Dog Friendly Tips: Broken Bones
You may find, when you examine an injured pet, that it has a broken bone. You should be familiar with certain first aid techniques to prevent additional damage to the pet.
A broken leg is the most common dog fracture and requires immediate attention. Care involves straightening the leg and immobilising it. Sometimes this takes courage. A splint is needed. The leg should be tied to the splint below and above the break and wrapped with anything suitable to hold it securely in place until you can get the dog to the vet.
A splint should be applied at once. If the broken bone slashes about the flesh, it can easily cut a major vein, artery, or nerve, and then the area around the break will become a large pocket filled wiith blood, greatly complicating the task of setting. It is just as important to splint a partially broken bone. Movement or a fall may break it further.
If ribs are broken, keep the dog quiet. It is possible for ribs to puncture lungs, so lay the dog down on its back or side with the broken ribs facing up and keep it as calm as possible until the vet can look at the problem.
An untreated fractured pelvis heals slowly. No home treatment can be done to repair pelvic breaks or to hasten the natural process of reconstruction. Occasionally only one side is broken and the dog can continue to walk on three legs. More often the pelvis is fractured in such a way as to preclude walking until the usual numbness develops, deadening the pain in the area. Even after a vet has treated the dog, for several days after the break it may be unable to raise itself without help.
Gradually it takes a few unsteady steps and waddles about. Don't expect your dog to run for at least a month after the break. Even after the healing is well started you may have to help it up, carry it outside, and sometimes hold it in a position to defecate.
Some dogs learn why they are being taken outside surprisingly soon and, as quickly as they are placed in position, will void.
Standing the dog uplhill putting pressure on the bladder from both sides usually causes urination, and it is not uncommon to have a dog so cooperative that just touching its sides is suggestion enough for it to urinate.
Since the nature of the fracture determines the treatment, X rays are a must in suspected pelvic fractures. Not unusually one or more of the six pelvic bones are fractured along wiith the tensor; if the femoral fracture is overlooked, the dog could be crippled for the remainder of its life.
Few brokers bones are irreparable. Many broken backs are set and immobilized so dogs can live normally again. Palpation will usually determine where the tips of the vertebrae are out of line. If you suspect that your pet has a broken back, get it to the vet with as little jolting as you can. The spinal cord is a delicate structure. If the dog is to survive, the nerve damage must beheld to a minimum.
Once again, X rays are a great help in predicting the possibilities of surgical repair if the cord is not severed, or for euthanasia if the damage indicates the pet will never walk again.
One of the more common spinal fractures comes at the point inside the body where the tail vertebrae start. In such a fracture the tail hangs limp and lifeless. Sometimes there is enough muscular strength remaining to move it slightly. It is often soiled with faeces because the dog cannot raise it to defecate.
Even if the tail is not set, it may retain its movement, but more often the tail loses all its feeling and dries up. In this case, the vet will have to open the skin over the fracture and remove the tail.