Introduction Limb fractures occur predominantly in calves and younger cattle and must be treated as emergencies. The decision on treatment depends on fracture classification, occurrence of severe concurrent diseases, body weight, the value of the individual animal and expected treatment costs. Materials and methods Case records of 98 bovine patients that were examined and treated from January 2001 to December 2017 for limb fractures were retrospectively analysed with regard to age, breed and sex of the animal, age of the fracture, fracture configuration and localization, method of treatment and final outcome. Results During this period, 107 limb fractures were diagnosed in 98 cattle. The mean age of the patients was 281.4 +/- 403.9 days (median 170 days). Cattle aged up to 25 days were most frequently affected (33.7 %). The mean age of fractures at admission to the clinic was 7.4 days (+/- 15.6), with a median age of 2.0 days. The highest number of fractures involved the metacarpus (n = 31; 29.2 %), followed by the metatarsus (n = 25; 23.4 %), the tibia (n = 17; 15.9 %) and the femur (n = 15; 14.0 %). Of the 98 patients, 69 (70.4 %) were treated, with 59 (60.2 %) treated conservatively and ten (10.2 %) surgically. Twenty-nine cattle (29.6 %) with fractures were euthanized after diagnosis due to a poor initial prognosis. Complications occurred during and after treatment in 38 (55.1 %) of patients but 28 (73.7 %) of them were treated successfully. The success rate for conservative treatment was 88.1 %, with 70.0 % of surgical treatments successful. The overall success rate of all treated cattle was 85.5 %, representing 60.2% of the cattle referred due to long-bone fractures. There was no significant correlation (p=0.269) between the age of the patients and the success of treatment. However, each day of delay in treatment led to a 3.8% reduction in the rate of success. Conclusions and clinical relevance An early and appropriate treatment was associated with a higher tendency for a successful outcome. A success rate of 88.1 % was achieved with conservative fracture treatment, which was associated with predominantly mild complications. Conservative treatment using external coaptation is thus regarded as a successful method for treating distal limb fractures and can even be applied under field conditions. Surgical treatment is the treatment of choice for proximal limb fractures in young cattle.