Methods for Diagnosing a Dog Paw Fracture and Treatment
In order to accurately determine the type of fracture and possible complications that arise with some types of bone damage, X-ray is used, first of all. The images will clearly show the bones and their position relative to each other and adjacent areas. Also, the diagnosis can be made after the animal is carefully examined by a veterinarian. With this type of injury, you do not need to take any tests, but only use visual diagnostic methods.
Nevertheless, if some time has passed since the moment of injury and an infection has entered the wound, then we are already talking about a secondary wound infection and in this case the veterinarian may already prescribe to be tested. In doing so, he will appoint:
- General laboratory blood test.
- General laboratory analysis of urine.
- Smear-imprint from the surface of the wound for its subsequent microscopy.
When the tests are completed, the doctor will prescribe adequate treatment for the secondary wound infection in conjunction with the treatment of the bone fracture.
Fractured paws in a dog: the most common types and their symptoms
In the dog, the most common injury is the radius on the foreleg and / or the femur on the hind limb. But these are not the only bones that break in dogs. The metatarsal and / or metacarpal bones are also susceptible to fractures, but only they can be of slightly different types. What types of this common injury are usually distinguished? A dog’s paw fracture can be open or closed, with or without displacement.
With an open fracture in a dog, the wound gapes, there is a gaping wound, fragments of bones are visible in the wound, the wound is bleeding, and severe pain is noted. The dog has an increased risk of traumatic pain shock. With a closed fracture, there is swelling in the area of the alleged damage, soreness. Crepitation may be noted, that is, a muffled crunch is heard when the position of broken bones changes.
Symptoms that accompany a broken paw in a dog
What are the symptoms of a broken paw in a dog? First of all, this is a sharp limitation of the activity of your pet. The dog becomes lethargic. She does not lean on the injured limb. The dog whines and is anxious. With a closed fracture or with a fracture of the bone, the site of injury swells. At this point, the surrounding tissue is painful and hot to the touch.
With an open fracture, the dog may look a little dazed after an injury and show a pronounced apathy. At the site of injury, swelling is visible and the place is hot to the touch (the same signs are observed with a closed fracture). The dog does not allow touching the sore paw and may even grin when trying to feel it.
If the dog has an open fracture, then the protruding ends of the broken bone and / or its multiple fragments are clearly visible in the wound at the site of bone damage. The wound bleeds, and over time, blood clots are visible in it. In cases where the dog has a closed fracture, all of these symptoms will be noted, but there will be no gaping wound and bleeding. In special cases and with closed injuries, deformation of the paw is clearly visible, in which it has non-physiological parameters.
Self-help to an animal when a dog’s paw is broken
Self-help to an animal with an open fracture consists in applying a plaster cast after treating the wound. All manipulations must be carried out with anesthesia, since the dog may even experience severe pain and / or traumatic shock. For anesthesia, conduction novocaine blockade is used using a sterile solution of Novocaine, Procaine, Ultracaine or some other anesthetic.
With an open injury, the bones are combined into a physiological position and after that they first apply a bandage from a sterile bandage in 1-2 layers, and then only a splint from improvised solid materials can be applied and a plaster cast is already on top. The most important thing in such a bandage is reliable fixation of the fracture site and prevention of secondary injuries.
The most difficult case of this injury is a displaced fracture. With this type of damage, independent forces cannot be dispensed with, since an osteosynthesis operation will be required. When performing this kind of surgical intervention, the veterinarian installs a metal pin (made of surgical steel) into the canal of the damaged bone and fixes the bone fragments already relative to this pin. Of course, such an operation is performed under general anesthesia of the dog.
After this operation to restore the integrity of the limb, a mandatory bandage using a fixative material is needed. Such a tool can be a splint. a special plaster cast that fixes the limb completely or only its damaged area.
Treatment in a situation where a dog’s paw has been fractured
What is the treatment for such a severe limb injury in a dog? The most important thing is to provide the injured limb with immobility to prevent secondary injuries.
If a dog’s paw is broken, you need to:
For any type of fracture, deliver the injured animal to the Ya-VET Animal Emergency Center, and if it is impossible to do this, you must urgently call the veterinarian at home by phone.
