CASE STUDY: Wither Fracture

9 y.o TB gelding.

Injury: fractured dorsal spinous processes of upper thoracic vertebra (withers).

  • Presented with abnormal swelling around his wither, and having trouble moving his neck.

Date Diagnosed: 20th August 2016

  • Was then confined to a yard with feed and water raised to approximately chest height as he could not lower his neck at this point in time.

Normal position of upper thoracic vertebra, notice the position of the dorsal spinous processes.


Red arrows indicate location of fracture sites



Rehab sessions with E.P.R.S were commenced on 25th of August and were completed weekly for 3 months.

Follow up x-rays were taken on the 14th of November, with the fractures almost completely remodelled and re-alignment of the dorsal spinous processes.

X-rays as of 14th of November 2016. Red arrow indicates were fracture sites were, and red box shows the dorsal spinous processes that used to be displaced.

Comparison images











To date there have not been many documented cases with radiographic tracking of the remodelling process.

A case by Molnar. R et al, tracked the progress of remodelling in a QH gelding. This gelding was treated with phenylbutuzone for 3 weeks to control initial inflammation, then received no further treatment. He was kept confined, with feed and water raised to chest height while lameness and pain present. At the 3 month mark they had only just started to see signs of remodelling, and at 2 years saw full remodelling and re-alignment of the dorsal spinous processes.