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External skeletal fixator intramedullary pin tie-in for the repair of tibiotarsal fractures in raptors: 37 cases (1995–2011)

Irene Bueno DVM, MPH1, Patrick T. Redig DVM, PhD2, and Aaron K. Rendahl PhD3
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  • 1 The Raptor Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 2 The Raptor Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 3 School of Statistics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the outcome of the application of an external skeletal fixator intramedullary pin tie-in (TIF) to tibiotarsal fractures in raptors.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—Thirty-four raptors with 37 tibiotarsal fractures.

Procedures—Medical records and radiographs for raptors with tibiotarsal fractures that were treated at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota between 1995 and 2011 were reviewed. Descriptive statistics were generated and univariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess whether age, sex, body weight, location and nature of the fracture, and type of surgical reduction were significantly associated with whether the fracture healed following surgical reduction and TIF application.

Results—31 of 37 (84%) tibiotarsal fractures successfully healed following surgical reduction and TIF application. The mean healing time was 38 days (range, 15 to 70 days). None of the variables assessed were significantly associated with whether the tibiotarsal fracture healed. Twenty of the 34 (59%) raptors were eventually rehabilitated and released.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that most tibiotarsal fractures were successfully managed by surgical reduction and stabilization with a TIF. However, other comorbidities (eg, systemic infections and visual deficits) negatively affected the rehabilitation of raptors and sometimes resulted in euthanasia despite the fact that the tibiotarsal fracture had healed, and those comorbidities, along with the variables evaluated (eg, age, sex, and nature of the fracture), should be used as triage criteria and prognostic indicators.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the outcome of the application of an external skeletal fixator intramedullary pin tie-in (TIF) to tibiotarsal fractures in raptors.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—Thirty-four raptors with 37 tibiotarsal fractures.

Procedures—Medical records and radiographs for raptors with tibiotarsal fractures that were treated at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota between 1995 and 2011 were reviewed. Descriptive statistics were generated and univariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess whether age, sex, body weight, location and nature of the fracture, and type of surgical reduction were significantly associated with whether the fracture healed following surgical reduction and TIF application.

Results—31 of 37 (84%) tibiotarsal fractures successfully healed following surgical reduction and TIF application. The mean healing time was 38 days (range, 15 to 70 days). None of the variables assessed were significantly associated with whether the tibiotarsal fracture healed. Twenty of the 34 (59%) raptors were eventually rehabilitated and released.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that most tibiotarsal fractures were successfully managed by surgical reduction and stabilization with a TIF. However, other comorbidities (eg, systemic infections and visual deficits) negatively affected the rehabilitation of raptors and sometimes resulted in euthanasia despite the fact that the tibiotarsal fracture had healed, and those comorbidities, along with the variables evaluated (eg, age, sex, and nature of the fracture), should be used as triage criteria and prognostic indicators.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Bueno's present address is Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

Address correspondence to Dr. Bueno (bueno004@umn.edu).