Fracture Repair

fractured bone repair for pets

A fracture is the term used to describe a broken bone. There are many different types of fractures, named according to the location of the fracture, how complex the fracture is, and whether or not the bone(s) has punctured through the skin.

Unfortunately, injuries happen and sometimes your pet can sustain a painful fracture. When this occurs, your pet should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible and, in some cases, surgery is required to repair the fracture.

At Roanoke Animal Hospital, our team of veterinarians may be able to detect if your pet has a fracture just by examining your pet for limping, pain or swelling. Sometimes, we can feel instability or a grinding sensation between the ends of the broken bones. However, X-rays are necessary to confirm the diagnosis of a fracture. Because fractures can be painful, often pain medications are recommended before performing X-rays.

How do I know if my pet may have a fractured bone?

Sometimes your pet sustains a traumatic event, such as a car accident, that may lead to your pet fracturing a bone. Other times you may not be aware of any traumatic event but your pet may have symptoms of a fracture.

Because a fracture is painful, if your pet has sustained a fracture, it will normally be unable to bear weight or stand on the affected limb. Sometimes, your pet will not get up or walk at all. There may also be soft tissue swelling in the region of the fracture or you may notice an open wound in the skin.

If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, they should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Fracture FAQs

If your pet has a fracture, the X-rays can be used to help determine the best method to repair the broken bone. The main objectives of any fracture repair are to promote rapid healing of the fracture and to get the pet to use its leg as quickly as possible. In general, there are three ways to accomplish this: a cast or splint, external fixation devices, and internal fixation with a bone plate or rod.

If surgery is recommended, bone plating is the most commonly utilized fracture repair option which uses various metal surgical implants such as pins, plates, wires, and/or screws to stabilize the broken bones.

The decision as to which technique is recommended and used depends on a number of factors including the type of fracture your pet has experienced, other injuries your pet may have suffered, the age of your pet, the temperament of your pet, and financial considerations. Depending on the location and severity of the fracture, Roanoke Animal Hospital is able to repair your pet’s fracture with bone plating. Call us today for an appointment if you suspect your pet may have a fractured bone that needs repair.

Despite best efforts, fracture repair surgery can carry a risk of problems and complications. Although these surgical complications are uncommon at Roanoke Animal Hospital, they can include infections, poor bone healing, and implant failure or breakage.

Fractures that involve joints can lead to arthritis which may require long-term management. Before any treatment is started, all aspects of your pet’s care, including the risk of complications, will be discussed in detail during your initial consultation. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Typically, most fractures can be effectively repaired allowing the majority of animals to regain excellent use of their broken limb and enjoy a normal quality of life.

In many cases, your pet can return to normal activity levels within three to four months after repair. However, if the original fracture involved a joint, your pet may develop some lameness, decreased range of motion, stiffness, or arthritis over time.

The aftercare for a pet with a broken bone is variable and depends on the type of fracture, the type of surgery that has been performed, and the nature of the pet. Most pets can be allowed to use the leg following surgery. However, your pet should be controlled on a leash during this recovery period as an unrestricted activity such as running or jumping can increase complications.

In some cases, your pet may need to be restricted to a crate or a small room, especially when they are not supervised. A rehabilitation program may be recommended to help improve your pet’s recovery and healing. X-rays are typically repeated at six to eight weeks after surgery. Once an X-ray has shown the broken bone has completely healed, normal activity can usually be resumed.

Book an Appointment

If your pet is sick and needs to be seen within the next 48 hours, please call or text our hospital at 540-343-8021 to speak directly to a team member.