At South Cranbourne Veterinary Surgery, we are equipped to perform fracture repairs for a variety of injuries. While there are some complicated injuries that still require specialised equipment and a specialist surgeon to perform the procedure, we are able to repair many common fractures in pets.
These radiographs (x-rays) are of a 6-month-old Labrador. This puppy was brought into the clinic when his owners arrived home to find he could not use his leg. It is unknown what caused the injury.
The x-rays show that the tibia, or shin bone, was broken in the middle and was mildly displaced. In a very quiet dog, this type of fracture may be able to be repaired using a cast on the leg, but that is likely to have complications with sores and excessive pain. In this case with an active puppy, it was decided the best course of action was to perform surgery to place a plate on the tibia to hold the bone stable while the bone knits together. Using a plate to stabilise the fracture reduces pain and quickly allows a pet to use their leg quite soon after surgery.
This type of repair takes six weeks to heal in young dogs or up to 12 weeks in older dogs. In this time the pet needs to be kept quiet as too much activity can cause wearing of the plate and/or the plate breaking before the fracture has healed. Fortunately, this patient was young, the fracture wasn’t too fragmented or displaced, and healing was uncomplicated with rapid return to normal use of leg. Keeping him quiet was the biggest challenge!
We performed follow-up radiographs 8 weeks after surgery, which showed a good callus bridging the fracture, meaning he has healed enough where the plate is no longer providing the full support. Because he is a large, growing dog the plate will be removed when he is a bit older and the new bone has strengthened more.