Treatment of Fractures and Tendon Injuries in the Field

External Coaptation in the 21st Century!


  • David E. Anderson College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210



limb fracture, farm animals, orthopedic injury, economic, treatment


Fractures involving the limbs are common in farm animals, are most commonly found in young stock, and often occur subsequent to trauma during dystocia. The most common fractures diagnosed in food animals include metacarpus and metatarsus (~50%), tibia (~12%), radius and ulna (~7%), femur (<5%), humerus (<5%), pelvis (<5%), and phalanges (<1%). Occasionally, fractures of the axial skeleton (mandible, vertebra, ribs, pelvis) are found. Food animals are considered to be excellent patients for treatment of orthopedic injuries because they spend a majority of time lying down, have a tremendous osteogenic potential, are more resistant to contralateral limb breakdown and stress laminitis, and usually do not resist having orthopedic appliances on their limbs. The decision to treat a fracture in a food animal is made by considering the cost of the treatment, the success rate of the treatment, the perceived or potential economic or genetic value of the animal, and the location and type of fracture. Most owners will elect to pursue inexpensive treatment for fractures with a high success rate, but owners also often elect to pursue costly fracture treatment despite poor success rates when cattle are perceived to have high economic or genetic potential.






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