Use of Distraction Osteogenesis in Two Wild Raptor Species
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012

Michelle M. Willette1, DVM; Gregory M. Anderson2, DVM, DACVS; Irene Bueno Padilla1, DVM

1The Raptor Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA; 2Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA


Distraction osteogenesis was used in two wild raptor patients at The Raptor Center. The first case was a hatch year female peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) that was admitted with an open oblique distal tibiotarsus fracture of the right leg. The fracture was surgically managed using the external skeletal fixator intramedullary pin tie-in technique (ESF-IM pin tie-in),3 and it healed as expected. The bone healed with significant limb shortening and consequently developed pododermatitis. The second case was an adult female great-horned owl (Bubo virginianus) that was admitted with a partially healed over-riding tibiotarsus fracture. The fracture was too old to fix surgically using the technique mentioned above and the limb was significantly shortened. In order to solve the limb shortening problem, both patients were fitted with a ring fixator device and distraction osteogenesis was performed over a period of time until the length of the limb was appropriate.1,2 This process led to complete recovery and release back to the wild in both cases.

Literature Cited

1.  Elkins, A.D., M. Morandi, and M. Zembo. 1993. Distraction osteogenesis in the dog using the Ilizarov external ring fixator. J. Am. Anim. Hosp. Assoc. 29:419–426.

2.  Johnston, M.S. 2008. Bone transport osteogenesis for reconstruction of a bone defect in the tibiotarsus of a yellow-naped Amazon parrot (Amazona ochrocephala auropalliata). J. Avian Med. Surg. 22:47–56.

3.  Redig, P., and L. Cruz. 2008. The avian skeleton and fracture management. In: Samour, J. (ed.). Avian Medicine, 2nd ed., Mosby Elsevier, Philadephia, Pennsylvania. 215–248.


Speaker Information
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Michelle M. Willette, DVM
The Raptor Center
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Minnesota
Saint Paul, MN, USA

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