Internal fixation of cervical fractures in three horses

Rossignol F, Brandenberger O, Mespoulhes-Rivière C. Vet Surg. 2015 Dec 7.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the surgical treatment outcome of cervical fractures in 3 horses.

STUDY DESIGN: Case report.

ANIMALS: Three client-owned horses with cervical vertebral fractures.

METHODS: Three horses were refered for neck stiffness, pain, and ataxia after a cervical trauma because of a fall. Radiographic examination showed an oblique displaced fracture of the caudal aspect of the body of the second cervical vertebra (C2) in horse 1, an oblique displaced fracture of the caudal aspect of C4 involving the disc between C4 and C5 in horse 2, and a displaced transverse fracture of the body of the axis (C2) extending to the lateral arches and involving the vertebral canal in horse 3. In horse 1, the fracture was reduced and stabilized using a 14-hole narrow DCP plate, applied ventrally, and fixed with cancellous screws. A cervical fusion was performed. In horses 2 and 3, fracture fixation was performed using a 5-hole narrow LCP and 5 mm locking screws.

RESULTS: All horses showed improvement and returned to full activity. The fracture healed in all horses.

CONCLUSION: Internal fixation of cervical fracture in these horses was associated with minimal complications, and was associated with healing and a highly functional outcome in all horses. The LCP was preferred and would be recommended for ventral stabilization of selected cases of vertebral fractures.