Checking for a Dog Fracture after an Accident

If your dog has been in an automobile accident, fallen or suffered another physical trauma, check for a dog fracture. Remember that your dog may be in extreme pain so use caution when dealing with an injured dog.

Finding a Dog Fracture

There are two types of fractures: simple and compound. Simple fractures consist of a simple break with no bone protruding through the skin. Compound fractures involve breaks that have torn through flesh and are protruding outside the skin, which significantly increases the risk of infection.

Compound fractures are easy to diagnose, because you can easily see them. Simple fractures are more difficult to find.

If your dog has a fractured limb, he won't be able to put pressure on that limb, and it may be set at a strange angle that will be obvious to detect. The limb also may be swollen or painful to the touch, causing your dog to yelp or snap when you touch it.

Fractures in other bones may not be as obvious. A fracture in the jaw would prevent your dog from opening and closing his jaw properly, and a fracture in the rib cage may cause labored, painful or frothy breathing. There will also be tremendous pain and possibly swelling associated with the area.

If your dog has fractured his spinal column, he will probably be unconscious or immobile. If this is the case, don't waste time looking for a fracture. Immediately take your dog to an emergency clinic for treatment. Move the dog as securely as possible using a board, sheet or other secure material. These fractures can cause death or paralysis, so act quickly.

If your dog is conscious, moving and not showing signs of neurological damage, check his body for cuts, scrapes and objects that may be lodged in his skin. After removing any foreign objects, gently check the limbs and rib cage for fractures.

Treating a Dog Fracture

If you find any potential fractures, immobilize the area as much as possible by making a splint with a piece of wood or rolled up magazine or newspaper. Place the sturdy substance on each side of the break, if possible, and wrap gauze or other fabric, such as torn up clothing, to secure it.

Move your dog carefully with the help of someone else or by using a sheet or other object to hoist the dog. Place him as securely as possible in your car and take him to an emergency clinic.

If your dog is biting or snapping when you come in contact with the fractured area, first muzzle him before securing the fracture. If you don't have a muzzle, place a loop in a leash or long piece of fabric, loop it over your dog's nose and mouth and then quickly wrap the remainder around the mouth a few times and tie it tightly.

If you even suspect a fracture, visit your veterinarian. Risk of infection and permenant damage increases with time.