Tarsometatarsal Arthrodesis Using Tarsometatarsal Intramedullary Pin Stabilization


  • Eric P. Chow DVM,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Surgery, Animal Specialty and Emergency Center, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Raviv J. Balfour DVM, Diplomate ACVS

Corresponding Author

Eric P. Chow, DVM, Department of Surgery, Animal Specialty and Emergency Center, 1535 South Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA

E-mail: echow@asecvets.com



To report the use of tarsometatarsal intramedullary pin stabilization for arthrodesis of the tarsometatarsal joint.

Study design

Case series.


Dogs (n = 12) and cats (n = 2) with tarsometatarsal instability.


Medical records (January 2004–February 2011) were reviewed for dogs and cats with tarsometatarsal instability repaired with intramedullary pin stabilization. After a dorsal approach to the tarsometatarsal joint, the articular surface was removed, and intramedullary pins were inserted through the metatarsal bones into the distal tarsal bones. Stabilization was supplemented with external coaptation until healing occurred. The intramedullary pins were removed after radiographic evidence of arthrodesis.


Radiographic evidence of bony fusion across the tarsometatarsal joint occurred in all animals. One major complication occurred, with skin necrosis at a single pin site requiring surgical debridement at the pin site. Follow-up (mean, 107 weeks) was available for 13 cases; 12 were reported to be completely sound, and 1 dog was ambulating normally at a walk but favored the leg when running.


Tarsometatarsal intramedullary pin stabilization can be used for the treatment of tarsometatarsal instability with a low risk of major complications.