Paw fracture in a dog: first aid, signs, symptoms and treatment
In life, a dog, even kept in privileged conditions, lies in wait for many troubles and dangerous situations. This can be a fall, physical overload, an unsuccessful meeting with a car on the road and many more situations, the outcome of which can be a broken paw in a dog.
When there was a tragedy with your dog’s injuries, be sure to contact the Emergency Veterinary Center for Animals that is located. You can call and call an ambulance veterinary aid by calling the Center “YA-VET”.
What kind of fractures do dogs have and what first aid is needed for a dog that has broken a paw? What to do before the arrival of a veterinarian and how to treat a pet? We will try to answer these and some other questions in our article.
In addition to open and closed paw fractures in a dog, it can be of these types
In addition to the listed types of limb fractures in a dog, the following types are described:
The impacted type is when, during a fracture, the ends of the broken bone enter the bone marrow canal. This type is shown in photo 1.
Fractures with and without displacement can be either open or closed. Displacement here means a change in the position of the ends of bone fragments relative to the longitudinal axis. Photo 2 and Photo 3 show examples of such limb injuries.
Paw Bandage Application
Bone fractures are considered the safest type of injury. There is no significant tissue damage around the fracture area.
Rehabilitation measures and prevention, paw fracture in a dog
With the right help to the animal with a broken paw in a dog, the bones will grow together quickly and correctly. Both the owner and the pet will soon be in perfect order and play and frolic again. But in order for your dog to recover faster, you need, firstly, to provide it with peace and not overload it with any loads.
The food of the animal should be easily digestible and with a large amount of calcium. It is this natural mineral that is involved in bone growth and bone formation. Powdered tablets of calcium gluconate or calcium glycerophosphate can be added to the feed. These drugs reliably replenish calcium stores in the body, which contributes to the rapid healing of injuries.
Walking with the dog in sunny weather will also promote rapid bone healing, because it is known that sunlight promotes the production of provitamin D3 in the body of warm-blooded animals, and it, in turn, directly contributes to ensuring the strength of the skeletal system. For the same purposes, it is possible to use an oil solution of ergocalciferol (vitamin D3), which is sold in the pharmacy chain.
Prevention is that the pet dog should not be left outside without the supervision of the owner. You should not let your pet run through abandoned areas with a large accumulation of garbage, tree branches and various industrial waste. In such cases, the risk of damage to the dog’s paws, including the risk of fracture, increases many times.
Types and signs of fractures
A fissure is the safest of all fractures, the bone is not completely broken, and the adjacent tissue is not damaged. Often confused with bruise, because the pet generally feels good, just moves with care. If you do not provide assistance in time, the situation can worsen. For example, an uncomplicated paw fracture in a dog without treatment becomes an open fracture after jumping over a high barrier (a partially damaged bone cannot withstand the usual loads).
It is impossible to visually identify a crack in the bone. Therefore, in all cases when, for no apparent reason, the dog does not allow touching any part of the body, moves carefully, limps (paws, spine), chews slowly (jaws), etc., you need to take an x-ray.
Impacted fracture. parts of the bone in the damaged area enter each other. This happens when the blow is directed longitudinally to the bone, and not across. For example, when a puppy (elastic bones), a small or very large dog jumps from a height, resting on its front legs. Symptoms of a punctured fracture of a paw in a dog are like a crack (lameness, soreness), the danger is the same. parts of the bone can be displaced if help is not provided in time. The tissues are not damaged or slightly damaged, the broken bone partially fixes itself.
Closed fracture without displacement. the ends of the broken bone are in a natural position relative to each other. Severe pain, redness and / or swelling, the pet does not allow touching the injury site and tries not to load the painful area (does not lean on the paw, does not chew. the jaw, sleeps on one side. the ribs).
Closed fracture with displacement. the ends of the broken bone diverge, damaging blood vessels and muscles. The pain is stronger, the swelling is greater, a hematoma is clearly visible on light-colored dogs, a bulge may be noticeable (if the displaced edge of the broken bone rests against the skin from the inside).
