Management of a Pectoral Spine Fracture in a Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2007
Ginger L. Takle, DVM; Wm. Kirk Suedmeyer, DVM, DACZM
Kansas City Zoo, Kansas City, MO, USA


A subadult, wild-caught, captive blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) was presented with abnormal motion to the right pectoral spine. Radiographs performed under manual restraint confirmed loss of the tip of the spine and an open mid-diaphyseal short oblique fracture of the primary spine of the right pectoral fin. The fish was anesthetized with tricaine methanesulfonate (100 mg/L water) buffered to a neutral pH and maintained under the same anesthetic concentration using a recirculating water pump. Surgical reduction of the fracture was attempted but was unsuccessful and an amputation of the distal segment was performed. The fish was medicated daily in a 1,135 L tank with suspended trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole at a dose of 20.3 mg/L of water for 12 h/day. Two months later a second surgery was performed due to dehiscence of the initial surgical site. Additional bone was removed, and an alternative method of closure was used. Upon recovery the fish was placed directly into the exhibit tank to decrease further injury to the surgical site. The fish has slightly altered hydropulsion to compensate for the loss of the primary pectoral spine and is currently on display at the Kansas City Zoo. The anatomy, anesthesia and post-surgical care presented unique diagnostic and therapeutic challenges.


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Ginger L. Takle, DVM
Kansas City Zoo
Kansas City, MO, USA

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