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Retrospective study of 99 cases of bone fractures in cattle treated by external coaptation or confinement
  1. M. Gangl, DVM1,
  2. S. Grulke, DVM, PhD, DipECVS1,
  3. D. Serteyn, DVM, PhD, DipECVA1 and
  4. K. Touati, DVM, PhD1
  1. 1General Anaesthesiology and Surgery of Large Animals, Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, Sart Tilman Bâtiment B41, B-4000 Liège, Belgium


Between 2000 and 2003, 99 cattle with limb fractures were treated. Over 50 per cent were tibial fractures, with the femur and os calcis being the second and third most frequently affected bones. Eight of the cattle were slaughtered because of their poor prognosis, 10 were treated by stall confinement, 76 were treated by external coaptation with a Thomas splint-cast combination and three were treated with a simple or reinforced half limb cast; these 79 cattle were usually discharged immediately. One calf was treated with internal fixation, and another by amputation. Follow-up information was obtained by telephone, and the treatments were classified as either completely successful (return to previous production level), partially successful (return to lower production level) or failure. Forty (52·6 per cent) of the cattle treated with the Thomas splint-cast combination were classified as a complete success and 14 (18·4 per cent) as a partial success; the treatment failed in 19 of the cattle and three were lost to follow-up. The animals’ bodyweight, age and sex, and whether the fracture was open or closed, had no significant influence on the outcome. Among the 10 cattle treated for proximal fractures by stall confinement, there were five survivors, four non-survivors and one was lost to follow-up.

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  • Dr Gangl’s present address is Clinéquine, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon, 1 Avenue Bourgelat, F-69280 Marcy l’Etoile, France

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