Closed bone fractures in dogs are extremely dangerous. it seems like nothing terrible from the outside, and the tissues under the skin can be seriously damaged: a large vessel. loss of blood, nerves. partial paralysis, the end of a broken rib can pierce an internal organ.
Open fracture. the edge of the bone sticks outward, severing muscle and skin. The bone itself may not be visible (especially in muscular or obese dogs), but the wound is always visible. The most dangerous fracture (heavily damaged tissues, the likelihood of blood loss), but there is also a plus. the signs are so obvious that the owner rushes to the clinic immediately.
In addition to fractures as a result of injuries, there are pathological fractures. the bone cannot withstand normal loads, and sometimes breaks even under the weight of the body while walking. Causes: lack of calcium, bone cancer, cystic formations, any diseases that make bones fragile, old age. Such fractures in dogs require treatment in two ways. restore the integrity of the bone and eliminate (if possible) the root cause.
We fix the jaws (muzzle, bandage). This is necessary in any case, even if the dog is not aggressive and looks calm. The pet can bite when the owner inadvertently hurts him (tries to bandage the wound, put a splint or put the dog in the box). Even in mild cases, such as a broken tail, the dog may lack patience and delicacy. And it is much more difficult to help a pet with bitten hands.!
We fix the place of injury when necessary. With only one suspicion of a fracture (there is no visible damage, the dog is careful, but moves the damaged part of the body), you do not need to touch the site of injury.
If the ribs are broken, rewind the dog’s chest with a wide bandage or cloth tapes. Quite tight, but not tight enough to pinch your ribs or obstruct your breathing.
We put a tire on the broken paw. from any suitable rails, a piece of a plastic bottle, etc.
If the jaw is broken, the dog may sink its tongue or have difficulty breathing due to the accumulated blood in the pharynx. we clear the airways very carefully, trying not to displace the broken jaw. It is advisable to fix the jaw by erecting a frame of wire and bandages, but this is a long time (if you go to the clinic for 10 minutes, you do not need to waste time).
Spoon splint for broken toe
You cannot try to return a broken bone to its natural position! The purpose of the restraint is to prevent the dog from hurting itself further as you travel to the clinic. Therefore, in all cases when it is possible to take the dog to the veterinarian, minimally disturbing the injured area, there is no need to touch the sore spot once again.
The dog is transported in a sparing position, which depends on the location of the injury. You need to sit / lay the pet so as not to load the broken bone. A puppy or small dog can be put in a box. If there is a suspicion of a spinal fracture in a dog, it is advisable to call a doctor at home (if the doctor can come immediately). Until the arrival of the doctor, the dog is held in the position in which it is located. If this is not possible, the dog is dragged (together) onto a sheet of plywood and fixed (tied to the plywood with bandages) in the position in which the dog lies. Do not try to straighten or bend your pet!
In case of bleeding, a tourniquet is applied above the injury site or a tight gauze bandage. If it takes longer than 20 minutes to get to the clinic, contact your veterinarian by phone. Your doctor will advise you on how to reduce pain and how to avoid complications associated with long-term transportation. The phone number of the clinic closest to you can be found via the Internet or the city’s referral service.
Fracture in a dog: types, symptoms and treatment
An accident, a fall from a height, an unsuccessful jump, excessive loads. it is unlikely that it will be possible to completely protect the dog from all risks. But even if the bone is badly fractured, today it is not technically difficult to cure almost any fracture in a dog. Of course, if you go to the veterinarian in time. But how to help your pet before arriving at the clinic?
First of all, the doctor will eliminate pain and anxiety (sedatives), heal the wound (if the outer tissues are damaged). Since it is not always possible to determine a fracture in a dog only by external signs, they must take a picture. X-rays will help to assess the situation: sometimes plaster is enough for fusion, and sometimes surgical intervention is required. to return the edges of the broken bone to its natural position, remove small fragments, restore the integrity of blood vessels and muscles.
