Modified Thomas splint-cast combination for the management of limb fractures in small equids

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To describe the management and outcome of limb fractures in small domestic equids treated with a modified Thomas splint-cast combination (MTSCC).

Study Design:

Retrospective case series.


Client owned horses and donkeys.


Medical records, including radiographs, were reviewed for details of animals diagnosed with a limb fracture and treated by external coaptation using a MTSCC (2001-2012). Follow-up >6 months after discharge was obtained via telephone consultation with owners or veterinarians.


Nine horses and 4 donkeys were identified with fractures of the tibial diaphysis (n = 4), ulna (n = 3), distal metatarsus (n = 2), proximal metacarpus (n = 1), radial diaphysis (n = 1), calcaneus (n = 1), and distal femoral physis (n = 1). Follow-up was available for 12 equids, of which 8 (67%) recovered from the fracture and became pasture sound. Six equids developed obvious external deformation of the affected limb.


Selected small equids with long bone fractures, and without athletic expectations, can be managed with external coaptation using an MTSCC. The owner should be informed that the treatment is considered a salvage procedure.

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