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Bone Fractures in Dogs

The word fracture is another name for a broken bone. The word fracture does not imply the simple or complex nature of the break. Virtually all bones are susceptible to fracture, but fractures of the long weight bearing bones (humerus, radius, femur and tibia) and pelvis are most common. Simple non-displaced fractures can be repaired by external coaptation (splints and casts). Complicated and displaced fractures usually require some form of internal fixation. Internal fixation uses various types of hardware, such as plates, rods, nails, pins, wires, and screws for stabilization.


Splinting or casting may work in young animals with simple, non-displaced fractures. Bone plating is a frequently utilized, sophisticated form of treatment for many fractures. External fixation devices, such as ring fixators, are also used to repair certain types of fractures. These devices can also be used to elongate or straighten bones. The surgeons at Colorado Canine Orthopedics have over 50 years of combined experience in fracture fixation techniques. All animals with fractures receive medicine for pain relief. Hind limb fractures receive a morphine epidural. Many patients with hind limb fractures can be discharged from the hospital the day of surgery, the length of hospitalization for other fractures is usually one night.

Fracture healing and hence the duration of postoperative care, depend on the type of repair and the age of the patient. On average, patient activity is restricted 8-12 weeks. Less than 5% of patients will require implant removal due to adverse reaction.