X-ray images of St Nicholas Abbey’s fractured leg have been released by owners, Coolmore.
The images show how vets reconstructed the 6-year-old’s leg following his career ending injury sustained on the gallops last month (23 July).
The triple Coronation Cup winner was rushed to Fethard Equine Hospital after the accident. X-rays revealed that he had fractures in his pastern and fetlock bones of his right fore leg (see slides 1 and 2).
Due to the multiple fractures in his leg, St Nicholas Abbey had to be operated on to reconstruct the bone with screws and plates.
During the surgery it was discovered that some of the smaller bone fragments had lost blood supply and had to be removed. The damaged bone was replaced by taking a bone graft from the 6-year-old stallion’s hip.
The veterinary team then used 20 screws and 2 bone plates to help to stabilise the limb (see slide 3).
Vets also inserted a large steel pin through the lower end of the cannon bone, which was then incorporated into a fiberglass cast (see slide 4). The pin was designed to minimise the amount of weight placed on the repair during the first month after surgery.
Less than 48 hours after the initial surgery St Nicholas Abbey then suffered from a life threatening bought of colic. He was rushed back into surgery and then put on intravenous nutrition.
His food intake is now being slowly increased as he recuperates and he is enjoying small amounts of freshly cut grass.
“A major life-threatening fracture has been repaired and a major life-threatening colic complication has been corrected, but St Nicholas Abbey still has a long way to go,” said Coolmore.
“Other life-threatening complications may yet arise including laminitis, surgery site infection and failure of the implants in the repaired fracture. Each new day is a victory on his road to recovery.”