Locking Compression Plate Osteosynthesis of Sacral Fractures in Three Heifers

Tanja C. Schmid Dr med vet, Diplomate ECVS, Martin R. Kummer Dr med vet, Diplomate ECVS, Regine U. Hagen Dr med vet, Diplomate ECVDI, Jörg A. Auer Prof. Dr med vet, Diplomate ACVS/ECVS, Karl A. Nuss Prof. Dr med vet, Diplomate ECVS
April 2011
Veterinary Surgery

Objective: To describe a technique used for reduction and internal fixation of sacral fractures in cattle.

Study Design: Case series.

Animals: Three heifers aged 19–32 months with deformation of the tail head and tail paralysis attributable to a closed fracture of S5 or S4 and S5.

Methods: Fractures were reduced and repaired under general anesthesia. A narrow, 6–10-hole, locking compression plate (LCP) was placed on the spinous processes of S5 and the first coccygeal (Co1) using 5.0 mm locking head screws. Follow-up inquiries were made by telephone (3/3), and cows were examined clinically and radiographically 2 (1 cow) to 9 (1cow) months postoperatively.

Results: No complications were encountered. The range of movement of the tail improved so that soiling of the tail during defecation was no longer a problem. In all heifers, the normal top line was restored and there was no narrowing of the pelvic canal. Unassisted calving occurred in all heifers, and follow-up radiographs for 2 cows showed complete fracture healing.

Conclusion: LCP-osteosynthesis of the spinous processes provided sufficient stability for internal fixation of sacral fractures. Marked improvement in tail function occurred postoperatively without decompression by laminectomy.