Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Internal fixation of a comminuted metacarpal fracture in a bull
  1. Amy Gillespie1,
  2. Niall Connolly2,
  3. Stefania Scarabelli3,
  4. Giulia Lipreri4 and
  5. Ellen Singer4
  1. 1 Department of Infection Biology, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2 Livestock Health and Welfare, Institute of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  3. 3 Institute of Veterinary Science, Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  4. 4 Department of Musculoskeletal Biology, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to Amy Gillespie; amyg{at}


An 11-month-old pedigree Simmental bull weighing 450 kg was presented with a closed, displaced, oblique, comminuted fracture of the left metacarpal III/IV bone. The two main bone fragments were reduced using two 5.5 mm cortical screws placed in lag fashion across the oblique portion of the fracture. A 4.5 mm broad dynamic compression plate was then used to stabilise the fracture site. General anaesthesia was maintained with isoflurane in 100 per cent oxygen and multimodal analgesia during surgery was provided with a ketamine constant rate infusion and ulnar nerve block. The limb was cast for a total of 12 weeks following surgery, with one cast change carried out at four weeks postoperatively. The bull was used successfully for natural service from nine months postoperatively. The high cost of treatment means that internal fracture fixation is only commercially viable in valuable pedigree animals. Availability of facilities for anaesthetising large animals is another limiting factor.

  • bovine
  • surgery
  • analgesia
  • orthopaedics
  • internal fixation
  • metacarpal fracture

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Contributors All authors have contributed substantially to the care of the animal described in this case, writing of the report, and reviewing and editing of the final report. All authors have approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.