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Vet Surg. 2008 Jan;37(1):22-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950X.2007.00342.x.

Complications after orthopedic surgery in alpacas and llamas: 24 cases (2000-2006).

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.



To report complications associated with orthopedic surgery in alpacas and llamas.


Retrospective study.


Alpacas (n=18) and llamas (n=6) that orthopedic surgery using internal or external fixation.


Medical records (January 2000-December 2006) and radiographs were reviewed and owners contacted for follow-up information for alpacas and llamas that had orthopedic surgery involving internal or external fixation. Fourteen camelids had internal fixation, 7 had external fixation, and 3 had a combination of internal and external fixation.


Twenty-two animals (92%) were discharged after surgery (mean hospitalization, 15 days). Of 20 animals with >or=1 year follow-up information, 18 were alive (82%). Postoperative complications related to fracture healing, infection, soft tissue structures, or joints occurred in 21 camelids (87%). Thirteen animals returned to their intended use, 4 animals returned to breeding but not their intended use, 4 were euthanatized, and 3 were only able to be used as pets.


Fixation type (internal, external) did not have any significant effect on complications involving fracture healing, infection, soft tissue structures, or chronic lameness. Camelids with open fractures were more likely to have complications associated with fracture healing, repair, and infection than closed fractures.


Complications after orthopedic surgery in alpacas and llamas are more common than previously reported and may result in chronic lameness or prevent return to their intended use.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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