Dogs, especially puppies are quite happy, playful, and adventurous creatures that love to explore and often they get themself into trouble. It is not that uncommon that the puppy comes back to his owner limping on his front leg and showing signs of severe pain. If the owner tries to touch the elbow, the dog may even become defensive.
This is when it is smart to take your k-9 to the vet and check what has happened.
What do we need to know about elbow fractures?
This condition is often seen in puppies and the reason for that is because they are mischievous and they like to jump from higher places or their owner’s hands. Puppies aged 4-5 months are the most common patients that are seen with this type of injury because their bones are still soft and the medial and lateral condyles are still not fused.
In older dogs or dogs that have completed their growth, this type of injury can occur as a result of a genetic trait, where the ossification of the humerus condyles is incomplete. During growth, in some dogs, the two condyles never actually come together and fuze, which leaves a thin cartilage line between them. This is where the fracture usually happens because this is the weakest link in the bone.
What are the clinical signs that owners see if their dog has a broken elbow?
If any of you have ever had a broken hand or leg, you know how that pain feels. It is the same for your dog. You may notice that your dog does not want to stand or if they do, they are holding the leg up and they don’t bear weight on it. Whenever you try to touch it, if they allow you, they may end up screaming in pain and you can feel cracking. The pain comes from rubbing the bone onto a bone. This is why you should not try to do anything on your own, but bring your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
How do vets diagnose elbow fractures in dogs?
It is very easy to be suspicious of a fracture – you bring the dog to your vet, it is crying in pain, limping, and does not allow it to be touched where it hurts. But, we need to be certain when giving a diagnosis, because the complexity of it will depend on the treatment and finally the cost for the owner.
Usually, the dog will be sedated for its comfort and the veterinary staff’s safety and then taken for an x-ray. However, an X-ray will not be enough so the dog may need to be sent to CT. If your dog was injured in a car accident, then it will be further assessed, just in case there is something bigger lurking under it.
Treatment option for a broken elbow in dogs
Well, the only way this will be fixed is through surgery. The approach and type of surgery depend on the type, the correct location, and the complexity of the fracture. Rest assured, board-certified orthopedic surgeons live for this, meaning they always love a good challenge and they will make sure that they do the very best to get your dog on the road to recovery.
But, have in mind that the surgical part is the easy part. Post-op care is the most important part of the healing process, which is why it is important for owners to strictly follow the vet’s recommendations. If they do, then there is no reason why their dog should not go back to being its old self in just a couple of months.
Depending on the complexity of the surgery, the owner may need to pay between $1500-$3000