FRACTURES IN MACROPODS
Jim Pollock B.V.Sc
Small Animal Practitioner and Wildlife Veterinarian
This paper will cover a quick overview of fractures in macropods with particular emphasis placed on preventable fractures associated with poor husbandry.
Motor vehicle accidents cause the vast majority of fractures seen by wildlife carers and veterinarians. In adult macropods , being hit by a motor vehicle often results in instant death or death due to injuries in the days or hours after.
Because macropods have very long hind legs these are particularly prone to fracture In the event there are no life threatening injuries most limb fractures can be treated by most veterinarians with orthopaedic experience.
We do however, have real problems with aftercare when dealing with adult macropods. They do not cope with being handled and mostly they do not cope with confinement in small pens during recovery. They are easily spooked and will often injure themselves trying to escape.
Very few carers have suitable pens and my experience has been that putting time and effort into treatment of free adult macropods with limb fractures is often very unrewarding in outcomes and now have a policy of refusing to do these procedures except in hand reared macropods that are used to handling and enclosures.
Juveniles – I am referring to in-pouch juveniles that are injured when their mother is hit by vehicles or orphan reared out of pouch juveniles that are still bottle fed and have an accident in their pens resulting in a fracture. The outcomes from treating this group are generally very successful as most of the in-pouch joeys can be confined to the pouch allowing the bones to knit while not weight bearing on their limbs. Larger hand reared joeys will tolerate casts and pins during recovery simply because they are used to being handled and fed by their carers. I also feel I can justify the expense of time and materials saving an animal that a carer has put many hours into rearing.