First win for racehorse who underwent remarkable surgery on fractured leg

A racehorse who made a comeback from a broken leg has scored his first win.

Prince Dundee, trained by Lucinda Russell, was diagnosed with a micro-fracture in June last year and underwent standing surgery on his cannon bone at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary studies.

The procedure went so well that he was able to return to his job months later and has raced five times this season, winning over fences by five lengths on his last outing at Hexham (26 March) with jockey Blair Campbell.

Lucinda told H&H the outcome has been “absolutely fantastic”.

“The surgery was amazing,” Lucinda said, adding the standing operation came without the risks associated with general anesthesia.

His recovery was great, when horses have had a major issue [there is always the concern] they might not fully recover within themselves, especially when we are talking about athletes.

“He has not only come back to race, but has now won as well.”

The fracture did not show up on X-rays and was diagnosed through bone scans and MRI.

Vet Eugenio Cillán-Garcia performed the surgery (news, 6 September 2018), which involved inserting two screws into the leg.

He explained this type of diagnosis and surgery is to prevent a small fracture such as this from worsening to become a catastrophic fracture, from which horses cannot survive.

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He added the horse had a slight lameness last year, so they started investigating.

“The X-ray didn’t show anything, no sign of a fracture, but I was still quite suspicious so we decided to do a bone scan,” said Mr Cillán-Garcia.

This showed a very hot area, which led to the diagnosis of a fracture and surgery 10 days later.

Mr Cillán-Garcia was full of praise for the veterinary team, Lucinda and the horse’s owners for allowing him to “go the extra mile”.

“You have to have a really good team together, not just on the veterinary side, but the trainers and owners,” he said.

“I’m tremendously lucky working with some of the clients I do, especially Lucinda who is so forward thinking and cares for her horses so well.

“We did the video because this is something we are doing often and I think it is good for people to know [how it works].”

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