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An 11-month-old sexually intact male red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) was examined because of bilateral radial and ulnar fractures.


Radiography of the forelimbs revealed bilateral, short oblique fractures in the proximal to mid diaphyses of the radii and ulnae. Fractures were overriding and moderately displaced. Wider than expected gaps were evident in the humeroulnar and humeroradial joints bilaterally. Although several physes remained open, no proximal radial physis was radiographically evident.


Dual bone fixation was performed bilaterally, and dynamic luxation of the left radial head was identified and stabilized intraoperatively. Although satisfactory function of both forelimbs was evident at 8 weeks and 26 months after surgery, a persistent gait abnormality affecting the right forelimb was noted. Twenty-six months after surgery, radiography revealed bilateral proximal radial physes and resolution of the abnormally wide gaps in the humeroradial and humeroulnar joints. Despite dual bone fixation, synostoses formed bilaterally and may have contributed to the persistent lameness in the kangaroo's right forelimb.


Veterinarians treating kangaroos should be aware of difficulties in determining skeletal maturity and planning fracture stabilization because of potential differences in skeletal growth and fracture healing, compared with other species. We described critical issues observed in the treatment and outcome of the kangaroo of the present report and provided lessons learned as well as potential explanations of these issues to facilitate future treatment of kangaroos with forelimb fractures.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association