Discovering a bone fracture in your dog can cause extreme fear and stress. In this article, our Burlington and Bellingham vets will offer crucial tips for managing a dog's bone break or fracture
Identifying a Fractured Bone
When a dog fractures a bone, the signs are usually clear. In most cases, the bone will protrude through the skin, creating a messy situation. Nevertheless, some fractures occur internally without breaking the skin.
If your dog whimpers upon touch with a particular body part, displays unexplained swelling in a specific area or refrains from walking or bearing weight on a leg, it's possible they have sustained a bone fracture.
Our dogs are cherished members of our family, and ensuring their safety is our utmost priority. Regrettably, dogs can fall ill or suffer injuries, much like humans. Broken bones, in particular, occur more frequently than one might anticipate. If your dog encounters such a critical situation, your first and most vital task as a responsible pet owner is to stay calm.
In this moment of distress, your dog relies on you to offer essential assistance. You must maintain composure and take swift action by immediately transporting them to an emergency veterinary hospital. There, a veterinarian can promptly attend to their needs.
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
Avoid setting or splinting the bone or using creams, ointments, or sprays on the injury. These actions could agitate your dog further and potentially result in biting due to pain.
If your dog is experiencing heavy bleeding, take a clean cloth and carefully wrap the injury, applying pressure to halt the bleeding. In some cases, using a muzzle on your dog may be essential to prevent biting caused by pain.
In the given circumstances, ensure your dog stays warm and comfortable by covering them with a blanket.
Get Assistance Moving Your Dog
When you first spot your dog's injury, immediately bring them indoors to a safe and quiet location if they are not already there.
You must arrange for assistance to transport your dog to the vet, especially if you have a larger breed. Handling your dog with care and maintaining a steady grip to prevent further injury or discomfort is vital. Having a companion with you on the way to the vet is a wise choice to provide your dog with company and help.
Remember that moving your dog after a bone injury can cause them pain, so exercise caution and consider using a muzzle if required.
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 a lot of time to recover. Your dog will be fitted for a cast and may require cold laser therapy to obtain their natural mobility.
Ensure your dog refrains from running, jumping, or playing until fully healed. Follow your vet's and/or physical therapist's gentle walks and exercise recommendations.
Your vet may advise using cold packs or administering gentle massages on the injury to aid in the recovery process. Following these instructions can significantly enhance the healing process. However, if your vet doesn't recommend these treatments, allowing the bone to heal naturally is best.
Healing a fractured bone in your dog typically takes a couple of months, depending on the severity of the injury. The duration for which your dog may need the cast can vary accordingly.
While your dog is wearing the cast, consider using a cone (e-collar) to prevent them from licking or chewing on it. This precaution is crucial to prevent any damage to the cast or the ingestion of harmful objects.
Your dog may not be comfortable wearing the cast during the recovery period, so make an effort to keep them as comfortable as possible.
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.