FRACTURES are frequently encountered in small animal practice and comprise 13 per cent of orthopaedic cases in dogs and nearly 40 per cent in cats (Ness and others 1996); diaphyseal fractures currently account for approximately 60 per cent of the author's trauma caseload. Treated appropriately, the prognosis for the healing of these fractures and a return to favourable limb function is good. However, fracture surgery is unforgiving of technical errors and inadequate planning, and failures are occasionally seen that can result in expensive and traumatic revision surgery or, at worst, limb amputation or euthanasia. It is therefore essential when managing fracture patients that the surgeon has a good understanding of the principles of treatment, as well as the knowledge and technical skills to apply a full range of surgical techniques. This article describes the planning required and the techniques available for the treatment of diaphyseal fractures.
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