SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Summary

Medical records of 38 horses <1 year of age and diagnosed as having a fracture of the femoral diaphysis, metaphysis or distal physis were evaluated. Twenty-six foals had fractures of the femoral diaphysis or metaphysis with the most common fracture configuration being comminuted. Twelve foals had distal physeal fractures with the most common fracture configuration being a Salter-Harris type II. Twenty-one foals with fractures of the capital femoral physis, neck or greater trochanter during the same time period were excluded from this study. Surgical repair was attempted in 16 diaphyseal and 2 distal physeal fractures. Most of the diaphyseal fractures were repaired by placing plates on the lateral and cranial surfaces of the bone. Dynamic condylar screw plates or angle blade plates were used for increased bone purchase in 4 foals with short distal fragments. Five foals with distal physeal fractures were treated; 2 were surgically treated by placing an angle blade plate on the lateral cortex, and 3 foals with minimally displaced distal physeal fractures were managed with stall confinement. Eight of the 16 surgically repaired diaphyseal fractures healed. Fracture location and configuration was not a determinant of outcome, but the mean age of foals with successfully repaired diaphyseal fractures was 2 months compared with 4 months for the unsuccessful cases, indicating that the age and size of the foal was important. Long-term follow up revealed that 6 of the 8 successfully repaired diaphyseal fractures had no residual effects of the fracture observed during performance of the horse for its intended use. Only 1 of the 2 surgically repaired distal physeal fractures healed, but this horse was eventually killed because of unthriftiness related to a malabsorption syndrome. Some form of complication developed in 13 of the 18 surgically repaired fractures. Infection was the primary cause of failure. The greatest determinant associated with infection was the inability to control post-surgical seroma formation.