Signs of Leg Fracture in Dogs

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Fractures in Dogs

A board-certified small animal veterinarian, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince practices at a number of offices in and around Elmhurst, Illinois. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince focuses on soft tissue and orthopedic procedures as well as oncology and neurologic disorders.

A dog’s broken leg can be challenging for an owner to recognize. Although some fractures protrude through the skin or cause an otherwise visible change in structure, others are closed or incomplete fractures whose symptoms may mimic other injuries. Dogs with any type of limb injury may limp, whine, or howl regardless of whether the injury is a break or a sprain. Breaks are more likely to cause the dog to keep the leg entirely off of the ground, however, whereas a less severe injury may prompt the dog to simply favor the leg while walking.

Some dogs with broken legs may refuse to walk outright, while others may appear unwilling to climb stairs or run. The pain can also make the dog particularly protective of the leg, even to the degree that it attempts to bite anyone who comes near the fractured leg. Otherwise sociable dogs might withdraw from human company, a potential sign of fracture-related pain when combined with more specific symptoms. While any of these signs may indicate a problem other than a break, only a veterinarian can provide a firm diagnosis.