broken bone dog

What to do in the vital first minutes after an accident

In our series on pet first aid, we will be detailing the various accidents that could happen to your pet in your home, or while out and about, and what you can do immediately to treat the wound and limit the damage before heading to the vet.

In our second article in the series, we tackle broken bones.

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.


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