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Internal fixation of a femur fracture in an American bullfrog

Lillian W. RoyalDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Michael S. GrafingerDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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B. Duncan X. LascellesDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Gregory A. LewbartDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Larry S. ChristianDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Abstract

Case Description—An adult male American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) was evaluated by the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Turtle Rescue Team following vehicular trauma.

Clinical Findings—A fracture of the left femur was suspected on examination and palpation of the hind limbs, but no other injuries or abnormalities were detected. While the bullfrog was sedated, whole-body radiographic views were obtained, which revealed a closed midshaft comminuted fracture of the left femur.

Treatment and Outcome—The fracture was repaired by use of an internal fixation technique that included Kirschner wires, a positive-profile pin secured along the femur with encircling sutures, and polymethylmethacrylate molded around the entire apparatus. There were no major complications during the postoperative rehabilitation period. One year after surgery, radiography revealed complete fracture healing and the bullfrog was released back into the wild.

Clinical Relevance—Presently, there are no widely accepted methods for fracture fixation in amphibians. Factors associated with their aquatic environment and lengthy fracture healing time must be addressed when planning fracture fixation strategies. In the bullfrog of this report, the applied internal fixation method provided effective long-term stabilization of the femur, allowed for normal movement, and enabled the bullfrog to be housed in an aquatic environment immediately after surgery.

Abstract

Case Description—An adult male American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) was evaluated by the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Turtle Rescue Team following vehicular trauma.

Clinical Findings—A fracture of the left femur was suspected on examination and palpation of the hind limbs, but no other injuries or abnormalities were detected. While the bullfrog was sedated, whole-body radiographic views were obtained, which revealed a closed midshaft comminuted fracture of the left femur.

Treatment and Outcome—The fracture was repaired by use of an internal fixation technique that included Kirschner wires, a positive-profile pin secured along the femur with encircling sutures, and polymethylmethacrylate molded around the entire apparatus. There were no major complications during the postoperative rehabilitation period. One year after surgery, radiography revealed complete fracture healing and the bullfrog was released back into the wild.

Clinical Relevance—Presently, there are no widely accepted methods for fracture fixation in amphibians. Factors associated with their aquatic environment and lengthy fracture healing time must be addressed when planning fracture fixation strategies. In the bullfrog of this report, the applied internal fixation method provided effective long-term stabilization of the femur, allowed for normal movement, and enabled the bullfrog to be housed in an aquatic environment immediately after surgery.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Grafinger.