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Broken Bones in Dogs & What To Do

Many dogs love to play hard and get rough, which means that they are at a high risk for injuries such as broken bones. In today's post our Modesto vets discuss broken bones in dogs, how you can tell if your dog has a broken bone, and what to do if your dog breaks a leg.

Does your dog have a broken leg?

If your dog experiences a fall, fight or another form of trauma and then begins to struggle to get around while limping and vocalizing pain then there is a chance that they may have broken a bone. While there is a good chance that you will witness some form of distress in your dog there is also the possibility that they will do their best to mask the pain and injury as this is their natural survival instinct.

If you see concerning symptoms it's time to head to the vet! Contact our Modesto vets or visit your nearest animal emergency clinic to schedule an urgent examination for your dog.

Signs That Your Dog May Have a Broken Limb

If your dog has experienced trauma resulting in a broken limb you will notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden lameness or limping
  • Refusing to bear weight on the limb
  • Swelling of the limb
  • Vocalization of the pain
  • Open wound or discoloration

Different Types of Breaks Seen in Dogs

If your dog suffers from a broken bone then it could be one of a number of different types of fracture. The type of fracture your dog has will determine their treatment and what you can expect from the healing process.

Below are some of the different types of broken bones that your dog could experience:

Closed Fractures

If your dog has a closed fracture, the bone will break beneath the surface but the skin itself will stay intact. You will not see an external wound with this type of broken bone.

Open Fractures

When a dog experiences an open fracture, the skin at the site of the break will be open. There is a chance that you will see part of the bone through the open wound in these cases or even fully protruding through the skin depending on the severity of the injury. In these types of situations, there is a chance that it is the injury that caused the wound itself that also caused the broken bone. Unfortunately, these types of fractures can be difficult to treat as the bone is exposed and will be considered infected making the healing and recovery process much more difficult.

Incomplete Fractures

This type of bone injury is smaller and incomplete meaning that while there is a fracture that is most likely only visible through an x-ray, the fracture itself has not extended all of the way through the bone. This fracture type is generally considered one of the easiest to heal as the bone is still in one piece, making the healing process less complicated and quicker.

Complete Fractures

A complete fracture occurs when the bone fully breaks into two or more different pieces.

There are three common types when it comes to this form of fracture in dogs:

  • Transverse Fracture: the bone is broken parallel to the length of the bone and straight across
  • Oblique Fracture: the bone has pointed ends due to the break occurring at a diagonal angle
  • Comminuted Fracture: there are more than three pieces that the bone has broken into and the size and shape varies by piece

What To Do If You Think Your Dog Has a Broken Bone

While a dog breaking a bone is not typically considered life-threatening it is still a situation that you should address as soon as possible by bringing them into our Modesto animal emergency clinic to be examined. 

Before bringing your dog in to see the vet you may need to administer first aid, especially if there are any open wounds that are actively bleeding. If possible you should carry your dog in and out of the car to avoid having them bear weight on the affected limb. Once you are at the emergency vet clinic your Modesto vet will work quickly to stabilize the affected limb as well as manage any pain that your dog may be experiencing. 

If you are unable to have your dog seen by a vet right away then it may be best to provide your dog with crate rest and relief using an ice pack wrapped in a towel on the affected area for roughly 10-15 minutes.

Treatment For Dogs With Broken Bones

The treatment for broken bones in dogs will depend on a variety of factors such as their health age, location and type of fracture.

First, your Modesto vet will sedate your dog and perform an x-ray in order to get a clear image of the bone and injury it has sustained.

Many broken bones in dogs can be treated using immobilization nonetheless, there is a chance that your dog may have experienced a more complex fracture that requires surgical treatment. 

No matter which method of treatment your vet recommends, it is likely that your dog will have a fairly lengthy recovery ahead of them. Your dog's broken bone may take take weeks or months to heal depending on the severity of the fracture and your dog's overall health. It is important to help keep your dog as comfortable as possible and limit moving during recovery in order to minimize the risk of potential complications.

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.

If you think that your dog may have broken their leg contact American Pet Hospital right away or reach out to the animal emergency hospital nearest you.

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