OBJECTIVE To describe the torsional and axial compressive properties of tibiotarsal bones of red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis).
SAMPLE 16 cadaveric tibiotarsal bones from 8 red-tailed hawks.
PROCEDURES 1 tibiotarsal bone from each bird was randomly assigned to be tested in torsion, and the contralateral bone was tested in axial compression. Intact bones were monotonically loaded in either torsion (n = 8) or axial compression (8) to failure. Mechanical variables were derived from load-deformation curves. Fracture configurations were described. Effects of sex, limb side, and bone dimensions on mechanical properties were assessed with a mixed-model ANOVA. Correlations between equivalent torsional and compressive properties were determined.
RESULTS Limb side and bone dimensions were not associated with any mechanical property. During compression tests, mean ultimate cumulative energy and postyield energy for female bones were significantly greater than those for male bones. All 8 bones developed a spiral diaphyseal fracture and a metaphyseal fissure or fracture during torsional tests. During compression tests, all bones developed a crushed metaphysis and a fissure or comminuted fracture of the diaphysis. Positive correlations were apparent between most yield and ultimate torsional and compressive properties.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The torsional and axial compressive properties of tibiotarsal bones described in this study can be used as a reference for investigations into fixation methods for tibiotarsal fractures in red-tailed hawks. Although the comminuted and spiral diaphyseal fractures induced in this study were consistent with those observed in clinical practice, the metaphyseal disruption observed was not and warrants further research.
Dr. Kerrigan's present address is Vista Veterinary Specialists, 7425 Greenhaven Dr, Sacramento, CA 95831.
Dr. Robinson's present address is BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital, 13240 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133.