Sometimes it is required to tighten / fasten the bone with screws, plates, metal knitting needles. jewelry work, expensive, but the results are impressive. In some cases, it is necessary to replace the damaged bone area with a prosthesis. For example, with a hip fracture, a dog is much more likely to recover completely if the joint is replaced right away. Especially when it comes to older, muscular or obese dogs.
The bone fixed in one way or another will grow together in a few weeks (individually, from the severity of the injury, age, type of fracture, and other factors). A convalescent pet needs to be provided with rest. Due to the decrease in activity, weight gain is possible, therefore, the food is only dietary. The veterinarian will prescribe medications that will help the dog to endure the recovery period more easily. sedatives, pain relievers, laxatives (if problems with defecation appear due to low mobility). It is imperative to prescribe regenerating drugs that accelerate bone fusion and healing of adjacent tissues.
With a pelvic fracture in a dog, treatment is longer and more complex, since the motor function is very limited. The same goes for spinal fractures. Due to the high likelihood of complications, the doctor should monitor the progress of treatment until the tailed patient is fully recovered.
Fracture in a dog: what to do
Dogs are active and restless animals that easily get into situations that are dangerous to their health. They can unsuccessfully jump from a height, fight with another dog, be hit by a car, motorcycle or find themselves in some other traumatic position. Therefore, a fracture in a dog is a fairly common problem that many owners face.
Types of fractures found in dogs
Fractures differ depending on which part of the animal’s body is affected:
- fractures of tubular bones occur with trauma to the extremities;
- fractures of the pelvic (flat) bones;
- fractures of other bones (skull, jaw, tail, spine).
The signs of fracture accompanying the injury depend on how badly the dog’s bone is damaged:
- A crack in the bone is the easiest type of injury, in which the bone is not completely damaged and the surrounding tissues are not affected. In this case, a broken paw in a dog can be confused with a bruise, since the animal is quite active, only limping slightly. But in the future, the damaged bone may not withstand the increased load from jumping or running, and the crack can become a serious fracture. It is impossible to diagnose a crack by eye, therefore, if your pet limps, does not allow itself to be touched in some places, it is necessary to take an x-ray.
- An unsuccessful landing on the front legs when jumping from a height can result in a hammer-in fracture, in which parts of the bone enter each other. In this case, the damaged bone can fix itself, and the symptoms of the fracture will be lubricated and similar to those that accompany the fracture of the bone. painful sensations, limping. The danger lies in the complication of a fracture if it is not diagnosed and treated, as a result of which a simple injury can become more severe.
- Closed bone fracture without displacement. the bone is completely broken, but its ends at the fracture site are in a natural position. If the dog breaks its paw, then at the site of the injury there is swelling, severe pain, the animal does not step on the limb. In case of jaw injury. refuses food; in case of a spinal fracture, he cannot control the paws.
- Closed displaced fracture. in this case, the broken ends of the bone diverge and can damage the tissue near the bone. The pain in this case is even more pronounced, at the site of the fracture, severe edema, bulge, hematoma may appear, and with a fracture of the vertebrae, nerve endings may be impaired, which causes paralysis of the limbs.
- If a broken bone breaks through the skin, then we are talking about an open fracture. This is the most dangerous option, since an open wound can be infected, which greatly complicates the treatment, and bone fragments damage muscles, nerves, blood vessels, as a result of which bleeding can begin.
How to give first aid to a dog with a fracture?
What to do if you notice your pet is showing symptoms that indicate a fracture?
- The first and prerequisite is the fixation of the dog’s jaw with a muzzle or bandage. Even if your pet is very calm and the problem is not very serious, for example, a broken tail in a dog, it can still bite you, and then both you and the dog will have to be treated. This happens because you can hurt him when examining, applying a splint, placing in a carrier.
- A fracture of the lower jaw in a dog is accompanied by pain in this area, so you need to bandage the jaw of the animal or put a muzzle on it to ensure immobility at the site of the fracture. If blood has accumulated in the dog’s mouth, then, trying not to touch the broken jaw, carefully clean the airways with a gauze swab.
- If the front or hind leg is broken, a splint must be applied. To do this, you can use a bandage to wind straight sticks or a piece cut from a plastic bottle to the injured place. In no case should the limb be set or the tire is very tightly wound, as this can aggravate the situation!
