A fracture is a break in the continuity of a bone. All dogs are exposed to the risk of accidents and, therefore fractures, but dogs that are not very obedient or very shy, young dogs will be particularly at risk.
The most common causes of fractures are accidents: collision with a car or bicycle, fighting with another animal, falling from a window or balcony…
For some small dogs, the shock of falling from the owner’s arms or from a sofa may be enough to cause a fracture.
Other causes can also be responsible for fractures:
it can happen that a bone weakened by a pathology such as a bone tumour, for example, breaks even without an accident having occurred.
Most often, a fracture is a source of pain. Don’t try to touch it, as severe pain reactions can lead to reflex aggression and you may get bitten.
The dog will show symptoms related to the location of the fracture:
Lameness or even loss of support when the legs are broken,
Difficulty eating if there is a facial fracture,
Difficulty breathing with rib fractures,
Arched back or even symptoms of paralysis when the vertebrae are affected.
Swelling, a sign of trauma, is most often visible: the area is swollen, takes on a purplish colour… Be careful, however, these symptoms are not systematic.
Sometimes the end or ends of the broken bone tears the muscles and skin opposite the bone lesion. The bone may then protrude outwards. This is called an “open fracture”.
With internal injuries associated with fractures, the animal may be in a state of shock: it is unable to react, the tips of its legs are cold, its mucous membranes are pale and its breathing is accelerated. This condition is an absolute emergency and you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
The slightest of the signs mentioned above should, in any case, alert you and lead you to contact your veterinarian without delay. He will then be able to assess the situation, establish a diagnosis and set up an appropriate treatment.
How do you know if your dog’s foot is broken?
Faced with symptoms suggestive of a fracture, the veterinarian will first perform a clinical examination to confirm or not his hypothesis. The symptoms described above are not specific to a fracture and can be linked to many other pathologies.
To confirm the diagnosis, X-rays of the affected area are necessary. They are usually taken from several different angles, which not only makes it possible to check whether or not there is a fracture, but also to see how the bone is fractured and how the bone ends are placed. The treatment will depend on the type of fracture observed.
In addition, if your dog has suffered a trauma, the veterinarian may need to perform a variety of tests such as additional x-rays, a blood test, or an ultrasound to make sure there are no other injuries. Some internal injuries can be much more serious and therefore more urgent to treat than the fracture itself.