Contamination and infection of fractures resulting from gunshot trauma in dogs: 20 cases (1987-1992)

Maria A. Doherty From the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0442.

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Mark M. Smith From the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0442.

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Summary

Medical records of 20 dogs with gunshot fractures were reviewed to determine the prevalence of preoperative contamination and postoperative osteomyelitis. Fractures were repaired primarily by application of a bone plate (n = 16) or external fixator (n = 2) in buttress fashion or application of interfragmentary screws and pins (n = 2). In 17 dogs, an autogenous bone graft was also used. Results of bacteriologic culture of swab specimens obtained intraoperatively for 15 of the 16 dogs that received antimicrobials preoperatively and for all 4 dogs that did not receive antimicrobials preoperatively were negative. Three dogs developed osteomyelitis at 6, 8, and 10 weeks following surgery; for all 3, results of bacteriologic culture of specimens obtained intraoperatively had been negative. Fracture healing was uncomplicated in the remaining dogs (mean follow-up time, 23 months; range, 2 to 58 months). Despite the potential for contamination associated with gunshot trauma, results indicated a low prevalence of preoperative fracture contamination and postoperative osteomyelitis. These results imply either a low contamination rate or treatable contamination of the perifracture area.

Summary

Medical records of 20 dogs with gunshot fractures were reviewed to determine the prevalence of preoperative contamination and postoperative osteomyelitis. Fractures were repaired primarily by application of a bone plate (n = 16) or external fixator (n = 2) in buttress fashion or application of interfragmentary screws and pins (n = 2). In 17 dogs, an autogenous bone graft was also used. Results of bacteriologic culture of swab specimens obtained intraoperatively for 15 of the 16 dogs that received antimicrobials preoperatively and for all 4 dogs that did not receive antimicrobials preoperatively were negative. Three dogs developed osteomyelitis at 6, 8, and 10 weeks following surgery; for all 3, results of bacteriologic culture of specimens obtained intraoperatively had been negative. Fracture healing was uncomplicated in the remaining dogs (mean follow-up time, 23 months; range, 2 to 58 months). Despite the potential for contamination associated with gunshot trauma, results indicated a low prevalence of preoperative fracture contamination and postoperative osteomyelitis. These results imply either a low contamination rate or treatable contamination of the perifracture area.

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