Why are bone fractures life-threatening for racehorses?

Veterinary surgical care has advanced significantly in recent years, making it possible to repair many fractures in horses and allowing horses to live out their full lives. But there remain challenges to fracture repair and healing particular to equine physiology. Horses are not well adapted to sustained inactivity or limited mobility, as is often required for recovery, and post-surgical complications include infection, the potentially catastrophic hoof disease laminitis, and colic, an intestinal disorder that can result in death. Complicated and unstable fractures, in which a horse cannot bear weight on a limb, are often fractures that cannot be repaired by any veterinary care, and the most humane course of action is euthanization.