Calcaneal fractures in non-racing dogs and cats: complications, outcome, and associated risk factors

Perry KL, Adams RJ, Woods S, Bruce M. Vet Surg. 2016 Oct 12.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of complications and describe the outcome associated with calcaneal fractures in non-racing dogs and in cats.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective multicenter clinical cohort study.

ANIMALS: Medical records of client-owned dogs and cats (2004-2013).

METHODS: Medical records were searched and 50 animals with calcaneal fractures were included for analysis. Complications were recorded and an outcome score applied to each fracture. Associations between putative risk factors and both major complications, and final outcome scores were explored.

RESULTS: Complications occurred in 27/50 fractures (61%) including 23 major and 4 minor complications. At final follow-up, 4 animals (10%) were sound, 27 (64%) had either intermittent or consistent mild weight-bearing lameness, 7 (17%) had moderate weight-bearing lameness, and 1 (2%) had severe weight-bearing lameness. Fractures managed using plates and screws had a lower risk of complications than fractures managed using pin and tension band wire, lag or positional screws or a combination of these techniques (Relative risk 0.16, 95% CI 0.02-1.02, P=.052). Non-sighthounds had reduced odds of a poorer outcome score than sighthounds (Odds ratio 0.11, 95% CI 0.02-0.50, P=.005) and fractures with major complications had 13 times the odds of a poorer outcome score (Odds ratio 13.4, 95% CI 3.6-59.5, P<.001).

CONCLUSION: This study reports a high occurrence of complications associated with calcaneal fracture stabilization in non-racing dogs and in cats, and a poorer outcome score was more likely in animals with complications. A more guarded prognosis should be given to owners of non-racing dogs or cats with calcaneal fractures than previously applied to racing Greyhounds with calcaneal fractures.