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Use of a circular fixator construct for metacarpal fracture stabilisation in a fawn
  1. C. Aitken-Palmer, DVM, PhD,
  2. D. D. Lewis, DVM, DipACVS,
  3. S. E. Kim, BVSc, MS, DipACVS and
  4. D. J. Reese, DVM, DipACVR
  1. Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, 2015 SW 16th Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32610-0126, USA
  1. E-mail for correspondence copperdvm{at}

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FRACTURES of the metacarpus and metatarsus are the most reported fractures in deer species (Nisbet and others 2010). While comminuted appendicular fractures in adult deer have a guarded prognosis, similar fractures in juvenile deer are associated with a better prognosis because of tractability and fast healing times (Mills and others 1996, Nisbet and others 2010).

Circular fixators have become an accepted modality for stabilising fractures of the distal extremities in domestic species including dogs, cats (Lewis and others 1999, Anderson and others 2003) and growing cattle (Aithal and others 2004, Singh and others 2007, Bilgili and others 2008) because they can be applied in a closed fashion, mitigating iatrogenic surgical trauma, and allow for axial micromotion, which promotes callus formation (Lewis and others 1999, Singh and others 2007) and rapid healing (Bilgili and others 2008). Although evaluated in other species, the utility of circular fixators for fracture repair in deer has not been evaluated. In deer, there are reports of successful appendicular fracture stabilisation with linear fixators (Mills and others 1996, Nisbet and others 2010) and, more recently, a hybrid linear-circular fixator (Phelps and others 2010). This case report describes the use of a circular fixator construct as an alternative method of stabilising for a comminuted metacarpal fracture in a white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawn.

A two-month-old, 8 kg, female white-tailed deer fawn presented with swelling, crepitus and instability of the right metacarpus. Radiographs showed comminuted dorsolaterally displaced mid-diaphyseal fractures of the third and fourth metacarpal bones with well-defined fissures extending from the fracture margins (Fig 1a, b). Surgical stabilisation was …

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