Fractures in pets refer to a break in their cartilage or bone, caused by falling or being stepped on. Do know that some pets are more susceptible to fractures more than others, because of their older age or poor nutrition. If left unaddressed, the fracture can result to abnormal healing and realignment of the bone or cartilage. How will you know if your own dog is suffering from a simple fracture? Read on for some symptoms and treatment procedures for simple fractures in dogs:
- Look for lameness or limping. This is one of the most obvious signs of a fracture, especially if the fracture occurred in a weight-bearing area of your dog’s body. However, you shouldn’t rely on these symptoms exclusively, specially with the possibility that the fracture occurred in a non-weight bearing part of his body; in some cases, a dog may even be able to use a fractured leg as if it weren’t fractured.
- Look for swelling. You should also be on the lookout for some minor swelling around an injured body part.
- Observe the behavior of your dog. Even if your dog doesn’t seem to be limping, you might suspect a fracture if your dog seems to be lethargic, whiny, and would prefer to lay down at a corner than run or walk around the house like he used to. Observe how he gets up: does one (or more) of his legs look shaky while he is getting up? Does he seem to walk more slowly than usual?
- Suspect a fracture after a trauma. Especially if your dog is old, you may want to take him to the vet for further inspection if he suffered from a slip or a fall.
- Take your pet to the veterinarian. When you have a vague suspicion that your dog has a fracture, your next step is to take him to the vet before the bone begins to heal abnormally. There is no home remedy to address the fracture at its roots.
- Know the treatment procedure that your dog will undergo. First, the vet will have to diagnose your dog through a radiograph (X-ray). The doctor may take two radiographs of your dog, to compare a normal bone with the suspected fractured bone. Another test that your dog may undertake is a blood test, but only to check for other abnormalities or preexisting conditions prior to him possibly receiving general anesthesia for the treatment. Once your dog is diagnosed of a simple fracture, the injured part will be put in a cast. He may be given injectable/oral pain medication in case he experiences severe pain.
- Know how to facilitate care for your dog when he is discharged. The period of his healing is a critical period, and it is necessary for you to give him utmost care to ensure the fast recuperation of his injury. First, make sure that his cast always stays clean and dry; it may also need to be changed frequently. You should take your pet to the vet for follow-up X-rays for him to check if your dog is healing properly. Expect your dog to have a healing period of about 2 to 4 weeks (6 to 12 weeks if your dog is relatively old).
- Feed your pet properly. The simple fracture that your dog sustained may be in part because of a diet that is lacking in calcium, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Inquire with your vet as to how to strengthen your dog’s bones through his diet.
There you have it! These are some of the ways to recognize and treat simple fractures in dogs. Good luck, and hope this helped!