Broken knees are of frequent occurrence, and are a very great annoyance and trouble, not only in themselves, but also because the blemish may materially lessen the horse's value when he is to be sold. They very often arise from the horse falling while trotting down hill, and most frequently when he is being ridden by a servant or groom; and for this reason some horse-owners are always in the habit of strictly forbidding the trotting of any of their riding horses down hill while they are out at exercise. If the accident is slight, and one or both knees may have been merely "grazed," and only a portion of hair removed, and, in addition, there may be a little abrasion of the skin - in such cases sponging well with warm water will often be the only remedy required. In other cases the skin is cut through, and the tissues underneath may be exposed, and more or less wounded. Here, unless the injury is superficial, the advisability of getting the horse into a stable as soon as possible must be considered. If the knee is deeply cut, it is obvious that the patient had better not walk farther than is absolutely necessary. In such a case, when the horse has reached a stable, the parts should be gently fomented, and, if need be, veterinary assistance should be sought without delay; in the meantime care being taken to keep the injured limb as quiet as possible, and the animal free from anything disturbing or exciting. If the knee joint is opened, the case is serious, and the leg cannot be kept too still after bandaging with a little tow and some dressing, such as carbolised oil or carbolic lotion. It may be found judicious to turn the horse round in the stall, and keep him on pillar reins, to prevent him from knocking or rubbing the injured limb against the manger; and, if he attempts to bite the wounds, a "cradle" should be placed on his neck. In very severe cases, "slinging" the patient will be found a very great advantage. In some cases, when laceration or contusion is superficial, and freed from dirt or grit, a favourable result will be obtained by spreading some Canada balsam on a piece of lint, and applying it to the part, leaving it there until it drops off.
Cases of broken knees vary so much that only general principles of treatment can be here given, and great professional experience is required to treat all but simple cases.