Equine orbital fractures: a review of 18 cases (2006–2013)

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



To review the clinical features, treatments, complications, and outcomes of horses with traumatic orbital fractures.

Study design

Retrospective study.

Sample Population

Eighteen horses with confirmed orbital fractures.


Medical records of horses presenting with orbital fractures between 2006 and 2013 were reviewed. Signalment, etiology of fracture, clinical signs, fracture descriptions, diagnostic imaging, treatments, complications, and outcomes were evaluated.


Eighteen horses presented with orbital fractures resulting from rearing in a confined space (n = 5), being kicked (4), colliding with a stationary object (3), and unknown trauma (6). Radiography and computed tomography were effective at classifying fractures and evaluating sinus/nasal involvement. Epistaxis/sinusitis were associated with fractures of the zygomatic process of the temporal bone (n = 3) and comminuted fractures of multiple bones (5). Seventeen fractures required treatment, with fifteen receiving a combination of medical and surgical therapy. Surgery included reduction of large bony fragments (n = 8), removal of small fragments (12), stabilization with a wire implant (1), and sinus trephination and lavage (5). Factors contributing to a favorable outcome included: globe retention (n = 16), vision (14), comfort (15), cosmesis (9), and return to previous function (13).


Horses sustaining orbital fractures treated promptly with medical and surgical therapy have a favorable prognosis for return to function and cosmesis. Fractures affecting the zygomatic process of the frontal bone are unlikely to involve the sinus/nasal cavities. Epistaxis and sinusitis warrant more aggressive therapy and decrease functional and cosmetic outcome.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles