Overview of Fractured Pelvis in Dogs
Fractures of the pelvis are the most common fractures seen in dogs. These fractures are usually the result of major trauma.
Generally, pelvic fractures cause acute, non-weight bearing lameness of the hind legs. These fractures are usually found in mature bones; young animals with trauma to the pelvis commonly will have other structures break before the pelvis. Because of the shape of the pelvis, these fractures normally occur in several locations at once including both the left and right sides at the same time.
Depending on the nature of the fracture, different methods of management may be indicated in each situation. Pelvic fractures can have serious complications if not repaired or if the repair fails.
Diagnosis of Pelvic Fractures in Dogs
A thorough physical examination can help determine which tests to perform. Although no laboratory tests are required to make the diagnosis, your veterinarian may recommend the following:
Treatment of Pelvic Fractures in Dogs
Emergency care for concurrent problems caused by the trauma is paramount. Once stabilized, additional treatments can begin.
Home Care and Prevention
Take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible after any trauma for immediate attention. If your animal does not need surgical stabilization or if surgery is decided against, strict exercise restriction may be the only required course of action.
If surgical repair of the fracture is performed, the animal will be kept restricted from activity for several weeks and the skin incision will be monitored while healing.
Recheck appointment with the veterinarian will occur in several weeks to evaluate how the bone is healing (with new radiographs), to monitor the animal’s progress, and to make sure it is safe to increase the dog’s activity level.
Many traumatic events are true accidents and thus unavoidable. Avoid the chance for motor vehicle trauma by keeping your dog confined to a fenced in area or by leash walking only.
In-depth Information on Pelvic Fractures in Dogs
Of all of the fractures seen in small animal hospitals, fractures of the pelvis are the most common. Motor vehicle trauma is the most frequent cause of pelvic fractures. These animals tend to be young, non-neutered males who roam away from home and get hit by a car. Dogs of both sexes and of any age are susceptible to this type of trauma if not kept restrained.
The left and right halves of the pelvis are actually several bones that fuse together as the animal matures. Each half is composed of the ilium, ischium and pubis. Both halves are then fused together in the middle to create a boxlike shape. Because of this configuration, trauma to the whole box usually results in many fractures at once. The pelvis forms a “socket” (acetabulum) of the hip joint and connects to the spine through the sacroiliac joints. These joints frequently become involved (fractured acetabulum or sacroiliac luxation) with trauma to the pelvis and may complicate the method of treatment and the animal’s prognosis.
Each case of pelvic fractures needs to be evaluated in its entirety, including the severity of the fractures, age of the dog, experience of the surgeon, and financial concerns of the owner, to determine the most appropriate and best form of treatment.
Inappropriate case management, inadequate surgical stabilization, or poor aftercare can lead to complications such as non-unions (fractures that will not heal), malunions (fractures that heal in an abnormal direction or orientation). These can result in compromise of the width of the pelvic canal, osteomyelitis (bone infection), arthritis of the hip joint, or a non-functional leg.
In-depth Information on Diagnosis
No laboratory tests are required to make the diagnosis, but your veterinarian may recommend the following for your dog: