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How to Care for a Dog with a Broken Pelvis

by Geoff Works |

A broken pelvis can affect all dogs, no matter what its age or gender is. During vehicle accidents, for example, your dog’s pelvis could suffer major trauma. Depending on the severity of the impact, it could take time for your dog to recover.

In this article, you’ll learn about dog pelvis anatomy and what the effects of a broken pelvis are. We’ll be covering the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery strategies for the injury, as well.

What is a Pelvic Fracture?

A pelvic fracture is one of the most common fractures in dogs. It refers to any kind of fracture or damage to the bones of your dog’s pelvis. 

But what is a pelvis and what function does it serve?

The pelvis is a box-like bone structure located between the leg bones and backbone. It supports the hindlimbs so your pooch can move comfortably. It also protects essential organs such as the bladder, colon, and uterus/prostate. Moreover, the pelvis also contains nerve linings, making it very sensitive.

One of the major causes of a broken pelvis is trauma from car accidents. If a dog gets hit by a vehicle, its pelvis cushions the blow and takes the impact. When this happens, it could result in a fracture. A broken pelvis could make it hard for your dog to get up and walk even if it doesn’t experience pain in the legs or back.

How to Diagnose a Broken Pelvis

There are different ways to diagnose a broken pelvis. This can begin with a thorough physical examination. Your veterinarian may perform palpation and leg manipulation exercises to confirm the pelvic fracture injury. During the procedure, they can also check for other potential injuries that your dog may have.

After this, your vet may request an x-ray of your dog’s pelvis. An x-ray lets them take a closer look into the fracture to identify which parts need treatment. They may also ask for a neurologic examination of the hind legs to check for any nerve damage.

Treatment Options for a Broken Pelvis

The treatment for a broken pelvis is done on a case-to-case basis. Your vet will consider the severity of the fracture and other possible injuries apart from the broken pelvis. For example, minimally displaced fractures can heal without surgery if it doesn’t affect the hip joint.

However, severe cases of pelvic fractures call for surgical operations. In these cases, the fracture needs to be stabilized and repaired. Going through the procedure will help your dog heal faster and minimize pain during recovery.

Broken Pelvis Recovery & Aftercare

After going through treatment, your dog needs the best care to fully recover and return to its normal function. It can take a week or longer before your dog can move around comfortably. And it’s not just with a broken pelvis — most dogs follow the same process for recovery for other injuries or conditions like a dog ACL.

As a dog owner, your role is crucial in ensuring a safe and steady recovery. Here are some things you can do to help ensure a smooth broken pelvis recovery.

Get Plenty of Rest

Rest is essential during your dog’s recovery phase. Getting plenty of rest can speed up the healing process of its broken pelvis. 

To help your pooch, you can restrict its movements to a small, comfortable area. Limit vigorous activities like running or jumping. For example, you can keep your pooch in a crate, carrier, or cage as long as they're comfortable. Make sure your dog has enough space to eat, sleep, and move around.

Limit Movement

Aside from getting enough rest, it helps to restrict your dog’s physical activity so they can fully recuperate. Limiting movement helps prevent additional pain, which can hinder the fractures from healing.

It’s also advisable to carry your dog instead of letting them use the stairs, as the extra motion could make the pain worse. But you may also want to keep your pet fairly active as keeping them cooped up for too long could make your dog overweight. You can take short walks outside but just keep your dog on a leash to prevent them from moving around too much.

Keep Your Space Safe & Clean

To help your dog heal steadily, provide it with a safe, clean space conducive for rest and recovery. 

Provide a soft, well-padded bed to help your dog relax and sleep better. Make sure to check the padding at least twice a day so that it’s clean. Keep your dog’s food and water containers within reach so your pet doesn't have to move too much.

Observe & Take Notes

Recovery from a broken pelvis doesn’t stop at the treatment procedure. The recovery period is also crucial for your dog’s return to normalcy. This is why it’s important to keep a close eye on your dog for any changes in behavior and movement. 

If you observe any other changes, take notes and mention them to your vet during your dog’s next check-up.

Follow Your Vet’s Prescription

Since pelvis fractures can feel uncomfortable, your vet may recommend pain relief medication and antibiotics for your dog. They can prescribe analgesics like butorphanol or anti-inflammatory medicine such as aspirin, carprofen, and deracoxib. 

To ensure that the medicine works, follow your vet’s instructions and stick to the proper dosage.

Visit the Vet Regularly

After the treatment procedure, regular check-ups are integral to monitor your dog’s healing progress. This makes sure that your dog’s pelvis is recovering at a steady pace. During your vet appointments, you can raise any concerns or changes you’ve observed about your dog’s behavior. 

Aside from check-ups, your vet may ask for follow-up x-rays four to six weeks after the injury to see if your dog is on track with the healing process.

Help Your Dog Recover Quickly from Injury

Your dog needs time before it can fully recover from a broken pelvis. Make the recovery process easier by following your vet’s recommendations and making the necessary home and lifestyle adjustments. 

Looking for more advice and tips for canine health? Visit our blog to learn more.

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