When a horse breaks his jaw, fixing it properly is a must—after all, a horse needs his jaw to eat and, thus, survive. Certain kinds of mandible (lower jaw) fractures require surgical repair, usually involving plates or screws, with the potential for postoperative complications. But Iranian researchers have recently described a new technique using nothing but wires—and the results are promising.

“The technique used in our study is really easier than others, and also it can be applied with less handling of bone and by creating only two holes,” said Hadi Naddaf, DVM, DVSc, of the Department of Clinical Sciences in the Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

The technique he developed was designed for transverse fractures of the rostral portion of the mandible or maxilla/premaxillae area of the mouth in the interdental space (essentially, the front part of the jaw just under the front teeth). Traditionally, surgeons repair such fractures using lag-screw fixation, applying an internal or external acrylic prosthesis, or using dynamic compression plating and wiring, Naddaf said.

However, these procedures are not only complex but also frequently associated with post-surgical complications. Horses can experience tooth loss, malocclusion (bad alignment of the teeth for chewing), osteomyelitis (bone infection), sequestration (death of part of the bone), and chronic discharge, said Naddaf. “However, the technique we used in this study had no such complications,” he said.

Naddaf and his fellow researchers threaded a cerclage wire through two holes in the jaw bone to close a 3-year-old Arabia