External skeletal fixation for the treatment of pelvic fractures in cats

Publication date 1st July 2024
Authors Noel Fitzpatrick, James W. Guthrie, Michael Hamilton



To report the technique and the outcome for the repair of pelvic fractures in cats using external skeletal fixation (ESF).

Study design

Retrospective case series.


Client-owned cats (n = 125).


Medical records of cats with pelvic fractures, treated with an ESF between June 2001 and June 2009, were reviewed. Preoperative, immediate postoperative, and more than 4 weeks’ postoperative radiographs were compared. Clinical examination was performed 4 to 9 weeks following surgery. Longer term follow up (4 to 80 months) was conducted by client questionnaire.


No intraoperative complications occurred. There was no change in the pelvic canal width observed on follow-up radiographs (p = .16). Implant loosening was noted on follow-up radiographs in 16/125 (13%) of cases, and 67/803 (8%) pins were palpably loose at the time of frame removal. The mean time to frame removal was 37 ± 9 days. No long-term complications were reported. Long-term mean mobility score was 95 ± 5 and median lameness was 0 (range: 0–2).


An ESF may be successfully applied for the stabilization of various pelvic fractures in cats.

Clinical significance

The application of an ESF for the management of pelvic fractures in cats provides good outcomes.