Discovering that your dog has a bone fracture can be an extremely frightening and stressful experience. In this article, our vets from Mahopac will provide essential tips on handling the situation if your dog ever faces a bone break or fracture.
Identifying a Fractured Bone
When a dog breaks a bone, it's often evident. Most of the time, the bone will break through the skin, causing a messy situation. However, some fractures happen inside the body without breaking the skin.
If your dog whines when a specific body part is touched, shows unexplained swelling in an area or avoids walking or putting weight on a leg, they might have a broken bone.
Our dogs are like family to us, and we want to keep them safe. Unfortunately, dogs can get sick or injured just like humans, and broken bones are more common than you might expect. If your dog experiences such an emergency, the first thing you should do as a responsible pet parent is to remain calm.
During this distressing time, your dog will depend on you to provide the necessary help. It's crucial for you to stay composed and act quickly in getting them to an emergency veterinary hospital, where a vet can attend to them right away.
How You Can Help Your Dog
Call an Emergency Vet Immediately
If you think your dog has broken a bone, it must be assessed and treated by a professional immediately. Your vet will likely schedule an emergency visit but realize that you may still need to wait a while to be seen if the vet is booked up for the day.
Write down as much information as you can remember about the cause of the broken bone. Your vet may better understand the injury or other possible injuries if you can inform them how it may have occurred (fell, struck by an object, etc.).
Don't Try to Fix it Yourself
Do not attempt to set or splint the bone or apply any creams, ointments, or sprays on the injury. These actions could make your dog more agitated and may lead to biting due to pain.
If your dog is bleeding heavily, carefully wrap the injury with a clean cloth and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. It might be necessary to muzzle your dog during this process to prevent biting caused by pain.
To keep your dog warm and as comfortable as possible, cover them with a blanket in the given circumstances.
Get Assistance Moving Your Dog
When you first notice your dog's injury, make sure to move them indoors to a safe and quiet place if they aren't already there.
You'll need to transport your dog to the vet, so try to get some help, especially if you have a larger breed. Moving your dog carefully and steadily is crucial to avoid further injury or discomfort. It's a good idea to have someone accompany you to the vet to keep your dog company and offer assistance.
Keep in mind that relocating your dog after a bone injury can be painful for them, so be cautious and consider using a muzzle if necessary.
What Your Vet Will Do
The vet will assess your dog's state and the extent of its injuries. Based on many variables, the vet will suggest either having the bone repaired via surgery, setting the bone, or in very severe cases, amputating the limb.
Very likely, your dog will need X-rays of the injured area to assess the type and extent of the fracture. During this process, they may also need to be sedated and/or given pain control.
Your dog will need a series of medications, including anti-inflammatory medication, pain control, antibiotics, and more. This will help the wound heal and will also prevent infections throughout the process.
Your Dog's Recovery From a Bone Fracture
After your dog's bone has been repaired, it will need quite a bit of time to recover. Your dog will be fitted for a cast and may require cold laser therapy to obtain their natural mobility.
Your dog should refrain from running, jumping, or playing until they have healed. However, you should be walked and exercise gently according to the requests of your vet and/or physical therapist.
Your vet may suggest using cold packs or providing gentle massages on the injury to aid recovery. Following these instructions can significantly impact the healing process. However, if your vet doesn't recommend these treatments, it's best to let the bone heal naturally.
Healing a fractured bone in your dog will typically take a couple of months, depending on the severity of the injury. The cast may be required for more or less time accordingly.
While your dog has the cast on, they may need to wear a cone (e-collar) to prevent licking or chewing on the cast. This is important to avoid damage to the cast or ingestion of harmful objects.
Your dog may not be happy wearing the cast as they recover, so try to make them feel as comfortable as possible during this time.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.