Femoral fractures are often catastrophic in large animals. Radiographic diagnosis is limited by patient size and feasibility, especially in ambulatory settings. Ultrasonography is widely available and may provide an alternative to radiography for definitive diagnosis.
12 large animals (6 horses, 5 cattle, and 1 elephant).
Retrospective analysis of large animal patients diagnosed with femoral fracture by use of femoropelvic ultrasonography (2000 to 2019).
5 of 12 cases were ≤ 1 year of age. The remaining 7 cases were 2 to 33 years of age (median, 13 years). All patients developed severe acute lameness after falling (n = 4), limb entrapment (2), dystocia (1), vehicular collision (1), ipsilateral full limb casting (1), or unknown events (3). All were non–weight-bearing or lame at the walk, including 2 recumbent cattle. Ten cases showed upper limb swelling that was variable in location, and 3 had nonspecific upper limb crepitus. Ultrasonography revealed evidence of diaphyseal (n = 6), greater trochanteric (2), capital physeal (2), and distal femoral (2) fractures. Fracture movement during limb manipulation or weight shifting was sonographically visualized in 5 animals. Radiography confirmed fractures in 3 of 8 animals: 2 bovines with distal femoral fractures detected on standing projections and 1 capital physeal fracture that required ventrodorsal projections under general anesthesia. All animals were euthanized (11) or slaughtered (1 bovine). Postmortem examination confirmed ultrasonographic findings in 10 of 10 necropsied animals.
Femoral fractures were not localized nor confirmed in any case prior to ultrasonography. Study findings supported the use of ultrasonography for rapid patient-side diagnosis, prognostication, and decision-making in suspect cases.
Objective—To quantify the number of horses with Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis infection identified in the United States from January 2003 through December 2012.
Sample—State veterinary diagnostic laboratory records of 2,237 C pseudotuberculosis culture-positive samples from horses.
Procedures—44 state veterinary diagnostic laboratories throughout the United States were invited by mail to participate in the study. Data requested included the number of C pseudotuberculosis culture-positive samples from horses identified per year, geographic location from which the C pseudotuberculosis culture-positive sample was submitted, month and year of sample submission, breed and age of horses, and category of clinical manifestation (ie, internal infection, external infection, or ulcerative lymphangitis).
Results—Of the 44 invited laboratories, 15 agreed to participate and provided data on affected horses from 23 states. The proportion of C pseudotuberculosis culture-positive samples submitted during 2011 through 2012 (1,213/2,237 [54%]) was significantly greater than that for the period from 2003 through 2010 (1,024/2,237 [46%]). Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis was recovered from horses in states where the disease has not been previously recognized as endemic. Affected horses were identified year-round. The greatest proportion of C pseudotuberculosis culture-positive samples was identified during November, December, and January (789/2,237 [35%]). No significant association between the clinical form of disease and age or breed of horse was observed.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The occurrence of C pseudotuberculosis infection in horses increased during the 10-year period, and affected horses were identified throughout the United States. Further studies to determine changes in annual incidence and to identify potential changing climatic conditions or vector populations associated with disease transmission are warranted to help control the occurrence and spread of C pseudotuberculosis infection in horses.