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Bone Fractures in Dogs Ken Brown, DVM If It’s Predictable, It’s Preventable Bone fractures in dogs are commonly the result of external trauma that occurs in otherwise healthy pets.Their injuries are obviously painful and stressful and often require the expenditure of time and resources to successfully manage. We call the incidents that cause these injuries “accidents”, and they are. However, there are some common causes of these injuries that can be prevented: • Avoid placing untethered dogs in the backs of open pickups and don’t allow excitable dogs to ride in the cabs of vehicles with open windows. They will fall out. They will jump. They do get hurt. • Do not pick up dogs by their front legs. Their legs are not handles and bones can snap. • Let the puppies do the walking: Toddlers and small children should not carry puppies because, like young humans, puppies squirm and then they get dropped and their bones break. It’s safer to let the pups walk on their own and better for their physical development. • Blow the horn: Country dogs, especially ones who spend their lives outdoors, will seek out shade on hot days. Often, dogs nap under vehicles and trailers. Always check under and behind your vehicles for pets (and children). Honking your vehicle’s horn is an effective wake-up call and a good practice before driving off. Wildlife always has the right of way: I have treated dogs injured by encounters with moose, deer, bear, wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, and one dog who was horned by a mountain goat. When enjoying the outdoors with your dog, use a leash if you don’t have absolute visual and vocal control over his location and behavior. City slicker dogs going country: Unsupervised dogs around horses, mules and cattle may get a painful education in a hurry - particularly nipping at livestock’s heels or bothering young offspring. Be cautious. Some livestock will kick, stomp, bite, and roll dogs they interpret to be threatening. Low-to-the-ground, specific dog breeds who work cattle and other stock are educated and raised by a working mother and still get injured occasionally, but not as often as large dogs meeting livestock for the first time. Get proper help: When accidents occur, and bone(s) are fractured see your veterinarian immediately. All bone fractures are not created equal nor is a good outcome assured no matter how well fracture patients are managed. Follow the advice of your veterinarian - who always has your dog’s best interest in mind. Fracture-stabilization and fixation surgery may be needed for proper healing instead of a simpler cast or splint. If your veterinarian advises a surgery he or she is unequipped to perform and suggests a referral to a veterinarian that is so equipped, follow that sound advice. Decisions and planning during early care are most important when dealing with major injuries. Post- operative x-rays of recent complex multi-injury surgery patients. All four dogs (a Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Pitt Bull and German Shepherd) are doing well. Doctors Brown and Sherburne Animal Surgery Clinic have •more thanSurgical 65 years combined Advanced Training veterinary practiceDedicated experience • Experienced, Staff and • State-of-the-art Facility thousands have successfully managed • Outstanding Care of Severely Injured Pets of complex orthopedic injuries. (406) 252-9499 • Ad dvanced Surgical Training • Exp perienced, Dedicated Staff • State-of-the-art Stat Facility and Equipment • Outstanding Care of Severely Injured Pets Stu Sherburne, DVM and Ken Brown, DVM Animal Clinic of Billings and Animal Surgery Clinic of Billings Serving our region’s companion animals and their families since 1981. 1414 10th St. W. • Billings | www.animalclinicofbillings.com

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