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Involved Fracture Repair 

Whether due to a sporting injury, fight with another animal or traumatic accident, pets can break their bones in many different ways. When these breaks or fractures occur, they can be classified as either complete or incomplete. 

An incomplete fracture occurs when the bone only breaks partway, whereas a complete fracture happens when the bone fully splits into at least two bone fragments. A complete bone fracture could also be transverse, oblique or comminuted — and it can even penetrate the skin.

While incomplete fractures can usually be repaired with a simple splint or cast, complete fractures often require more involved fracture repair approaches such as surgery or amputation.

At Foothills Pet Healthcare Clinic, we have a team of veterinarians and surgeons ready to handle your pet’s pre-surgery, post-surgery and rehab needs. By creating a personalized plan for the patient, we can help them receive the care they need to heal from their fracture and achieve a higher quality of life.

Which Pets Are Candidates for Involved Fracture Surgery?

Your pet may have suffered from a fracture if they are showing signs such as:

  • Increased attention toward the affected limb, like biting and licking
  • Swelling around the area
  • Holding up the affected limb
  • Difficulty applying weight to the limb
  • Inability to get up or walk

Along with displaying obvious indicators of pain, your pet could have also suffered from trauma to the abdomen or thoracic regions, resulting in anything from hemorrhage to organ damage.

Pets who have sustained major trauma, have multiple fractures or severe breaks and exhibit systemic symptoms can be considered candidates for surgery. For untreatable fractures, sometimes amputation is recommended. Even with amputation, dogs and cats can learn how to adapt and continue living long, healthy and active lives.

How Does an Involved Fracture Repair for Dogs and Cats Work?

To determine which procedure your pet would benefit the most from, your veterinarian will start by performing X-rays, ultrasounds and bloodwork. 

Fracture repair surgery usually involves either an internal or external fixation procedure. Both include the usage of hardware such as pins and rods. Several different options exist for amputations as well.

If the fracture is in the front leg, a scapulothoracic disarticulation amputation can be performed. With this procedure, the entire front leg is removed up to the shoulder blade.

If the fracture is in the back leg, surgeons can perform a high femur amputation, where the mid-thigh muscles are cut and the femur is cut by the hip. Another option is to amputate the leg right at the hip joint.

What Are the Expected Outcomes of Involved Fracture Repair Surgery?

Usually, your pet will need around six to eight weeks to heal with surgery. For amputations, you can expect them to be discharged around one week after their procedure. Their recovery time will vary on how fast their body heals and how easily they can adapt to having a missing limb. 

While outcomes are usually positive, it’s important to keep your dog or cat calm and prevent them from running around or doing any high-impact activities until they are fully healed. 

Be sure to also monitor the site for any signs such as swelling or formation of a neuroma, which is a nerve tumor. Other complications can include a hernia or hemorrhage. We will discuss exactly what to look for and how to keep your pet comfortable and pain-free as they heal. 

Schedule an Appointment to Meet Our Veterinarians and Create a Personalized Pet Treatment Plan 

No matter the type of fracture your pet has — or its severity — Foothills Pet Healthcare Clinic can recommend personalized solutions and deliver the best care.

To learn more about our involved fracture treatments for dogs and cats, we invite you to schedule an appointment by calling us at 336-789-0009 or by filling out our online contact form