- If the ribs are injured, it is best to secure the ribcage with wide bandages or strips of any fabric. The bandage should be tight, but not very tight.
- If you suspect a spinal fracture in a dog, you should try to ensure the complete immobility of the animal in the same place, in the same position. If this is not possible, then you should tie the animal to a flat plywood shield with bandages, fixing it in one position.
- In the event of an open fracture, a pressure bandage should be applied over the bleeding site. It is advisable to use sterile multilayer gauze that is applied to the wound. If there is no sterile dressing, then you can take any tissue, the main thing is to stop the bleeding.
After providing first aid, the dog must be urgently taken to the veterinarian. In order to prevent your pet from inflicting additional harm on itself, small dogs and puppies can be placed in the carrier, and large ones. try to keep them stationary.
Fracture Management in Dogs
First of all, your veterinarian will administer sedatives and pain relievers to your pet to relieve pain and calm it down. If the fracture is open, an antiseptic treatment of the affected area will be performed and a bandage will be applied. The next stage is an X-ray examination of the bones at the site of injury. Based on the data obtained, specialists decide how the dog will be treated.
For uncomplicated closed fractures of the legs, tail, ribs, which are not accompanied by displacement, a therapeutic method of treatment is most often used. In this case, tight fixing bandages or splints are applied to the fracture site (fracture immobilization), and the dog is provided with complete rest.
Surgical intervention is used in more complex cases:
- fracture of the pelvis in a dog;
- fracture of the calcaneus or tibia;
- elbow joint injury;
- hip fracture in a dog.
In these cases, osteosynthesis is used. matching bone fragments in a natural position and fixing them using special structures that allow the bones to reliably grow together.
For osteosynthesis, the Ilizarov apparatus (for large dogs or for medium-sized dogs with complex injuries), the Kirscher apparatus (for the hip bones, jaw bones, spine), pins and plates (for example, in case of a heel bone fracture) are used.
A dog in a road traffic accident is often diagnosed with a compression fracture of the spine, which 20-30 years ago was a verdict for the animal.
Currently, veterinary medicine gives victims a chance for recovery and further active life.
As in other complex cases, the problem is solved with the help of surgical intervention. In such cases, it is best to deliver the animal to the doctor within 12 hours, since edema of the surrounding tissues and displacement of the vertebrae provoke the death of nerve endings, which makes it difficult to restore motor functions.
To alleviate the condition of the animal, the veterinarian prescribes pain relievers, sedatives, and, if necessary, antibiotics. It is also necessary to take medications that improve bone regeneration.
Recovery period after fracture
Regardless of whether your pet has a heel fracture, a neck injury or a tail fracture, it will need careful care during the illness and in the recovery period after it.
During illness, your pet needs peace, so you need to walk the dog when necessary and for a short time. For small dogs, the option of walking in the arms of the owner is possible, and if your pet is too big, then you can carefully take it outside so that it can fulfill its natural needs.
As the condition improves, the dog will become more active, but you should remain firm and limit the jumping and running of the animal, as this can damage the bone fusion.
Due to the fact that the fracture limits the movement of the dog, it is better to revise its diet and make it low in calories so that your pet does not gain excess weight.
Monitor your dogs on the street and at home so that they do not get into traumatic situations, pay attention to their behavior and mood and contact veterinarians in a timely manner at the first signs of deterioration, without waiting for the problem to resolve by itself. These simple rules will make your pet’s life long, happy and healthy.!
Broken front paw in a dog
A fracture of the front paw is accompanied by exactly the same symptoms as the hind paw.
All you can and should do before taking the dog to the hospital is to fix the paw.
In no case should you try to move the bone, put it in place. It can be extremely dangerous.!
You only need to take the dog to the clinic, where our experienced surgeons, after confirming the diagnosis, will begin to treat the broken paw. This usually happens by surgery, installation of pins, plates, screws. depending on the type of fracture and its complexity.
You can entrust us with the treatment of your pet and be sure of his full recovery.!
