What You Need to Do If Your Dog Breaks a Leg

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Did you know that you're a biped? Did you know that your dog is a quadruped? This is because you walk on two legs, and your dog walks on four legs. Does this mean that your dog is twice as likely to suffer from a broken leg? Perhaps not, but a broken leg in dogs requires an immediate visit to a vet who offers emergency pet services. It doesn't matter whether your dog has fallen down, had something fall on them, or has broken their leg in another way. Your poor pet needs to have that leg treated immediately.

Muzzling Your Dog 

Your dog will be in a considerable amount of pain. While they would not do so out of malice, they might snap at you as you attempt to examine their injury, and when you try to move them. If your dog has a muzzle, put it on them before proceeding. If you don't already have a muzzle, you can quickly make an improvised version out of cloth bandages. Now that your dog has been appropriately restrained, you can examine their damaged leg.

Types of Fractures

There are two main ways in which your dog can break their leg. An open fracture is a break accompanied by a wound, with the bone either visible or even protruding through the skin. A closed fracture is when the tissue around the bone has remained intact. Even though the wound might be bleeding (as can be the case with an open fracture), do not attempt to apply any type of antiseptic ointment to it. You would do this out of concern about infection, but it can further aggravate your dog's injury. Apply a piece of sterile gauze to the wound, using light pressure to control the bleeding. Alternatively, you could use a clean tea towel or a sanitary pad. Do not use paper towels. Parts of the paper might become caught in the wound, and it needs to be kept as clean as possible under the circumstances.

Splinting the Leg

You can splint the leg before you take your dog to your vet, particularly if it will take some time for you to drive there. If your vet is nearby, it can be more prudent to simply carry your dog to the car (using the utmost care) and go to the vet clinic. If you feel a splint is necessary, avoid rigid materials, such as sticks or pieces of plastic. These will need to be tied into place, and this cannot be done without causing your dog further pain. Instead, use cardboard, or even a newspaper or a magazine. These materials can be wrapped around the leg before being gently knotted into place. This is of course just a stopgap measure, but it can immobilise your dog's leg until your vet has a chance to examine it.

If your dog appears to be in distress and is unable to walk on a particular leg, or refuses to walk at all, it can be a clear sign that their leg is broken or at least severely injured, so you need to get them to a vet clinic straightaway.

For more information, contact an emergency pet service like Wakeley Veterinary Hospital.

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