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Broken Bones in Dogs: What to Do

Broken Bones in Dogs: What to Do

You care about your dog as if she were a member of your family, and you never want something bad to happen to her. Even if you are extremely cautious with your canine companion, illness and injury can occur in dogs, just as they can in humans. Our Grass Valley veterinarians explain how to tell if your dog has a broken bone and what to do if it does.

A dog's broken bone is most commonly caused by an impact (such as being hit by a vehicle) or a tumble. Puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with various health problems may be more prone to breaking bones for seemingly innocuous reasons. We'll learn how to tell if your dog has a broken bone and what to do next.

How Can I Determine if my Dog has a Broken Bone?

If your dog is indeed suffering from a broken bone, it may have:

  • difficulty moving the joint, pain, and stiffness
  • swelling and bruising around the joint
  • likely to be asymmetrical, with one joint looking deformed and out of place
  • be shortening, bending, or twisting of the joint

Never try to replace a dislocated joint. Always visit a veterinarian. There is a very high chance you will cause further damage.

Should your dog have any of the above symptoms and you suspect they may be suffering from a broken bone, follow the steps below to get them the help they need.

1. Remain Calm

A large number of shattered bones can be seen. They will pierce the skin, potentially causing a bloody mess. Your dog is terrified and in pain, and you are most likely terrified as well. You must, however, maintain your composure until your dog has been examined and treated by a veterinarian.

Your dog may have a broken bone if she acts strangely or refuses to walk on a particular limb no matter what. When a dog chews on something hard or bites its skin, broken bones form inside the dog but never break the skin.

Depending on the severity of the injuries, she may be in shock, so proceed with caution when attempting to assist her. Move your dog to a secure indoor area.

2. Call the Emergency Vet

If your dog has broken a bone, she should be evaluated and treated as soon as possible by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian will most likely schedule an emergency visit for you, but be aware that if the veterinarian is already booked for the day, you may have to wait a long time. Was it a misstep that resulted in a fall? Was your dog in any way hurt? Is it possible that there will be more injuries, or is this the only one? When explaining the situation to the vet, try to recall as much of this information as possible.

Don't try to set the bone or use any creams, ointments, or sprays on the wound. If your dog is bleeding profusely, use a clean towel or an old shirt to bandage the wound and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Many dogs will need to be muzzled for you to perform this because the pain will cause them to bite.

Bring someone with you who can assist you on the trip to the vet's office if at all possible.

3. Let the Emergency Vet Do What They Do Best

Your dog will be examined by the veterinarian to determine the extent of her injuries. Based on a variety of factors, the vet will recommend either having the bone repaired, setting the bone, or, in extreme cases, amputating the leg. X-rays of the affected area will almost certainly be required to determine the type and extent of the fracture in your dog.

The Recovery Process

Your dog's bone will most likely take several months to heal. Your dog should not be allowed to run, jump, or play until she has fully recovered. Your dog will almost certainly require an e-collar (cone) while the cast is on to prevent her from licking or chewing on it.

Are you concerned that your dog may have a broken bone? Contact our Grass Valley vets immediately. We can assess your dog and make recommendations on how to proceed.

New Patients Welcome

Grass Valley Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about caring for pets in the Grass Valley area. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment. 

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