Pet Emergency Clinic

SW Louisiana's After Hours Pet Hospital!



Posted by petemergencyclinic on December 7, 2014 at 6:55 PM

Dear Fellow Pet Lovers,


I recently treated a beautiful young "teenager" kitten with an unknown injury that resulted in a broken leg. This incident inspired me to go through some information about fractures (broken legs) with you. So here goes...


Usually, for a bone to break, the trauma must be pretty significant. Often cars do the job but sometimes falls and rough play can do it too. When you bring your pet in with an obviously-broken leg, you may notice that, after an initial glance, we are looking at almost every body part of the pet except for the break. Why?


Because, usually a fracture is not life-threatening itself, but trauma bad enough to create a break may be. So we want to be sure that your pet is OK overall before we directly address the fracture.


Regarding "fracture-speak," fracture is a term for any broken bone, whether it is cracked or broken in two. We call a bone broken into multiple fragments a "communuted fracture, " and a fracture where a bone breaks through the skin is called an "open fracture." [Formerly called compound]


As a general rule of thumb, fractures above the elbow and knee require surgery to repair them. And MANY of those below the elbow and knee require surgery too, though some of them may be splinted.


Usually, at the ER, our job is to assess the trauma, be sure that there is not a life-threatening condition present, and then temporarily handle the fracture pending definitive repair at your home clinic. Orthopedics can be difficult, and not every DVM has all the equipment to perform every possible repair. We are lucky that, in Lake Charles, we do have a veterinarian who can perform many different types of orthopedic surgery. If your DVM needs to refer, that person is a good asset.


Fractures may be repaired via pins, wires, plates, screws, or a combination of the above.


So, if your pet receives a broken bone, get veterinary help immediately. How fast you act will have a definite effect on the results of any later work that is done.



You CAN do something about pet illness.


That is all.



Dr. John Emerson, Pet Emergency Clinic

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