Internal fixation of canine coccygeal vertebral fractures: four cases (2018-2022)

I A Kalmukov, N Schneider, D Miraldo, M A Solano
J Small Anim Pract. 2023 Jun 27. doi: 10.1111/jsap.13644.

Objectives: To describe the surgical technique and evaluate the outcome and complications after coccygeal vertebral fracture repair in dogs using internal fixation.

Materials and methods: Medical records and radiography of client-owned dogs were reviewed retrospectively. A lateral approach to the vertebral body was used, and a 1.5 or 1.0 mm plate was applied laterally. Initial follow-up included clinical and radiographic assessment at 6 to 8 weeks postoperatively. Short-term follow-up was assessed by the completion of an adapted functional questionnaire by owners.

Results: Four dogs presented with mid-vertebral body fractures. The neurological function of the tail was preserved, and fracture repair was performed in all cases. One dog developed a surgical site infection, which was successfully treated with antimicrobial therapy. One dog experienced prolonged postoperative pain and delayed union. Fracture healing occurred in all patients at the final follow-up. Neither discomfort nor reduced function or mobility of the tails was noticed during the postoperative patient assessment. The questionnaire was completed by all owners with a mean follow-up time of 40 weeks. Excellent outcomes were established from subsequent clinical reviews and owner questionnaires, related to their dog's activity and comfort levels.

Clinical significance: Excellent outcomes can be achieved following the repair of coccygeal vertebral fractures in dogs using internal fixation, including a return to normal function of the tail.