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Conservative and surgical treatment of tibial fractures in cattle
  1. A. Martens, DVM1,
  2. M. Steenhaut, DVM, Dip1ECVS1,
  3. C. De Cupere, DVM1,
  4. F. Gasthuys, DVM, DVs, Dip1ECVA1,
  5. A. De Moor, DVM1 and
  6. F. Verschooten, DVM, Dip1ECVDI2
  1. 1 Department of Surgery and Anaesthesiology of Domestic Animals
  2. 2 Medical Imaging of Domestic Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium


Ninety-five cattle with tibial fractures, all but one with a uni-lateral fracture, were examined between 1990 and 1994. The feasibility of repairing the fracture was assessed radiographi-caily, also taking into account the bodyweight and value of the animal. Twenty-two cattle were slaughtered. Conservative treatment with stall confinement and/or a splint or cast was applied in 18 cases, with satisfactory results in eight of them (44 per cent). They were fattened to normal bodyweight, but they all had a severe deformity of the affected leg. In 55 ani-mals, the fractures were fixed externally with Steinmann pins and methylmethacrylate bridges under image-intensi-fied fluoroscopy. Ten of them could not bear weight on the affected leg and were slaughtered before the pins were removed. In the remaining 45 animals the pins were removed after a mean (sd) period of 71 (14) days. Four ani-mals re-fractured the affected leg shortly after the pins were removed and six others were slaughtered prematurely because of inadequate weight bearing. The results were suc-cessful in 35 cases (64 per cent). Slight deviations of the affected leg and/or the contralateral leg were often observed. The overall survival rate of the cattle with tibial fractures was 45 per cent.

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