A broken bone and a sprain can present the same symptoms, so it is important to evaluate the injury as best you can and, if in doubt, head to your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Common Causes of Broken Bones:
- Being hit by a car
- Jumping from a great height
- Sadly, human abuse
- In smaller dogs, simply jumping off the couch (or being dropped) can break a bone
Possible Symptoms to look out for:
- Limping and whining
- Not wanting to put any weight on the injured leg
- Aggressive when that area is touched or groomed
- Not wanting to climb stairs/jump etc.
- Visible trauma
- Loss of appetite
Types of Broken Bones:
- Closed (the skin over the fracture remains intact)
- Open (where the bone is exposed)
- Epiphyseal Fractures (fracture of the growth plate)
- Hairline Fracture (an incomplete fracture)
How to Treat Broken Bones:
- Don’t apply any ointment or antiseptics
- Don’t attempt to reset the bone yourself
- Muzzle the dog if necessary as he may become aggressive when handled
- Depending on the injured area, prepare a make-shift splint using a rolled up/folded towel to stabilise the injury
- Don’t use a splint if this causes more pain
- If it’s an open fracture, wrap the area with a dry, clean bandage to prevent infection
- Get him to the vet as soon as possible, with as little movement as possible (using a crate is best)
Treatment and Care:
To ascertain the type of break, the vet will most likely need to do an X-Ray. Once the type of break has been diagnosed, the best course of treatment will be decided upon, be it a cast, pins, splint or simply pain management.
- Ensure your pet is comfortable and as stress and pain-free as possible
- Limit mobility – the bones need to heal so rest is imperative
- Follow the vet’s instructions to the letter and make sure you go for the necessary follow-up appointment to check the bone is healing as it should.
The good news is bones do heal, it’s just a matter of time – depending on the break. Some rest, lots of TLC and he’ll be as right as rain in no time.