muscle, limb stabilization via splinting and intensive nursing and monitoring are necessary Four foals had important concurrent problems, including musculoskeletal deformations (joint contractures), hypoxic ischemic disease, and failure of passive transfer and associated problems (ie, sepsis, polyarthritis, and pneumonia). Moderate to severe gastrocnemius muscle injury is difficult to treat successfully, and the long-term prognosis for athletic function should be regarded as guarded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1965-1968+1929
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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