A fracture of the front and hind legs of a dog is a serious injury, which is characterized by severe pain and impaired motor function. Pet owners should know what symptoms accompany this pathological condition, and what to do in such cases.
Types of Fractures
Veterinarians identify several varieties of fractures, each of which has its own characteristics. More about them:
- Crack. The easiest form, symptoms are often absent altogether. It can be confused with a bruise. Sometimes a cautious gait of the animal or slight lameness is alarming. In this case, the pet remains active. Pathology can be diagnosed only after an X-ray examination.
- Hammered in. It occurs mainly in puppies and dogs of large breeds. Not accompanied by severe damage to internal tissues, the clinical picture is smeared. Bone fragments enter each other. If assistance is not provided in a timely manner, then they may shift.
- Closed without bias. Damaged bones remain in place. There are noticeable pains, impaired motor function.
- Closed with offset. Bones are not only damaged, but also change their anatomical position. There is a risk of injury to organs and large vessels.
- Open. Severe injury with damage to bones, internal tissues, joints. There may be ruptures of blood vessels.
Of course, the owners are concerned about the question of how to determine a dog’s paw fracture. A similar injury is characterized by several symptoms. Here is a list of them:
- Severe edema in the area of damage.
- The presence of a hematoma.
- The increase in size, the asymmetry of the damaged limb.
- Pain on palpation.
- The animal is not able to lean on a sore paw. The dog is trying to keep her weight.
- Lame when moving, can move on three limbs.
- Unnatural mobility of a sick paw.
With an open fracture, the clinical picture is clearer. A bone fragment can be seen, clearly visible through the damaged skin. In some cases (if vessels are affected), bleeding is present.
Often, the dog is also characterized by other signs associated with the general condition of the body. Among them:
- restless behavior;
- lack of appetite.
With severe pain, pain shock may develop.
If a pet is found to be injured, the owner should immediately contact a veterinary clinic for specialized help. The faster you do it, the better.
A competent sequence of actions at home is very important so as not to harm the animal. With an open fracture, the priority is to stop bleeding. To do this, apply a tourniquet from improvised materials above the wound site and tighten it tightly. Further, the wound surface should be cleaned of splinters and contaminants, and treated with an antiseptic solution (hydrogen peroxide, miramistin). Alcohol and alcohol-containing drugs can not be used. The next step is to apply a bandage to the wound in order to avoid infection.
Self-correcting bone fragments is strictly prohibited! This is very painful and there is a high risk of rupture of blood vessels. The dog needs complete rest and immobilization of the limb. The paw is fixed on the improvised device (plywood, wooden board, thick cardboard) with a scarf or belt. When transporting a pet to the clinic, it should be placed in the back seat of the car. If it is a miniature breed, then boxing or carrying is suitable. In extreme cases, it is allowed to hold the animal in its arms.
The veterinarian selects the tactics for treating a paw fracture in a dog based on the complexity of the injury. First, diagnostic measures are carried out. After using painkillers and muscle relaxants, the doctor examines the pet and prescribes an x-ray. It can be made in several projections. If there is a suspicion of internal damage, it is advisable to perform an ultrasound scan or magnetic resonance imaging.
Conservative methods of treatment are rarely used. The doctor adjusts the displaced bone fragments with subsequent immobilization. To immobilize the damaged bone, he uses a special bandage that restricts the movement of the paw. It can be removed in 1-1.5 months. For small breeds, this period is less than about 20 days, for older dogs more, up to 50-60 days. The entire period must be carefully monitored so that there is no compression of the soft tissues with the tire. Otherwise, there is a risk of complications in the form of compression of blood vessels.
Most cases (approximately 90%) of fractures of the extremities in dogs require surgical intervention. Osteosynthesis is performed (bone-splicing operation) using pins, brackets, screws, plates. In recent years, with the development of new technologies, veterinarians began to use not only metal devices, but also polymer ones.
Quality designs can withstand loads similar to those on healthy limbs. After the bones physiologically return to their previous state, the consumable is removed.
In surgical practice, several types of treatment are used. More about them:
- Kishner's apparatus. The design of a metal rod and self-tapping rods is used for intraarticular fractures.
- The apparatus of Ilizarov. It is represented by knitting needles and metal rings that securely fix bone fragments.
- Internal fixation. The most difficult operation. The surgeon must have the necessary qualifications and sufficient experience for its high-quality performance. The pins are inserted directly into the tubular bones. They do not go away over time, but remain for life.
All surgical interventions are performed under general anesthesia. The best option is inhalation anesthesia. Doctors say that the animal tolerates the operation easier and quickly comes to its senses.
After osteosynthesis, a course of antibiotics is prescribed for ten days to prevent infection. Stitches are processed every day. If the dog needs pain medication, then it is allowed to give it analgin. Dosage is selected individually depending on the weight of the pet. In some cases, it is advisable to take vitamins and immunomodulators.
In order for the fracture to grow together better, the owner must provide the dog with maximum peace. If the animal makes an attempt to lick the injured area, then a special bounding collar must be put on it. To accelerate tissue regeneration, it is useful to carry out physiotherapeutic procedures (for example, ultraviolet radiation or shock wave therapy).
A month after the operation, a control x-ray study is performed to assess the effectiveness of the intervention and make sure that the bone is growing together correctly.
The prognosis is usually favorable. On average, after a couple of weeks, the formation of connective tissue callus begins. Bone fragments grow together after about 40 days. When bone marrow is formed, the dog begins to slowly rely on the damaged limb. Of course, recovery times may vary. It depends on the age of the animal, the severity of the injury and other factors. For example, small and decorative breeds recover more slowly. About six months after the injury, you should try to avoid strong loads on the paws and sharp jumps.
If the dog’s fracture of the front or hind paw was carried out correctly and in a timely manner, then the bones grow together in the shortest possible time and without unpleasant consequences. After about 2-4 months, the pet will feel healthy and active.