Case: Radius and ulna fractures in small breed dogs

Radius and ulna fractures are common in small breed dogs. These injuries can often affect both forelimbs at the same time and these fractures in these small dogs have acquired a reputation for being at increased risk of non-union (failure of the bone ends to reunite).  In our experience these injuries often often in young animals that have jumped off furniture rather than having been hit by cars.

 

We typically treat these fractures with rigid internal fixation with plates and screws. The size of the bones can make it a challenge to have robust fixation which will stand up to early activity.  We often use splints in the early post-operative period to support the plate fixation, but splint support does reduce the carpus (wrist) flexion, at least in the short term.

 

We typically monitor the healing of the fracture(s) in the weeks following surgery using our hand-held Nomad x-ray generator, which has the advantage that no anaesthetic is required and the x-rays can be taken in a few minutes while the owners wait. We make no extra charges for follow up radiography under our fixed price scheme.

 

Plates and screws usually stay in situ long term. Sometimes implants need removing in the future after healing has occurred for a variety of reasons that include implant loosening, implant related irritation, irritation of the overlying tendons by the metalwork, or aches related to the metallic implants that often manifest in cold weather.