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After a car accident, animal fight, sporting injury or another trauma, dogs often suffer painful fractures and broken bones. When this occurs, they need surgery, specialized care, and weeks or months of rehabilitation depending on the age of the dog and the severity of the injury.

Types of fractures

When discussing broken canine bones, there are two main fracture types: incomplete and complete.

  • Incomplete. Incomplete fractures are very common in young animals and involve a bone that has been partially broken.
  • Complete. When the bone is entirely broken into two or more fragments, it is referred to as a “complete fracture.”

What are the signs that my dog has a fracture?

  • Lameness of the affected limb
  • Unwillingness or inability to walk
  • Abnormal movement
  • Swelling
  • Pain

If your dog has sustained a serious trauma like a car accident, look for possible systemic issues as well, such as bleeding and breathing changes.

My pet has been in an accident: What to do first

A bone fracture is both painful and dangerous for your dog. If your pet is displaying signs of a fracture, you’ll need to act quickly.

First, put your dog in a small box or crate to limit movement and call our Northridge office for direct instructions. Do not administer any medication until you receive approval. It’s important to get your pet to the vet’s office for an evaluation as soon as possible.

Fracture repair options

The goal of all fracture repair procedures is to stabilize and reposition the injured bones. In general, there are three ways to accomplish this: cast/splint, bone plating and external fixation devices.

Splint or cast

This approach is ideal for young animals with simple fractures. A cast will conform to the injured limb and is composed of padding and plaster, while a rigid splint is made of thermal plastic or aluminum.

Bone plating

Bone plating is the most common fracture repair option. It uses internal stainless steel or titanium plates held in place with screws to stabilize the broken bones.

External fixation devices

External fixation devices consist of multiple bars or rings that hold the injured bone in place during the healing process. They are often used to treat complex fractures.

Recovery: What to expect after your pet's fracture repair surgery

  • Bandage care. If your pet is being treated with a cast or splint, you will need to monitor this device carefully to prevent complications. Keep it clean and dry, and make sure your dog doesn’t chew on it.
  • Restrict activity. A period of restricted activity is critical to the healing process. Use baby gates to confine your pet to a small area of the house with carpeted floors. Do not allow playing, running or jumping and use a short leash for bathroom breaks.
  • Physical therapy. If the fracture was extensive, we may recommend a physical therapy program to help rehabilitate the muscles, nerves and blood vessels while restoring optimal muscle function.

Competitive pricing. Specialized procedures. Care you can trust.

Northridge Animal Medical Center is the premier destination for pets in need of surgery for fractures and broken bones. For over 40 years, we’ve been committed to keeping pets in Southern California healthy, happy and safe. We offer compassionate care, cutting-edge surgical procedures, and affordable pricing – ensuring that your best friend gets the care he or she needs to feel better.

Contact us today to learn more

Make an appointment today

If your dog is in need of surgery to treat hip dysplasia, a fracture, or a dislocated hip, contact our Northridge office today to schedule an appointment.

  • Monday 8:00am 7:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am 7:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am 7:00pm
  • Thursday 8:00am 7:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am 7:00pm
  • Saturday 9:00am 2:00pm
  • Sunday Closed Closed