Long Term Care for a Dog Leg Injury

A dog leg injury can be a frightening event both for you and your dog. Dogs are prone to injuries such as dragging leg or a dog leg sprain. In order to avoid any further discomfort and to ensure proper healing, careful rehabilitation and attention to preventing post-injury complications can help your pet make a quick recovery.

Step 1: Find Out How Your Dog's Leg Is Injured

Dogs can suffer a wide variety of leg injuries, especially fractured or broken bones. Depending on the severity of the injury, simple casts or splints can be applied to help mend the bone while other more serious injuries may require surgery. The veterinarian can determine which course of action is needed by first taking an X-ray of the wounded leg. The damage can be assessed and a healing regimen can be prescribed to repair the broken or fractured bones in the leg.

Step 2: Determine the Method of Healing

In those fortunate cases where an injury would heal through application of a splint or a cast, the dog will wear the device for the period of time in which the veterinarian feels rendering the leg immobile will promote complete healing. However, non-surgical repairs are not an exact science and there remain the possibilities that the leg may never fully heal to the condition it was in before the injury. In some more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to restore your dog's leg.

Step 3: Follow Your Veterinarian's Instructions

If your dog must wear a splint or a cast, try to keep him off his injured leg as much as possible until healing is complete. Post-surgery requires more complicated care:

In instances where surgery is the only option to repair the injury, the veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics to ward off any post-operative infections and a proper recovery period avoiding strenuous exercise or energetic activities in order to give the leg time to properly heal. After surgery, there are important duties to perform to avoid any post-op complications; wrapping and unwrapping the surgical bandages to check whether the surgical incision is coming open, monitoring the leg for any odors or swelling near the toes or any other part of the leg, proper cleaning of the surgical incision as well as monitoring of any scabbing, and of course, changing the bandages routinely to avoid infection.

Step 4: Rehabilitate Your Dog

As time passes, rehabilitation can begin. This will usually consist of a graduated scale of exercise, increasing in length of time and low-to-high impact until eventually the dog is using his leg without discomfort just as it was before the injury. These exercises begin with the basics; slow leash walking in small increments of time. Once the dog feels the leg getting stronger, it can increase the weight on the leg, whether in an active outdoor environment or doing something as simple as getting off the floor of the living room. Soon, the training regimen can become more strenuous until eventually the dog returns to normal movement.

Follow-up visits to the veterinarian are also important to monitor the dog's progress and catch any symptoms of complication before they become bigger problems that could entail more pain and discomfort for your pet. The veterinarian will spot these obstacles to recovery a lot quicker than the pet owner, and in the event of any aggravations to the leg or changes in the animal's behavior, it is best to alert a professional immediately.