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A Clinical Evaluation of Pancarpal Arthrodesis in Nine Dogs Using Circular External Skeletal Fixation


Address reprint requests to Dr. Peter J. Lotsikas, DVM, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Iowa State University, 1600 16th Street, Ames, IA 50011-1250. E-mail:


Objective— To report clinical outcome and complications after pancarpal arthrodesis using circular external skeletal fixation (CESF) in dogs.

Study Design— Retrospective study.

Animals— Dogs (n=9) with carpal injury.

Methods— Medical records including radiographs (10 limbs) with underlying severe carpal injury that had pancarpal arthrodesis with CESF were reviewed. Short-term follow-up (>6 months) was obtained by phone interview of owners.

Results— Mean weight was 24.5 kg (range, 10.1–69.5 kg). Mean duration until CESF removal was 110.6 days (range, 72–149 days). Complications in all dogs were mild postoperative edema of the distal aspect of the limb and initial mild serous discharge form exit points of CSEF wires. Follow-up (mean, 328 days; range, 190–541 days) was available for 8 dogs. All owners reported limb function and cosmesis as being excellent, and perceived that their animals were pain free. Perception of fixator care difficulty, as reported by owners, varied significantly based on previous splint management experience; owners who had experienced splint management for >1 month found fixator care equal to or easier than splint management.

Conclusion— Pancarpal arthrodesis with a CESF produces a favorable clinical outcome with high owner acceptance.

Clinical Relevance— Pancarpal arthrodesis by use of CESF is a clinically applicable technique and may offer advantages over internal fixation with respect to postoperative complications.