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Objective

To report stabilization of closed, comminuted distal metaphyseal transverse fractures of the left tibia and fibula in a tiger using a hybrid circular–linear external skeletal fixator.

Study Design

Clinical report.

Animal

Juvenile tiger (15 months, 90 kg).

Methods

From imaging studies, the tiger had comminuted distal metaphyseal transverse fractures of the left tibia and fibula, with mild caudolateral displacement and moderate compression. Multiple fissures extended from the fractures through the distal metaphyses, extending toward, but not involving the distal tibial and fibular physes. A hybrid circular–linear external skeletal fixator was applied by closed reduction, to stabilize the fractures.

Results

The fractures healed and the fixator was removed 5 weeks after stabilization. Limb length and alignment were similar to the normal contralateral limb at hospital discharge, 8 weeks after surgery. Two weeks later, the tiger had fractures of the right tibia and fibula and was euthanatized. Necropsy confirmed pathologic fractures ascribed to copper deficiency.

Conclusion

Closed application of the hybrid construct provided sufficient stability to allow this 90 kg tiger's juxta-articular fractures to heal with minimal complications and without disrupting growth from the adjacent physes.