PetPlace.com General Fracture Information in Dogs - Page 1

My Pet: FREE Tools to Care for Your Pet and Connect with Others


Over 10,000 Vet Approved Articles Search All Articles

General Fracture Information in Dogs

By: Dr. Robert Parker

Read By: Pet Lovers
Email To A Friend Print
A fracture is a break or crack in a bone. Although we commonly think of fractures as involving a leg, it is also possible to fracture the skull, jaw, spine, ribs, pelvis and digits (fingers) as well as the long bones and small bones of the front and back limbs.

Practically every bone in your dog's body is susceptible to fracture, and some, like spinal fractures, have a higher priority to treat. The symptoms that arise with fractures are based on the body part injured and any organ damage. Fractures are usually caused by a traumatic event; however, pathologic fractures can occur from relatively low energy events when preexisting disease such as a tumor or a metabolic bone disease like rickets weakens the bone. Some breeds are also susceptible to particular fractures based on their anatomy, conformation and use (such as hunting or racing).

Because of the trauma involved with a fracture, it is imperative that your dog be checked for concurrent or parallel traumatic injuries. Though your dog's fracture may seem traumatic, rarely is the fracture by itself a cause for urgent surgical treatment. Your pet should first be evaluated for shock, neurological problems and injury to internal organs.

What to Watch For

  • Paralysis
  • Extreme weakness or depression
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal discomfort or distention
  • A change in mental status

    Diagnosis

    Diagnostic tests that may be needed to recognize and treat fractures include:

  • Complete medical history and physical examination

  • Radiographs (X-rays) of the affected limb or area

  • Chest and abdominal radiographs to rule out obvious organ injury especially for trauma patients

  • Blood tests to evaluate for systemic organ trauma and diseases or consequences of shock

    Treatment

    Depending on the physical status of your dog, your veterinarian may temporarily stabilize the fracture by applying a splint, padded bandage or other device. After the patient is stable, definitive fracture repair can be instituted. Your veterinarian may recommend a consultation with an orthopedic specialist.

    The type of repair undertaken depends on a number of factors:

  • The fracture type and duration
  • The fracture location
  • The presence of multiple bone fractures
  • The intended activity of the patient
  • The patient's age
  • The owner's financial resources and commitment
  • The surgeon's experience

    Definitive fracture reduction and stabilization involves either closed reduction, in which a cast or splint is applied without surgery. A surgical method may also be an option using some type of metallic surgical implant such as a pin, wire, plate, screw, nail or fixator. The surgical technique often provides the best repair and chance for full return to function.

    Frequently used implants include:

  • Pin and wires
  • Plates and screws
  • Interlocking nails
  • External skeletal fixators (ESF)

    ESF utilizes fixation pins that are placed through the skin and into the bone fragments. A series of clamps and bars or rings are used to stabilize the major fracture fragments.

    Advanced veterinary surgery is technically equivalent to that enjoyed by human patients and uses similarly expensive materials (implants, bone plates, fixator devices) for repair of some fractures. The most desirable treatment can be somewhat costly. If medical and surgical costs are an issue, it is important to discuss the therapy options with your veterinarian first. But remember that if you choose a less desirable option, the success rate may be lower and the chance for return to limb function less than ideal or you may incur repeated visits to the veterinarian for problems associated with the original fracture. These visits can also contribute to overall veterinary costs.

    Home Care and Prevention

    Carefully follow all the instructions your veterinarian provided and pay particular attention to the wound and the bandages or splints that were applied. Watch for redness, swelling or abnormal discharge from the incision.

    All bandages, splints or casts must be kept clean and dry. It is better to have no bandage than a loose or wet one.

    Return for reevaluation as recommended by your veterinarian. X-rays may be taken to make sure the fracture is healing properly.

  • Comment & Share
    Email To A Friend Print
    Keep reading! This article has multiple pages.

    Dog Photos Enjoy hundreds of beautiful dog photos Let's Be Friends Follow Us On Facebook Follow Us On twitter

    Close

    Email to a Friend

    Article to eMail
    General Fracture Information in Dogs




    Thanks!
    Close
    My Pet
    Coming Soon

    Tools to Care for Your Pet and
    Connect with Others!

    Be the First to Know.
    Notify Me