Plate Fixation of The Avian Coracoid: A Case Series
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2006
David Sanchez-Migallon Guzman, Lic. en Vet; Loretta J. Bubenik, DVM, MS, DACVS; Jacqueline R. Davidson, DVM, MS, DACVS; Susanne Lauer, DVM, DACVS; Debbie Myers, DVM; Sunil Vasanjee, BVSc; Sammy Ramirez, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVR; Mark A. Mitchell, DVM, MS, PhD
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA


The coracoid, along with the scapula and clavicle, comprise the avian thoracic girdle.1 Coracoid fractures and luxations generally occur as a result of a gunshot injury or a collision with a solid object.1,4 Birds with coracoid injuries usually cannot fly.1,6 Diagnosing a coracoid injury can be difficult on physical examination, as birds may only have a slight wing droop or no wing droop. Radiographs are required to confirm a coracoid injury. Historically, cage rest and/or the placement of intramedullary (IM) pins have been recommended as methods for treating coracoid injuries. Displaced fractures and luxations have a poor prognosis with cage rest, and surgery is indicated. The surgical approach to the coracoid and IM pin placement has been described.8,9 Internal fixation using plates can provide rigid stability, counteract all four forces acting on bone, and maintain anatomic alignment.10 Special considerations for bone plate fixation in avian bones have been described.2,5,7 The following represents a case series in which three different coracoid injuries were repaired using internal plating. The first case, a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), presented with a caudoventral luxation of the left coracoid. The second case, another bald eagle, presented with a mid-diaphyseal fracture of the left coracoid.3 The third case, a scarlet macaw (Ara macao), presented with an oblique fracture of the right coracoid. In all three cases, the surgeries were uneventful, and the birds made complete recoveries. Both bald eagles were released back to the wild after rehabilitation.

Literature Cited

1.  Bennett, R.A. 1997. Orthopedic surgery. In: Altman R.B., Dorrestein G.M., and Quesenberry K., eds. Avian Medicine and Surgery. W.B. Saunders; Philadelphia, PA: 493–526.

2.  Bennett, R.A., and A. Kuzma. 1992. Fracture management in birds. J Zoo Wildl Med. 23: 5–38.

3.  Davidson, J.R., M. Mitchell, and S. Ramirez. 2005. Plate fixation of a coracoid fracture in a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). J Avian Med Surg. 19: 303–308.

4.  Holz, P.H. 2003. Coracoid fractures in wild birds: repair and outcomes. Aust Vet J. 81: 469–471.

5.  Howard, D.J. 1990. The use of bone plates in the repair of avian fractures. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 26: 613–622.

6.  Howard, D.J., and P. Redig. 1994. Orthopedics of the wing. Semin Avian Exotic Pet Med. 3: 51–62.

7.  Kuzma, A.B., and B. Hunter. 1991. A new technique for avian fracture repair using intramedullary polymethylmethacrylate and bone plate fixation. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 27: 239–248.

8.  Martin, H., and B.W. Ritchie. 1994. Orthopedic surgical techniques. In: B.W. Ritchie, G.J. Harrison, and L.R. Harrison, eds. Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications. Wingers Publishing; Lake Worth, FL: 1137–1169.

9.  Orosz, S.E., P. Ensley, and C. Haynes. 1992. Surgical approaches to the thoracic girdle and limb. In: Avian Surgical Anatomy: Thoracic and Pelvic Limb. W.B. Saunders; Philadelphia, PA: 41–57.

10.  Piermattei, D.L., and G.L. Flo. 1997. Brinker, Piermattei, and Flo´s Handbook of Small Animal Orthopedics and Fracture Repair. W.B. Saunders; Philadelphia, PA.


Speaker Information
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David Sanchez-Migallon Guzman, Lic. en Vet
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
School of Veterinary Medicine
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA, USA

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