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If your cat or dog gets a bone fracture, he or she needs to see one of our veterinarians, and fast. Besides the extreme discomfort of a broken bone, a fracture can be a life-threatening injury. Our concern here at Fullerton Animal Hospital is to see pets as quickly as possible to administer the treatment necessary for a complete recovery.
A fracture is caused whenever there is too much stress placed on a bone. Most often this is caused by blunt force trauma, such as when pets are hit by a car, but it can also be caused by rough play and handling. A joint fracture, especially of the elbow, is most likely to be caused when the pet jumps off a couch, chair, or the owner’s arms.
No matter where your pet has a broken bone, he or she needs to be brought to the veterinary as soon as possible. Dangerous breaks can threaten your pet’s life because of excessive bleeding or injury to adjacent organs. A spinal cord break can have devastating consequences and only quick medical care can lessen the damage to the pet. The four classifications of pet bone fractures are described below.
With a closed fracture, the bone is indeed broken, but it does not pierce the skin.
A greenstick fracture occurs when the bone is cracked but remains in place.
The most serious kind of break, with a compound fracture the bone pierces through the skin of the cat or dog. The big risk with these breaks is exposure to contaminants in the environment that could lead to infection. These breaks need treatment immediately.
These fractures occur in young cats and dogs. When pets are less than one year old, the bones are still soft at the tip of the long bone – the area from which the growing takes place. These growth plates are susceptible to breakage because they are immature and still weak.
Not all fracture symptoms are obvious, and may show up as nothing more than a slight limp. With a spinal cord fracture, the dog or cat may be unable to walk. If the pet has a broken leg, he or she will not let it touch the ground and put no weight on it.
Once our veterinarians assess the injury to your pet, treatment can range from applying a splint or cast to surgery. Surgical intervention may involve using plates, screws or pins to realign the bone. What treatment we use depends on factors that include age of the pet, the type of break and the bone that is fractured. Treating compound fractures requires the most care because of the risk of infection.
No matter how serious you think your pet’s break is or is not, please bring him in as soon as possible so our veterinarians can address his pain and administer the most effective treatment.
For more information, please call us at (410) 665-6996