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Contracted flexor tendon and its surgical management with tenotomy and bamboo splints in three calves.


Congenital defects are defined as abnormalities in structure or function present at birth (Johnson et al., 1985). Contracted flexor tendon is a common abnormality of musculoskeletal system. Congenital flexural deformities usually involve the carpal or fetlock joints and range in severity from mild flexion of one joint to severe flexion of several joints and inability to walk, stand and suckle (Fubini and Ducharme, 2004). In some affected young one, in addition to the superficial and deep digital flexor musculotendon units and their accessory ligaments, the suspensory ligament, joint capsules and collateral ligaments prevent normal extension of the joints (Stephen and Elizabeth, 2000). Present report communicates successful surgical treatment of knuckling in three calves.


Three Kankrej calves with knuckling (Fig.1) were presented for treatment. In all the cases there was history of flexed fetlock in fore limb since birth. Among these three cases, two had bilateral knuckling and one had unilateral knuckling. On general examination, all the animals were found healthy. Clinical examination revealed flexed fetlock with inability to place foot flat on the ground.


All the animals were restrained in lateral recumbancy and sedated with Xylazine hydrochloride as per standard dose. The site was prepared aseptically at the medial aspect of the limb and along anterior border of the tendon. Local infiltration with 2% Lignocaine hydrochloride solution at the site was carried out. The skin incision was made on the medial aspect of the limb and parallel to the tendon. The subcutaneous tissues were separated by blunt dissection. Both the tendons (Superficial and Deep digital flexor tendon) were identified and separated by blunt dissection. The tendon was transected while forcibly extending the fetlock joint (Fig. 2).


Cephlexin powder was sprinkled inside and wound was closed in routine manner. After sufficient padding two medial bamboo splints were applied (Fig. 3). Post-operatively, Inj.

Gentamicin (a), Inj. Melonex (b) and Inj. Anistamin (b) were given intramuscularly in standard dose rate for five days.




In moderate contacted flexor tendons cases, a splint might be applied to force the animal to bear weight on its toes (Shiju et al., 2010). Severe cases require tenotomy of one or both flexor tendons with application of splints (Fubini and Ducharme, 2004). In the present study, three animals were subjected to tenotomy followed by application of bamboo splints leads to excellent results. Many of congenital anomaly could be successfully treated through the surgical intervention that could lead to better aesthesis, increasing the marketability and improving of the cosmetic appearance of the animals.


Authors are thankful to Dean and Principal, College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Sardarkrushinagar, SDAU for providing facilities.


Fubini, S. and Ducharme, N. (2004). Farm Animal Surgery., W.B. Saunders Company, U.K.

Johnson, J.L.; Leipold, T.T. and Hudson, T.B. (1985). Prominant congenital defect in Nebraska beef cattle. Breed Rep. 4: 1-8.

Shiju, S.; Willium, J.; Rao, G.; Sivashenkar, R. and Kumar, R. (2010). Congenital malformations in ruminants and its surgical management. Vet. World. 3: 118-19.

Stephen, B.A. and Elizabeth, M.S. (2000). Management of congenital and acquired flexural limb deformities. Proc. Annual Conv. AAEP 46: 117-25.

J.B. Patel (1), H.A. Avasthi (2), P.B. Patel (3), K.N. Joshi (2), M.S. Gami (2)

Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology Dr. V.M. Jhala Clinical Complex College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University Deesa--385535 (Gujarat)

(1) Assistant Professor and Corresponding Author E-mail:

(2) Junior Research Fellow

(3) Associate Professor

(a)--Brand of Cadila Pharma Ltd., Ahmedabad

(b)--Brand of Intas Animal Health, Ahmedabad
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Title Annotation:Clinical Article
Author:Patel, J.B.; Avasthi, H.A.; Patel, P.B.; Joshi, K.N.; Gami, M.S.
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 1, 2012
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