Management of proximal metaphyseal curvilinear tibial fractures in 25 skeletally immature dogs (2009 to 2020)

J Winter, R L Meeson, P Egan, S Langley-Hobbs, A Belch
J Small Anim Pract. 2022 Feb 9. doi: 10.1111/jsap.13487.

Objectives: To describe the occurrence, management and outcome of proximal metaphyseal curvilinear tibial fractures in skeletally immature dogs.

Materials and methods: A multi-centre retrospective review was conducted, searching for skeletally immature dogs presenting with proximal metaphyseal curvilinear tibial fractures between January 2009 and September 2020. Signalment, fracture description and case management data were retrieved. Outcome was assessed by retrospectively evaluating follow-up radiographs, hospital records and an owner questionnaire.

Results: Twenty-five dogs met the inclusion criteria. All but one fracture was a result of minimal trauma. Twenty fractures were managed with internal fixation, two with external fixation and three conservatively. All 25 fractures healed. Eight major complications occurred in seven of 25 (28%) dogs. Twelve minor complications occurred in 10 of 25 (40%) dogs. Owner questionnaire data were available for 12 of 25 dogs; 11 of 12 were reported as having full function and one of 12 as having acceptable function at the time of questioning (median 34.5 months following presentation). At final follow-up, either by clinical examination or owner questionnaire, full function was achieved in 22 of 25 patients and acceptable function in three of 25.

Clinical significance: This study reported a series of proximal metaphyseal tibial fractures in skeletally immature dogs. The most common fixation method was internal fixation, which frequently resulted in full limb function at final follow-up. Owners reported outcome as fully functional in all dogs that underwent surgery at first presentation and had owner follow-up available, though positive outcomes may have been affected by participation bias.