What are Fractures?
A fracture is defined as a break in a bone. A pet that suffers from a broken bone is bound to be in pain and discomfort. There are many things that a pet owner should know with regards to broken limbs and bones.
When should I worry about a fracture?
Note: Fractures are at high risk of becoming seriously infected. If an abscess forms inside the limb, septicemia may result – a serious condition that can be life threatening. Watch for appetite changes or sudden loss of use of the limb – report this to your veterinarian.
What Causes Fractures?
The most common cause of broken bones in dogs and cats is car accidents. Other causes include:
- Dog fighting, or cat fights
- Falling from a table
- Falling off a moving vehicle truck
- Various diseases, including bone cancer.
Signs of a fracture or broken bone may include:
- Your pet may hold the broken limb in an abnormal position
- A very swollen limb
- An open wound with a piece of bone, sticking out
- Limping or being reluctant to put his/her weight on the particular limb
- Holding the leg up, avoiding any weight on it at all
- Your dog may not want the limb to be touched
The diagnosis of a fracture is usually made by taking an x-ray of your pet’s bones. Your vet’s goal to repair the fracture will be to reunite the pieces and restore full function. Treatment may include: Casts, pins/steel rods, orthopedic wire and bone plates. It is quite likely that your veterinarian will recommend surgery.
This is because casts or splints present major challenges in dogs and cats. After surgery, your job as pet owner will be to facilitate healing by keeping your animal from licking at the surgical incision. Also, watch for signs of pain – animals in chronic pain have difficulty getting comfortable and may be reluctant to sleep. Watch the limb for signs of swelling, redness, or discharge at the surgery site.
Help for Fractures
There are many herbal and homeopathic remedies that can help to soothe pain and help to boost the immune system when healing and recuperation is required. Astragalus membranaceous is an herb that has been used for many centuries as a revitalizing tonic during convalescence and recovery.
Echinacea angustifolia is the best known and researched herb for supporting the immune system with over 500 scientific studies documenting the effectiveness of this herb. To promote healing of injuries, Arnica is a highly respected remedy, helping to maintain the body’s own natural restorative functions, while Calendula is well known for its tonic effect on skin, bones, muscles and connective tissue.
More Information on Fractures
If you suspect your dog’s leg is broken, use a few pieces of newspaper, cardboard, or even a soft pillow to make a temporary splint while you get your pet to the vet.
Wrap these articles around the fracture (include the joint above and below the break) then secure it with tape – but not too tightly! If a car has hit an animal – use a firm surface (firm wood) to move the animal.