By Dr. Sherry Weaver

Broken bones in pets can range from being a nuisance to being a life threatening situation, especially if a sharp bone fragment severs an artery.  Be cautious about the pain response of any animal when they display the signs of a broken bone.

If it is safe and not stressful for the pet, try to gently assess a traumatized area that may harbor a broken bone by looking for bruising, an abnormal contour to the surface that isn’t present on the opposite side, a twist to a limb that is not normal, or discomfort when local pressure is applied.  Use a muzzle if required.

If the pet is bleeding, try to apply pressure to stop blood flow.  Apply a clean cloth or bandage material gently to bleeding areas for protection and mild pressure. If possible, immobilize a fracture area. Get to an animal hospital as soon as possible. Sometimes a stretcher improvised from a blanket or plywood board can be very helpful in transporting an animal that cannot walk.  If you provide careful support to any fractured limbs trying to apply a splint may not be necessary.

If an animal is in extreme pain, is panicked, or has a paralyzing spinal injury, you should call your veterinarian for advice regarding transporting the animal to the hospital.  Be prepared for these animals to require a number of assistants for your trip to the animal hospital.

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