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Fractures often occur in cats and dogs due to a trauma, such as jumping from a height or being struck by a vehicle. The severity of the fracture depends on the impact, location and age of the animal. A dog fracture or cat fracture may be hairline, multiple-piece or compound. A hairline fracture is a simple fracture with cracks in the middle of the bone. Multiple-piece fractures are ones where the bone has broken in several pieces. Compound fractures are ones when the bone is exposed. There are serious fractures and can cause infection and damage to the blood vessels and nerves.
Veterinarians complete a physical exam and take X-rays to access the fracture and determine how to repair and stabilize it. Depending on the nature of the fracture, internal stabilization or external stabilization may be recommended. The goal is to properly align the bone and hold it in place, so healing can take place. External stabilization entails the use of casts, splints or padded bandages to immobilize simple fractures like a hairline fracture. Internal stabilization entails a surgical procedure. A metal pin is placed into the bone and acts as a splint. Often, this is done for a fracture of the hip or leg. The surgical repair for multiple-piece fractures is a bit more complicated. Pins, metal plates and screws are often used to replace the pieces of the bone.
Healing from a fracture takes place from the inside out. Specialized cells known as osteoblasts enter the fractured site to mend the bone. Healing time varies depending on the severity of the fracture and the age of the pet. While it may take young pets several weeks to heal, it can take months for an older pet to heal.
If you suspect that your pet has incurred a bone fracture, it’s important to take your pet to a veterinarian for assessment and treatment. Try to minimize movement when doing this. And if the bone is exposed, cover the injury with a clean, damp cloth.
Central Animal Hospital in Scarsdale is the Scarsdale animal hospital to turn to if your pet has a bone fracture. Our skilled and caring vets will evaluate your pet through a physical examination and X-rays and advise you of the best course of action to take. If internal stabilization is needed, your pet will be put under anesthesia and intubated. During surgery, we carefully monitor your pet’s heart rate, respiration rate, oxygenation levels and body temperature. After surgery, we’ll leave you with detailed instructions for aftercare. We may also recommend follow-up visits, so we can monitor your pet’s recovery. And if your pet is injured after clinic hours, we’ll refer you to the Veterinary Emergency Group for immediate care.
If you think that your four-legged companion has suffered a fracture, give us a call at 914-723-1250. We’ll advise you on how to proceed.