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A fracture or broken bone can occur to any bony structure in the body. For most fractures to occur, bone must be exposed to unusual pressure or trauma. Abnormal, damaged or weakened bone may fracture with normal movement and handling.

Fractures can range widely in severity, pain and associated soft tissue injury. In some cases, serious nerve or blood vessel damage is possible.

Common signs include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • History of trauma (especially being hit by cars, falls and serious limb trauma)
  • Lameness (mild to very severe)
  • External wounds
  • Reluctance to move, jump or climb stairs
  • Holding limbs or body in abnormal positions

Diagnosis is based on history, symptoms, examination findings and x-rays.

Treatment varies widely based on the site, type and severity of the fracture. Most fractures require external stabilization that may consist of casts, splints, severe exercise restriction and/or internal surgical repair using bone pins, plates, wires or other devices.

Proper stabilization is essential to healing and greatly improves the possibility for return to normal function. Stabilization decreases pain and the potential for additional damage to surrounding tissues. It is imperative to work closely with your veterinarian during fracture treatment. Complications are much more likely to occur in pets that are not monitored carefully.

Important Points

Use all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Be sure to follow all activity restriction instructions from your veterinarian.
  • Carefully follow any splint, cast, or post surgical instructions- these could be the difference between a successful recovery and further problems.
  • Monitor your pet carefully and have him/her rechecked as recommended by your veterinarian.

If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your Banfield hospital today.