Objective: To present a novel technique for the treatment of severe congenital flexural forelimb deformities in calves. Methods: Thirteen calves of different breeds and sex with severe congenital flexural forelimb deformities were enrolled in the study. A semicircular external skeletal fixation system composed of 6-hole, 45° carbon-fiber arches, 6 mm threaded rods, half-pin fixation bolts, 6 mm hexagonal nuts, and negative profile end-threaded half-pins were used for pancarpal arthrodesis. Complications, time to first use of the limb, fixator removal time, preoperative and postoperative sagittal plane angles of the fused joints, and functional outcomes were evaluated clinically and radiographically. Final assessments were determined according to functional and cosmetic outcomes. Results: All of the surgically treated carpal joints obtained fusion. Seven of the calves started to use the limb immediately after recovering from anesthesia. In the other six calves, the time ranged from one to two days. Time to fixator removal ranged from 25 to 36 days (mean 30 days). Final outcome was excellent in 11 cases, and good in two cases. Clinical significance: The technique was found to be a useful method for the treatment of severe congenital flexural forelimb deformities in calves. The cost of the operation is negligible compared to the economic value of beef cattle.
Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology