Retrospective multicentre evaluation of common calcaneal tendon injuries in 66 cats. Part 2: treatment, complications and outcomes


Objectives: The aims of the second part of this retrospective multicentre study were to describe the surgical techniques used in the treatment of common calcaneal tendon (CCT) injuries, and evaluate the short- and long-term outcomes and complications. Methods: The medical records of five different small animal referral centres and veterinary teaching hospitals between 2010 and 2020 were reviewed. Surgical vs conservative treatment was evaluated. Treatment type, type of postoperative immobilisation, and short- and long-term outcomes and complications were recorded. Minor complications were defined as not requiring surgical intervention. Long-term outcome was evaluated by an owner questionnaire. Results: Sixty-six cats met the inclusion criteria. Mean time to surgery was 9.6 days (range 0–185). Most cats (83.3%) were treated surgically. Regardless of treatment modality, all limbs were immobilised for a mean time of 48.2 days (range 2–98). For 63 cats that had the temporary tarsal joint immobilisation technique recorded, a transarticular external skeletal fixator (ESF; 57.1%) or a calcaneotibial screw (33.3%) were used most commonly. The method of immobilisation had a notable, although non-significant, influence on the occurrence of short-term complications, with most complications being reported for the transarticular ESF group. The total short-term complication rate was 41.3%, the minor complication rate was 33.3% and the major complication rate was 7.9%, with pin tract infections being the most commonly occurring minor complication. Three cats (6%) had a total of four major complications over the long term. Most cats (86%) were free of lameness at the long-term evaluation, with an overall successful clinical long-term outcome of 84.9%, according to the owner questionnaire. Cats with traumatic injuries and injuries treated surgically had higher questionnaire scores than those with atraumatic injuries and those treated conservatively. Conclusions and relevance: Outcome was generally good in cats with CCT injury, irrespective of the type of treatment. Complications included a high proportion of minor complications associated with the technique of tarsal joint immobilisation. ESF frames were more commonly involved in complications than other techniques. Surgically treated cats had a slightly better long-term outcomes.




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Journal of feline medicine and surgery 25, 1 (2023), 1 - 10




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