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Femoral Fracture Repair Using a Locking Plate Technique in an Adult Captive Polar Bear (Ursus Maritimus)

Authors

  • DAWN M. ZIMMERMAN DVM, MS,

    1. Memphis Zoo and Aquarium, Memphis, TN
    2. Azzore Veterinary Specialists, Russellville, AK
    3. Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics, Memphis, TN.
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  • TERRY DEW DVM, MS,

    1. Memphis Zoo and Aquarium, Memphis, TN
    2. Azzore Veterinary Specialists, Russellville, AK
    3. Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics, Memphis, TN.
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  • MICHAEL DOUGLASS DVM,

    1. Memphis Zoo and Aquarium, Memphis, TN
    2. Azzore Veterinary Specialists, Russellville, AK
    3. Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics, Memphis, TN.
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  • EDWARD PEREZ MD

    1. Memphis Zoo and Aquarium, Memphis, TN
    2. Azzore Veterinary Specialists, Russellville, AK
    3. Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics, Memphis, TN.
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Corresponding Author: Dr. Dawn M. Zimmerman, DVM, MS, Memphis Zoo and Aquarium, 2000 Prentiss Place, Memphis, TN 38112. E-mail: dzimmerman@memphiszoo.org.

Abstract

Objective— To report successful femoral fracture repair in a polar bear.

Study Design— Case report.

Animals— Female polar bear (Ursus maritimus) 5 years and ∼250 kg.

Methods— A closed, complete, comminuted fracture of the distal midshaft femur was successfully reduced and stabilized using a compression plating technique with 2 specialized human femur plates offering axial, rotational, and bending support, and allowing the bone to share loads with the implant. Postoperative radiographs were obtained at 11.5 weeks, 11 months, and 24 months.

Results— Bone healing characterized by marked periosteal reaction was evident at 11 months with extensive remodeling evident at 24 months. No complications were noted.

Conclusions— Distal mid shaft femoral fracture was reduced, stabilized, and healed in an adult polar bear with a locking plate technique using 2 plates.

Clinical Relevance— Previously, femoral fractures in polar bears were considered irreparable. Use of 2 plates applied with a locking plate technique can result in successful fracture repair despite large body weight and inability to restrict postoperative activity.

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