This section is from the book "The Farmers Ready Reference Or Hand Book Of Diseases Of Horses And Cattle", by S. C. Orr. . Also available from Amazon: The Farmer's Ready Reference;.
Horses are always more or less liable to fractures of bones, both of limbs and body. They occur from falls, from kicks from other animals and from running against solid bodies, etc. Fractures are of different degrees of severity, and upon this and their location depends the degree of success in treatment. If only the bone is fractured with little or no displacement, that much is favorable, but if the bone is badly shattered, the skin and muscles torn and splinters of bone piercing through, the case is hopeless. As the treatment of fracture requires the skill of an experienced practitioner to ensure anything like success, space will not be taken here for more than a few general hints. Fracture is easily recognized by the extreme lameness and by the grating sound produced by the bones when the limb is moved with the hand. When a fracture is known to exist, a veterinarian should be called at once if it is desired to save the animal. If it must be attempted by a novice, then get some strips of muslin, some starch, some splints and also some cotton. Get the ends of the bones into position, then smear the skin and hair with starch and wind the bandage around it, applying the starch to the bandage as it is wound on the limb; level any uneven places up with the cotton by putting it between the layers of the bandage, and when four or five layers of the muslin have been put on, place one of the splints on each side and one behind, but none in front, and apply more of the bandage and starch. The horse may be placed in slings or not as he seems to do best. Some horses do better out of slings. If the limb swells, the bandage should be slit in at the end where the swelling is worst. The bandage should be left on six weeks in an ordinary case, and then cut away carefully.