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Vet Surg. 1996 Jul-Aug;25(4):320-6.

Traumatic flexor tendon injuries in 27 cattle.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, USA.


Information for all cattle with a diagnosis of tendon injury entered into the Veterinary Medical Data Base (VMDB) was retrieved and selected medical records reviewed. The proportional morbidity rate for tendon disruption was 0.89 cattle/1,000 cattle admissions and 95 of 99 cattle survived. Female and dairy cattle had a greater risk of tendon disruption than male or beef cattle, respectively. Also, cattle 6 months to 7 years old had a greater risk than cattle younger than 6 months old. Complete medical records were examined for 27 cattle. Affected cattle were 2.5 +/- 1.8 years old and weighed 593.6 +/- 315.6 kg. Injuries were most commonly caused by accidents involving farm machinery (72%). Unilateral superficial digital flexor tendon injury occurred in 8 cattle (30%); multiple tendon injury occurred in the other 19 cattle (70%). A single limb was involved in 25 cattle, a rear limb was involved in 24 cattle, and an open wound was associated with the injury in 26 cattle. Wounds were identified most commonly at the mid (13 cattle) and proximal metatarsus (4 cattle). Treatment of tendon disruption included tenorrhaphy and casting (9 cattle), external coaptation, alone, (14 cattle), stall confinement, alone, (1 cow), and euthanasia or salvage (3 cattle). External coaptation was maintained for 74.4 +/- 34.3 days, and total confinement period was 88.3 +/- 59.5 days. Short-term complications included severe tendon laxity (one cow) and fatal septic peritonitis (one bull). Twenty-two of 24 cattle treated for tendon disruption survived. Follow-up information was available for 16 cattle; 14 cattle (87%) returned to productivity and 11 of 15 cattle with long-term follow-up (73%) were considered productive. Long-term complications included persistent lameness (56%) and persistent hyperextension of the digits (19%).

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