Fracture of the Long Bones
Keywords:fracture management, camelids, orthopedic injury, literature review, treatment, workup, repair, prognosis
Fracture management in alpacas and llamas presents a unique and interesting challenge to the veterinary surgeon. The increasing popularity of camelids in North America means veterinarians are more likely to see them as patients; therefore, dealing with camelid fractures is quickly becoming part of the normal caseload. Because of the relatively high commercial value of most camelids, clients will usually be willing to pursue treatment.
Camelids are considered to be excellent patients for the treatment of orthopedic injuries because of their relative low body weight, their ability to ambulate on three legs postoperatively, and tolerate external coaptation devices and prolonged periods of recumbency for recuperation after surgery. For these reasons, the veterinary surgeon has a full repertoire of repair techniques available to choose from when determining the ideal repair option. Not surprisingly, the scientific literature has lagged behind the relatively rapid rise in camelid popularity; there are currently 62 case reports on camelid long bone fracture fixation. This paper will review the published literature on the management of long bone fractures. Fracture management includes the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative time periods. Emergency treatment, clinical workup, principles of fracture repair, treatment, and prognosis for specific long bone fractures and their complications will be discussed.