Dog fracture: causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

What can cause a fracture in dogs? How does it manifest itself in dogs and how is it treated?

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What can cause a fracture in dogs?

A fracture means a broken bone.

Most often, a fracture is caused by a major trauma such as when the dog is run over by a car or when it falls from a great height.

It may happen, more rarely, that a bone fracture is due to intense and repeated physical activity. We then speak of a stress fracture when it is repeated micro-traumas that are at the origin. This type of fracture usually occurs in racing dogs like greyhounds.

A weakening of the bone structure in case of bone cancer or in case of infection can also be the cause of a fracture. We then speak of a pathological fracture.

How is a fracture diagnosed in dogs?

A fracture, whatever its location, causes severe pain in the animal that is the victim. In the event of an open fracture, it may be accompanied by a skin wound. When the fracture concerns a bone in the paw, the animal will no longer be able to put its paw on the ground. There may also be soft tissue swelling in the area of the fracture.


If it is a major trauma that is at the origin, it is common for a fracture to be accompanied by other internal damage, sometimes more serious and more urgent than the fracture itself. He therefore consults you urgently after your dog has suffered a major shock.

Once your vet is sure your dog has no other injuries, they will be able to detect the presence of a fracture by identifying a painful area, swelling and crackling bones. that is, a slight rubbing noise produced by the contact between the two parts of a fractured bone.

Your veterinarian will then perform an X-ray examination to confirm his diagnosis.

How are broken bones in dogs treated?

There are many types of fractures which vary depending on the location of the fracture, the complexity of the injury and whether or not the broken bone went through the skin and broke clearly or not.

In dogs, we rarely use plaster for the simple reason that we cannot ask an animal not to use the part of its body that would be plastered.

In veterinary medicine, the main objective of fracture repair is to promote rapid healing of the latter to allow the dog to regain mobility as quickly as possible.In most cases, this involves reconstructing the broken bone and fixing it in that position using metal implants such as plates, pins, screws or nails.

What is the post-operative care?

After a procedure to reduce and stabilize a fracture, your veterinarian will normally hospitalize your dog for 24-48 hours to ensure there are no immediate postoperative complications such as infections of the surgical site or surgical implant relocation.

A soft bandage may be placed over the fractured limb to provide additional support and minimize swelling of the soft tissue surrounding the fracture. It will also keep the surgical wound clean.

Antibiotics will be prescribed to help prevent infection of the fracture site. Pain medication will also be given to the dog

During the first few days, your dog will need strict rest. Your veterinarian may then recommend that you confine your dog to a small space, such as a room in your home, in order to limit its mobility. Your dog must nevertheless be able to move in a controlled manner in the following days to limit muscle loss on the fractured limb and accelerate its healing

Once the fracture has healed, it may be necessary to remove some or all of the metal implants used in the fracture repair although most pins and plates can remain in place for the lifetime of the fracture. dog.

Many fractures in dogs can be repaired very effectively. In most cases, dogs can return to normal activity within three to four months of the procedure.

However, if the fracture involved a joint, it is quite possible that the animal develops a limp, a decrease in its range of motion or stiffness.

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