Bone Fractures in Pets – What Pet Owners Need To Know

In today’s post, we will be sharing useful information about bone fractures in pets. We hate to see our beloved animals hurt but sometimes it is unavoidable. Accidents happen and all we as pet owners can do is try to do whatever we can to help them recover. Bone fractures are relatively commonplace injuries in dogs, and sometimes cats. It is essential to identify any signs of broken bones, how to prevent them, and what to do when it happens.

Bone Fractures in Pets

When cats sustain fractures, they cannot stand or put any weight on the affected limb. Fractures are painful and you may notice swelling in the area of the fracture. A vet can detect fractures by looking for signs of swelling, pain, and a grinding movement between the end section of broken bones. He will also order X-rays to look for other injuries and to diagnose a fracture. By looking at the X-rays he can decide on the best course of treatment. After your pet has recovered, another X-ray is taken to see whether the bone has rejoined and healed properly.

How Can Pet Owners Identify a Fracture?

  • Look for signs of bruising or swelling
  • The animal appears to be in severe pain
  • Shortened, deformed, or twisted limb
  • Having trouble walking or limping
  • Changes in your pet’s behavior – for instance, depression, lack of appetite or aggression, especially when you touch the affected area
  • Leg held elevated
  • A grinding sensation of bones under your fingers
  • Paralysis
  • Signs of compound fractures – bone sticking out through the skin

What Will Happen At The Vet?

  • The vet will examine your pet
  • He will monitor your pet’s vital signs
  • Possibly order X-rays
  • Do surgery to add pins or apply a splint or cast
  • Order blood tests if needed
  • Rehabilitation
  • Offer supportive care and ongoing monitoring of your pet post-surgery

Different Types of Bone Fractures in Pets

Closed Fractures

Your dog or cat may have a cracked bone, however, the skin will not be broken. You will notice swelling, whimpering, and the animal will be unable to walk or place weight on the leg. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect a fracture and try to keep your animal as still as possible to avoid further injury.

Compound or Open Fractures

Compound fractures are the most severe and dangerous types of fractures because the bone is sticking out through the skin. It creates a high risk of bacteria or infection in the open wound. You will notice signs of swelling, bleeding, and protruding bone. Seek veterinary assistance immediately.

Greenstick Fractures

In this case, the bone will be broken or cracked with limping and minor swelling. The vet will most probably apply a splint. It is essential to see your vet as quickly as possible as improper healing can lead to lessened mobility of the joint and lameness.

Epiphyseal Fractures

This type of fracture typically happens in puppies or young dogs that still have growing bones. The break occurs on the soft region of the bone, also called the growth plate. A vet can repair the fracture to avoid growth defects.

RELATED: Can I Treat My Pet's Wound at Home?

Commonplace Methods of Fracture Fixation

  • Inserting a stainless steel pin in the affected bone’s marrow cavity
  • Inserting a plate on the outside of the bone to hold it in position while healing
  • External fixator – placing various short steel pins into bone fragments vertically. The pins are connected to the outside of the animal’s leg, using metal clamps and bars

Treatment will be based on the following:

What Pet Owners Can Do

  • Stay calm
  • Keep your pet calm
  • Seek veterinary assistance immediately
  • Stabilize the leg with a towel, newspaper rolled around the leg if your pet can tolerate it
  • Use a muzzle if your pet becomes aggressive
  • Place the animal on a piece of cardboard or towel for easier transportation
  • Avoid giving him anything to drink or eat in case a general anesthetic is required

Final Thoughts

Always remain calm when your pet gets injured, this will help them in their own time of need.  Try to get them professional assistance as soon as possible, and never be without pet insurance to help you when you need it most.


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