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Edmonton AB, T6J 5P4

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Your Local Vet Clinic and Animal Hospital

Canine Fracture Care: Understanding and Managing Broken Legs in Dogs

Canine Fracture Care

Dogs, much like their human companions, are susceptible to fractures, commonly known as broken legs. These injuries can result from accidents like falls or collisions and vary significantly in severity and complexity. Timely and effective treatment is crucial for the well-being of the affected canine and to ensure a full recovery.

Types of Fractures in Dogs

Fractures can be classified into several categories, including:

  • Simple fractures, where the bone is broken in one place and not protruding through the skin.
  • Compound fractures, which involve a broken bone puncturing the skin, creating a higher risk of infection.
  • Comminuted fractures, where the bone is shattered into multiple pieces.
  • Greenstick fractures, more common in puppies, where the bone bends and cracks but doesn’t break completely due to the young age of the bone.

Symptoms of a Broken Leg

The indicators of a fracture can vary but generally include:

  • Visible deformity or swelling.
  • Whining or vocalizing from pain.
  • Reluctance to use the limb or limping.
  • Excessive licking at the affected area.

Immediate Actions and First Aid

If you suspect your dog has a broken leg, immediate veterinary attention is required. It is crucial to keep the dog calm and immobile. If you must transport your dog, doing so on a flat surface such as a board or in a pet carrier can help prevent further injury.

Veterinary Diagnosis and Treatment

Upon arrival at a veterinary clinic, the medical team will conduct a thorough physical examination and likely use diagnostic imaging, such as pet X-rays, to ascertain the type and extent of the fracture.

Treatment options may include:

  • Splints or casts for simple fractures, to immobilize the bone and allow it to heal.
  • Surgery, which may involve the use of pins, plates, or screws, is often required for more complex fractures.
  • Pain management with prescribed medications.
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises may be recommended for a full recovery.

Post-Treatment Care at Home

Aftercare at home is crucial for recovery. It often involves:

  • Ensuring your dog rests and avoids strenuous activity.
  • Keeping any casts or bandages dry and clean.
  • Administering all prescribed medications.
  • Follow-up visits to the vet for monitoring the healing process.

Preventing Fractures in Dogs

While not all fractures can be prevented, certain measures can reduce the risk:

  • Keep a close watch on your dog to prevent accidents.
  • Maintain a healthy diet to ensure strong bones.
  • Puppy-proof your home to prevent falls or injuries to younger dogs.


A broken leg in a dog is a serious condition that demands prompt veterinary care and diligent follow-up treatment at home. Understanding the nature of fractures and the required care can significantly enhance a dog’s chances of a complete and swift recovery. With the right treatment plan and preventive measures, most dogs bounce back to their joyful, active selves.

For additional resources and insight on canine health and how to support your pet through recovery, consider visiting YEG Vet in Edmonton and engaging with communities of pet owners who have navigated similar experiences.

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