Broken bones: causes, how to tell if the bone is broken, and how to treat 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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