What is dog or cat External Fixation surgery?

External fixation is completed using a device called an external fixator. This specialized device consists of multiple pins and external bars or rings, which hold a fractured bone in place during the healing process. An external fixator is used primarily for complex fractures or fractures paired with an external wound. A licensed veterinarian that is well trained in skeletal fixation in dogs will conduct the external fixation procedure.

External Fixation (KE) surgery on dogs and cats

External fixation is a surgical procedure used to stabilize and set bones back into the correct position. In order to achieve this, the use of an external skeletal fixator is required. An external fixator is a device that consists of pins, which pass through the dog’s skin, underlying tissues, and bone. The pins pass from one side of the limb to the other and are stabilized by an external bridging bar that can be found on either side of the limb. There are two known types of external fixators used in canine external fixation: standard and circular fixators. A standard fixator is characterized by a number of pins that penetrate the bone and external bars that with then connect the pins together. A circular fixator is characterized by very thin pins that penetrate the bone in addition to the skin on both side of the affected limb. These fine pins are then attached to a metal circular plate or halo with each of the rings attaching to one another with long bolts. A circular fixator is reserved for complex fractures or angular limb deformities with the goal being correction.

Efficacy of External Fixation surgery (KE) on dogs and cats

External Fixation is an effective procedure to correct complex fracture and angular limb deformities in dogs. Canines that are of a younger age have a good prognosis for a full recovery.

What to expect during your dog or cats recovery after external fixation (KE) surgery

External fixation in dogs has a long period of healing, usually lasting three to four months. The dog’s fixator will be removed in a matter of stages in order to encourage the bone to strengthen and account for the dog’s weight. Pet owners should expect a series of follow-up vet appointments that will include an x-ray to view the internal healing that is being accomplished. The overall duration of healing time for a dog undergoing external fixation will depend on the severity of the injury and the individual’s ability to heal.

dog or cat external fixation surgery considerations

External fixation in dogs can have a few potential complications that dog owners should be informed of. Potential complications associated with the procedure include acute, profound hemorrhage from a pin site caused by the pin rubbing against and artery. Other complications of external fixation include bent pins, pin migration, loosening pins, and pin infections.

How to prevent (KE) external fixation surgery on your dog or cat

To avoid an external fixation procedure, pet owners must avoid traumatic situations that could result in a complex fracture. Falls, hit-by-car accidents, attacks, and abuse are common underlying causes for a canine to develop a complex fracture. Other indications for an external fixation include congenital limb deformities that cannot be prevented, as these types of conditions are in the canine’s DNA and can only be managed, not avoided.