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

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Abstract

Objective:

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.

Animals:

Client owned horses and donkeys.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusion:

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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