Comparison of Fixation Methods for Treatment of Long Bone Fractures in Llamas and Alpacas

Sabrina H. Brounts DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS, Molly Racette, Peter Muir BVSc, MVetClinStud, PhD, Diplomate ACVS & ECVS
January 2011
Veterinary Surgery

Objective: To determine outcome after repair of long bone fractures in llamas and alpacas.

Study Design: Case series.

Animals: Llamas (n=11) and alpacas (8).

Methods: Medical records (1998–2008) of camelids with long bone fractures were reviewed for history, repair method, and complications. Outcome was also assessed by owner telephone questionnaire.

Results: Mean age at repair was 39 months. There were 8 males and 11 females. Fracture distribution was tibia (n=6), metatarsus (5), metacarpus (4), radius and ulna (2), humerus (1), and femur (1), with 13 closed and 6 open fractures. Fracture repair was by internal fixation (n=11), external fixation with a transfixation pin cast (5), external coaptation (2), and cross-pinning (1). In 1 llama, the limb was amputated to revise a failed external fixation repair. Seventeen animals (89%) were discharged, and 2 were euthanatized. Outcome was available for 13 animals: 9 were used for breeding and 4 as pets. Fewer major complications occurred with internal fixation than with external fixation with a transfixation pin cast (P<.005); however, there were no significant differences in minor complications between groups.

Conclusions: Internal fixation with bone plates was associated with fewer major complications than external fixation with a transfixation pin cast.