Objective: To determine the rate of postoperative infection (POI) for internal fixation repaired equine long bone fractures and arthrodeses and identify associated risk factors.
Study Design: Case series.
Animals: Horses (n=192) with fracture repair of the third metacarpal and metatarsal bones, radius, ulna, humerus, tibia, and femur, or arthrodesis with internal fixation.
Methods: Medical records (1990–2006) were reviewed for signalment, anatomic location, fracture classification and method of repair, technique and surgical duration, bacterial species isolated, postoperative care, onset of POI, and outcome.
Results: Of 192 horses (171 [89%] closed, 21 [11%] open fractures), 157 (82%) were discharged from the hospital. Infection occurred in 53 (28% horses), of which 31 (59%) were discharged. Repairs without POI were 7.25 times more likely to be discharged from the hospital. Closed fractures were 4.23 times more likely to remain uninfected and 4.59 times more likely to be discharged from the hospital compared with open fractures. Closed reduction and internal fixation was associated with a 2.5-fold reduction in rate of POI and a 5.9 times greater chance for discharge from the hospital compared with open reduction and internal fixation. Females had a strong trend for increased POI when compared with colts and stallion but not geldings.
Conclusions: Overall rate of POI was 28%. Fracture classification, method of repair, gender, and surgical duration were significant risk factors.