A splint occurs when the ligament between the splint bones and the cannon bone becomes inflamed. This leads to proliferative bone growth and a hard lump to the side of the cannon bone. The position and size of this lump (or exostosis) determines the level of disability imposed onto the horse.
Treatment for splints can vary and in most cases is successful when veterinary advice is sought. Often anti-inflammatories and rest can mean simple cases are better in 4-6 weeks. Massage, cold therapy and support bandaging can also be recommended.
In more severe cases surgery may be recommended, either to remove the lump or repair fractures that can occur in older horses.
Since not all splint injuries are the same, when a horse develops a splint, veterinary advice is essential and if followed then prognosis for being sound is good.