AOVET helps injured roo bounce back

19. April 2019

AO Principles give injured red kangaroo a new lease on life

AOVET faculty member Alessandro Piras thought he had seen everything in his 30-year career as a specialist in surgery. Then came Luca, an 11-month-old male red kangaroo with a highly comminuted femoral shaft fracture. Even with no specific references for red kangaroo anatomy, Alessandro was undeterred. He had the AO principles to guide him. 

“This young kangaroo had just been acquired by a safari adventure park in Italy and the park’s veterinarian sent it to the hospital where I was working in 2015. The poor thing suffered from a comminuted fracture of the femoral shaft extending from the subtrochanteric region to the distal femur,” he explained.  

Alessandro knew he had to act quickly to help the young patient. “This patient presented the same challenge as horses that have had internal fixation of a limb fracture: They have to stand and walk on the leg the moment they wake up from the anaesthesia. But there was just one difference to make it more challenging: The kangaroo stands only on the hind limbs like a human being,” said Alessandro. “You cannot give a crutch to a kangaroo, so we needed a solution for confining the patient postoperatively. Matteo, who is an expert equine surgeon, suggested a wake-up box with padded mats and hay so that’s what we did. All of a sudden, after the surgery, the kangaroo started moving his head and suddenly he was up on two legs, looking around and scratching his belly.”

Read the full story​ of how Alessandro successfully treated the marsupial using only AO Principles. ​​