Fractures are among the most common orthopedic problems that every vet sees during his work. Dogs can get clumsy and stick their dog where they shouldn’t, but the easiest way for the dog to get a fractured leg is when they are hit by a car. This traumatic situation usually required immediate veterinary attention, because in many cases, after a trauma such as a car hit, the dog may have internal bleeding too.
I think my dog has broken its leg, what should I do?
You take it to the vet! When you arrive there the vet will ask you a bunch of questions about how and when the injury happened. Then he will try to do a thorough physical exam and try to assess the fracture like that. In cases when the animal is in a lot of pain, assessment won’t be possible while they are still awake. After the dog is sedated and examined, the next thing to do is an x-ray and in some cases CT.
How is the broken leg fixed in dogs?
Depending on the type and location and severity of the fracture, the vet will usually suggest either putting on a cast to stabilize the fracture or going for surgical stabilization and fixation. No vet would want to do surgery if they don’t need to, but then as an owner, that means that if your dog gets a cast, he needs to have it for at least for 4 weeks, and the dog also needs to be on cage rest most of the time. Dogs are not creatures that want to have stuff on them, so you need to be aware that they may try to chew the cast and the bandages.
The second way, the surgical of course, is more complicated as the animal needs to go under general anesthesia, and depending on the type of the fracture and its complexity, the surgeon may choose to put plates and screws or go for external fixation, or use pins. This of course also means that after the dog gets home it will need to be on cage rest for at least 4 weeks.
What can happen to my dog if the broken leg is not fixed?
Bones in dogs, especially young ones, are really good at healing when they are properly fixed by the vet. However, if you choose not to tend the fracture, the bone may not heal, the dog will probably be in constant pain and infection may happen if the fracture is open. If the fracture is closed, then it will probably heal on its own, but it won’t heal the proper way, which means that your dog will most likely have long-term consequences and possibly be in pain. If the fracture is open, then it will probably develop an infection, and bone infections are pretty much impossible to deal with, so your dog will probably end up losing the leg.
The total price that you may need to pay will be between $500 and $3000 and it will depend on what needs to be done. Of course, if the vet only chooses to put a cast, this will probably cost around $1000 with all the examination and x-ray included.
But if your dog has a complicated fracture and he needs to stay in the hospital for observation, then this most certainly will cost more.