Intramedullary Pinning of Metacarpal and Metatarsal Fractures in Cats Using a Simple Distraction Technique


Address reprint requests to Brigitte Degasperi, DVM, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Wien, Austria. E-mail:


Objective— To describe a simple technique of intramedullary (IM) pinning for open reduction and internal fixation of metacarpal and metatarsal fractures in cats and evaluate outcome.

Study Design— Retrospective study.

Animals— Cats (n=17).

Methods— Medical records of cats with metacarpal and metatarsal fractures treated by a specific IM pinning method with Kirschner wires were reviewed. Types of fractures and number of pins used were recorded. Pre- and postoperative radiographs were evaluated. Outcome was assessed based on clinical examination, evaluation of radiographs, and owner questionnaire.

Results— Seventeen questionnaires were evaluated. Thirteen cats had a final recheck and radiographic assessment. Eight cats were lost to follow-up. Sixteen owners (94%) reported no obvious change in their cat's gait after treatment. One owner reported excellent function in her cat despite a slightly abnormal gait because of bent implants.

Conclusions— IM pinning after distraction of bone fragments is a reliable technique for treatment of metacarpal and metatarsal fractures in cats. Complications associated with fracture healing may or may not be associated with lameness.

Clinical Relevance— IM pinning used in conjunction with appropriate bandaging for 4 weeks yields excellent functional outcome for treatment of metacarpal and metatarsal fractures in cats. Metacarpo- and metatarsophalangeal joint damage is prevented using this technique.