Treating a broken paw in a dog
Your veterinarian will want to take an X-ray of the injured paw to make sure it is broken and to determine the best treatment. Your dog may be given NSAIDs. a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. to help relieve pain. Do not try to do this yourself, as many over-the-counter human medications are not suitable for animals. When making an appointment with your veterinarian, you may ask what you can do to relieve her pain before arriving at the clinic. If the paw is indeed broken, the doctor will discuss with you the best treatment option: simply set the leg and apply a cast or splint, or surgically repair the paw bones using pins or a plate. The best treatment for a fracture will depend on several factors, including the type and location of the fracture, and the dog’s age, which affects bone strength.
Consequences after a broken paw in a dog
With proper and timely treatment of the fracture, there will be no consequences after the fracture of the paw. If the treatment is carried out untimely, incorrectly, or the dog has a pathology of fracture union (delayed fusion, infection), then complications can range from limb function limitation (constant lameness or loss of support on the paw) to amputation. If an open fracture is infected and left untreated, the animal may die from sepsis (blood poisoning). After the operation, a scar remains on the skin that is not visible under the coat. sometimes a large callus develops, and in the area of the paw with a thin layer of muscle, this can be seen as a thickening. And in most cases, the appearance and function of the limb is restored completely.
How to treat a broken paw in a dog?
Fractures of any complexity cannot be treated independently, without a veterinary education and relevant experience. The most harmless crack can have serious consequences if the treatment is incorrect and untimely. Indeed, with poor fixation or incomplete healing, a crack can turn into a fracture. The reason for this can be any load on the weakened place (jump, bruise, etc.). At the appointment, the veterinarian will determine the type of fracture by examination and X-ray and will advise the best treatment option.
There are conservative (plaster cast, splint) and surgical methods of treating fractures in dogs. The first is very limited, for example, with cracked bones. Surgery for a broken paw in a dog is called osteosynthesis.
Recovering a dog after a fracture
During the recovery period of the dog, the owner must provide the animal with peace, limit it from sudden movements. from jumping. Removal of stitches after surgery occurs on day 10. Removal of external metal structures in 1.5-2 months. Plates or other internal retainers are not always removed. But it is better, if possible, to do this anyway, so that there are no foreign objects left in the body that can cause a reaction from the tissues of the body. It is recommended to remove metal structures no later than 2-3 months after the operation, otherwise they may grow into the bone. and it becomes impossible to remove them. Full recovery and healing of a fracture in a dog occurs in 3-6 months.
Recovery period after fracture
Whether your pet has a heel fracture, a neck injury or a tail fracture, it will need careful care during and after illness.
During illness, your pet needs peace, so you need to walk the dog when necessary and for a short time. For small dogs, the option of walking in the arms of the owner is possible, and if your pet is too big, then you can carefully take it outside so that it can relieve its natural needs.
As the condition improves, the dog will become more active, but you should remain firm and limit the jumping and jogging of the animal, as this can damage the bone fusion.
Due to the fact that the fracture limits the movement of the dog, it is better to revise its diet and make it low in calories so that your pet does not gain excess weight.
Monitor your dogs on the street and at home so that they do not get into traumatic situations, pay attention to their behavior and mood, and contact veterinarians in a timely manner at the first signs of deterioration, without waiting for the problem to resolve by itself. These simple rules will make your pet’s life long, happy and healthy.!
Why plaster cast is not recommended for fractures in dogs
The plaster splint does not allow to accurately connect and hold the bone fragments for the required time. This leads to non-union of the fracture, limitation and loss of limb function. The dog may limp or not lean on the paw if the fracture does not heal properly. In addition, the plaster cast limits the dog’s support on the paw, it cannot walk normally in a splint throughout the required time of fixing the fracture, which is 1.5-2 months. During this time, blood circulation in the paw is disrupted, muscles atrophy. because of this, a fracture in a dog does not heal well, it takes a long time to recover or does not restore support on a paw at all. After treatment with surgery. the dog can rest on its paw for as long as a week after it. This helps maintain good blood circulation in the paw and accelerates fracture healing.