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Rostral mandibular fracture repair in a pet bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps)

Melissa R. NauDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

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David EsharDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

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Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 2-year-old male bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) was evaluated because of a traumatic mandibular fracture.

CLINICAL FINDINGS An open comminuted fracture of the rostral aspect of the right mandible was evident, with a fragment of bone exposed and dorsally displaced. Whole-body radiography revealed no evidence of additional injury. Other findings were unremarkable, except for moderate anemia (PCV, 19%).

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME The fracture fragments were stabilized with 2 crossed 36-gauge interfragmentary wire loops. An external fixator device was fashioned from four 25-gauge needles inserted at alternating angles through the fracture fragments; plastic IV fluid line tubing filled with dental acrylic was used as a connecting bar. One day after surgery, the lizard had regained its typical activity level and appetite. Body weight was measured and the external fixator was inspected 1 week after surgery and monthly thereafter. Three months after initial injury, the fracture was stable, radiography revealed bony callus formation at the fracture site, and the external fixator was removed. Recheck radiography performed 5.5 months after initial injury revealed complete osseous union of the fracture fragments, and the interfragmentary wires were removed.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE Surgical management of the traumatic comminuted mandibular fracture in this bearded dragon by means of a combination of internal and external fixation resulted in complete healing of the mandible and restoration of function. Management of this complicated fracture was achieved with the aid of readily available and inexpensive supplies in a clinical setting, which may be useful to other clinicians in the management of similar cases.

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 2-year-old male bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) was evaluated because of a traumatic mandibular fracture.

CLINICAL FINDINGS An open comminuted fracture of the rostral aspect of the right mandible was evident, with a fragment of bone exposed and dorsally displaced. Whole-body radiography revealed no evidence of additional injury. Other findings were unremarkable, except for moderate anemia (PCV, 19%).

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME The fracture fragments were stabilized with 2 crossed 36-gauge interfragmentary wire loops. An external fixator device was fashioned from four 25-gauge needles inserted at alternating angles through the fracture fragments; plastic IV fluid line tubing filled with dental acrylic was used as a connecting bar. One day after surgery, the lizard had regained its typical activity level and appetite. Body weight was measured and the external fixator was inspected 1 week after surgery and monthly thereafter. Three months after initial injury, the fracture was stable, radiography revealed bony callus formation at the fracture site, and the external fixator was removed. Recheck radiography performed 5.5 months after initial injury revealed complete osseous union of the fracture fragments, and the interfragmentary wires were removed.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE Surgical management of the traumatic comminuted mandibular fracture in this bearded dragon by means of a combination of internal and external fixation resulted in complete healing of the mandible and restoration of function. Management of this complicated fracture was achieved with the aid of readily available and inexpensive supplies in a clinical setting, which may be useful to other clinicians in the management of similar cases.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Nau (melissa.nau@lowryparkzoo.org).