OBJECTIVES: To report the complications encountered following tarsal arthrodesis surgery with bone plate fixation and describe the previously unreported complication of plantar necrosis.
METHODS: Medical records of 40 dogs that had been treated by tarsal arthrodesis with bone plate fixation were reviewed to determine the major and minor complications and the associated risk factors.
RESULTS: The major complication rate was 32.5 per cent and the minor complication rate was 42.5 per cent. Pantarsal arthrodeses had a higher major complication rate than partial tarsal arthrodeses. Plantar necrosis was the most common major complication and occurred in 15 per cent of cases. Plantar necrosis occurred more frequently when a bone plate was applied to the medial aspect of the hock, and only occurred in cases where tarsometatarsal joint arthrodesis was performed.
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Plantar necrosis is a catastrophic complication that may be associated with injury to the dorsal pedal artery or perforating metatarsal artery. Application of a bone plate to the medial aspect of the hock should be performed with care during tarsal arthrodesis, particularly where the tarsometatarsal joint is debrided of cartilage. Strict attention to surgical technique and proper postoperative coaptation is critical to reduce the potential for complications with tarsal arthrodesis.