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Case Reports in Veterinary Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 7373242, 7 pages
Case Report

Intertarsal Joint Stabilization in a Bateleur Eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus) Using a Novel Application of a Braided Suture and Titanium Button System

1Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center and Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616, USA
2Environmental Medicine Consortium, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 1060 William Moore Dr., Raleigh, NC 27607, USA
3Department of Animal Health, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, 2901 Osceola Parkway, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, USA
4Veterinary Division, North Carolina Zoo, 4401 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro, NC 27205, USA
5Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas, 6405 Tryon Rd., Suite 100, Cary, NC 27518, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Jenessa Gjeltema; ude.sivadcu@ametlejgj

Received 25 August 2017; Accepted 14 November 2017; Published 10 December 2017

Academic Editor: Isabel Pires

Copyright © 2017 Jenessa Gjeltema et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A 32-year-old adult captive male bateleur eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus) with a history of laxity, degenerative joint disease, and varus deviation of the distal left hindlimb for several years was presented for evaluation of left hindlimb lameness and was diagnosed with chronic subluxation of the left intertarsal joint. After failing to improve with conservative management and pain medication, surgical stabilization of the joint was performed using a novel application of a braided suture and titanium button system. Unsatisfactory clinical improvement and postsurgical reevaluation indicated that the initial surgical stabilization was unsuccessful. The surgery was repeated, and the animal showed postsurgical improvement in intertarsal joint stability, weight-bearing, and lameness for a period of several years with use and adjustment of chronic pain medications. The novel surgical technique described in this case report represents an additional treatment option for management of avian intertarsal joint subluxations. Presurgical planning should consider the unique anatomic features and variability of the avian tarsometatarsus to avoid surgical complications.