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Fracture Repairs in Dogs and Cats

Reviewed by Dr Richard Looi, Registrar in Surgery

Fracture repairs in dogs and cats are one of the most common types of surgery performed at SASH. The procedure falls into a general category of surgery known as “orthopaedic surgery”, which deals largely with bones and muscles. Understanding how to manage and what is involved with fractures is crucial for your dog or cat’s well-being. In this article, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for canine fractures, emphasising the importance of appropriate veterinary care.

Common causes of fractures in dogs and cats

Fractures in dogs and cats can occur from several reasons. However, at SASH the vast majority of fracture repairs are performed on pets that have suffered trauma (e.g. car accident, fall from height, etc) or have sustained an injury.

Symptoms of fractures in dogs and cats

There following are a list of symptoms to look out for to help identify a facture in dogs and cats:

  • Limping or lameness are one of the most common symptoms of a fracture if it is in a limb
  • Swelling or inflammation around the affected area
  • Signs of pain such as whimpering, reluctance to move, or sensitivity when touched
  • Visible deformities such as abnormal limb positioning or visible bone protrusion

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care immediately.

Suspected fractures in dogs and cats

Even though pets may show signs of fracture, the most reliable way to confirm a fracture is to consult a veterinarian. There are other diseases and conditions that may also show similar symptoms.

Attempting to treat a fracture at home can lead to improper healing, chronic pain, and even permanent disability. Specialist veterinary care ensures that your dog receives the correct diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to their specific needs, taking into account pain management, proper bone healing, and restoring quality of life.

The processes involved with fracture repairs in dogs and cats

The fracture repair process begins with a thorough examination and diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays, to determine the extent of the injury. Based on this assessment, your veterinarian will recommend the most appropriate treatment plan, which may include:

  • Stabilisation: Ensuring the dog is stable and managing any shock or severe pain.
  • Surgical intervention: Surgery might be necessary to realign and stabilise the bones.
  • Non-surgical treatment: For less severe fractures, splints or casts might be used.

Your veterinarian will guide you through each step, ensuring that your dog receives the best possible care.

Types of fracture repair surgery for dogs and cats

There are different surgical options available for fractures in dogs, depending on the severity and location of the break. Generally speaking, surgeons will have access to a number of tools such as surgical pins, plates, and screws, using one or a combination of them to repair the fracture. Your SASH Surgeon may also categorise the surgical fracture repair as being “simple” or “complex” based on the type of repair and what will be involved with the surgery. This will be discussed with you in detail during a consult with the SASH Surgeon. It is difficult to determine what technique will be used without having assessed the patient.

xray of fracture before and after repair
Before and after X-rays showing how a fracture can be repaired. This is considered to be a “simple” fracture repair.

Recovery and Rehabilitation after fracture repairs in dogs and cats

Post-treatment, your dog will require a period of recovery and rehabilitation to ensure proper healing. This includes:

  • Keeping your pet confined for a number of weeks to limit activities that could stress the healing bone
  • Physical and rehabilitation therapy have been clinically proven to assist with recovery from fracture repairs
  • Veterinary follow-ups will also be required at specific intervals to ensure everything is healing as expected

Your SASH team will provide a detailed recovery plan tailored to your dog or cat’s needs.

Choosing the right veterinary hospital for fracture repairs in dogs and cats

Selecting the right veterinary hospital is crucial for your dog’s recovery. Look for a hospital with:

At SASH, we pride ourselves on offering comprehensive fracture repair services, the country’s broadest team of collaborative specialists, and combining advanced medical techniques with compassionate care to ensure your pet’s swift recovery.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your pet.

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SASH is home to some of Australia’s leading specialists and veterinary experts. If you have any concerns about your pet, please get in touch with us.

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