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Fractures of the cervical vertebral odontoid in four horses and one pony
  1. N. J. Vos, DVM1,
  2. P. J. Pollock, BVMS, DipECVS1,
  3. M. Harty, MVB1,
  4. T. Brennan, MVB1,
  5. S. de Blaauw, DVM1 and
  6. H. McAllister, MVB, DVM, PhD, DipECVDI1
  1. 1 University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Northern Ireland
  1. Mr Vos' present address is Camden Veterinary Hospital, University of Sydney, Camden, 2570 NSW, Australia


Four horses and one pony, ranging in age from one to 11 years, were diagnosed with two different types of odontoid peg fractures. Their clinical signs included reluctance to move the neck and head, dullness, and abnormalities of gait. Radiography was essential for the diagnosis, and the method of treatment varied depending on the severity of the neurological signs, the intended use of the horse, and financial constraints. Optimal treatment requires a technique that allows decompression, anatomical alignment, and stabilisation of the odontoid fracture. If the clinical (neurological) signs are not too severe and the animal shows signs of feeling peripheral pain, conservative treatment can be applied, as is common practice in human surgery. All except the pony made a full recovery.

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