Objectives: To evaluate frame constructs, postoperative fracture reduction, postoperative care, complications, treatment duration and outcome of circular external fixation for management of 49 antebrachial and crural fractures in dogs.
Methods: Medical records of dogs that underwent surgery with circular external fixation were examined for fracture location, frame configuration, postoperative fracture reduction, treatment duration, complications and outcome.
Results: Forty-nine fractures in 48 dogs were stabilised using circular external fixation. Frame removal occurred on average 61 days after surgery (median±sd, 52±30 days). Minor complications were observed in 35 cases (71 per cent) and major complications in seven (14 per cent). Radiographic outcome at frame removal was judged as excellent in 18 cases (37 per cent), as good in 26 (53 per cent), as fair in four (8 per cent) and poor in one (2 per cent). After frame removal, one fracture was stabilised with a plate, and eight patients were lost to follow-up. Functional and cosmetic outcome at follow-up was judged as excellent in 32 cases (80 per cent), good in seven (18 per cent) and fair in one (2 per cent).
Clinical Significance: Circular external fixation can effectively treat antebrachial and crural fractures in dogs, even geometrically complex fractures. Minor complications are frequent but easily managed in most instances. Healing time is comparable to that of other external fixation methods.