Use of an Elastic Transarticular External Construct for Surgical Treatment of an Intertarsal Joint Luxation on a Harris’s Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)
2018 Joint EAZWV/AAZV/Leibniz-IZW Conference
Tatiana Loucachevsky1,2, DVM; Emmanuel Risi1,2, DVM; Romain Potier1,2, DVM, DECZM; Anaïs Sailler1,2, DVM; Alexandre Caron2, DVM, DECVS
1FAUNEVET, Nantes, France; 2CHV ATLANTIA, Nantes, France


A 4-year-old, captive male Harris’s hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) was presented with lameness of the right pelvic limb after being trapped into a net. Clinical examination revealed thickening and instability of the right intertarsal joint. Radiographic examination confirmed the suspicion of complete intertarsal joint luxation.

Following four days of unsuccessful conservative management, surgical treatment was performed using an elastic transarticular external fixation. Two pins were placed on either side of the joint, parallel and isometric (Type IIa external skeletal fixator). They were connected with tight elastic bands with enough tension to allow stability of the joint despite preservation of a good range of motion. Rubber plugs of blood sampling tube were placed over the pins on both sides of each elastic bands. The bird recovered well from the anesthesia and was discharged on tramadola, meloxicamb and amoxicillin/clavulanatec and activity restriction. The bird quickly put back significant weight on its limb. Regular controls were made with bandage changes and physiotherapy. External fixator was removed 6 weeks after surgery. The bird fully recovered.

Intertarsal joint luxations in birds are usually trauma induced.1 Surgical management is currently recommended, with open ligament repair or replacement/augmentation, manual reduction and external coaptation to allow fibrosis of the periarticular tissues, arthrodesis and amputation for small avian species.1-6,9

The technique reported here is commonly used for elbow luxation in dogs and cats.7,8 It is rapid, minimally invasive, easy to perform and inexpensive. It is an additional and promising treatment option for management of avian intertarsal joint luxations, which allows weightbearing and joint motion directly after surgery.


a. 10 mg/kg PO, BID, 3 days, Topalgic®, Sanofi, Gentilly, France
b. 0.5 mg/kg PO, SID, 7 days, Metacam®, Boehringer Ingelheim, Ingelheim/Rhein, Germany
c. 125 mg/kg PO, BID, 1 month, Kesium®, Ceva, Libourne, France


The authors would like to thank the falconers of the GIPMPA society for their motivation and for their assistance in the care of this bird.

Literature Cited

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8.  Vedrine B. Use of an elastic transarticular external fixator construct for immobilization of the elbow joint. Can Vet J. 2017;58:353–359.

9.  Zsivanovits P. Repair techniques in case of intertarsal joint luxation. In: Samour J, Montesinos A, eds. 1st European College of Zoological Medicine Scientific Meeting/11th European Association of Avian Veterinarians Conference. Madrid (Spain): European Association of Avian Veterinarians. 2011:64.


Speaker Information
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Tatiana Loucachevsky, DVM
Nantes, France

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