Modified Thomas splint-cast combination for the management of limb fractures in small equids

Ladefoged S, Grulke S, Busoni V, Serteyn D, Salciccia A, Verwilghen D. Vet Surg. 2017 Apr; 46 (3): 381-388.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the management and outcome of limb fractures in small domestic equids treated with a modified Thomas splint-cast combination (MTSCC).

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS: Client owned horses and donkeys.

METHODS: Medical records, including radiographs, were reviewed for details of animals diagnosed with a limb fracture and treated by external coaptation using a MTSCC (2001-2012). Follow-up >6 months after discharge was obtained via telephone consultation with owners or veterinarians.

RESULTS: Nine horses and 4 donkeys were identified with fractures of the tibial diaphysis (n = 4), ulna (n = 3), distal metatarsus (n = 2), proximal metacarpus (n = 1), radial diaphysis (n = 1), calcaneus (n = 1), and distal femoral physis (n = 1). Follow-up was available for 12 equids, of which 8 (67%) recovered from the fracture and became pasture sound. Six equids developed obvious external deformation of the affected limb.

CONCLUSION: Selected small equids with long bone fractures, and without athletic expectations, can be managed with external coaptation using an MTSCC. The owner should be informed that the treatment is considered a salvage procedure.