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Types of Bone Fractures in Dogs

Bone Fractures in Dogs

A bone fracture simply means that that dog has developed a broken bone, but there are different types of bone fractures in dogs. Bones are rigid structures that have a tendency to "give," bending slightly when there is some sort of outside force applied. However, they will bend only up to a certain point. If enough force is applied, the bone may break and there are different ways in which dog bones can break. Generally, from the type of bone fracture seen in dogs, one can have a rough idea of the intensity of the force that caused the break.

closed fracture

Closed Fracture

A closed fracture, also known as a simple fracture refers to a fracture where the bone remains embedded within the skin without sticking out. Fortunately, this is the most common type of fracture in dogs.

Even though no bone penetrates through the skin, these types of fractures though are still capable of causing soft-tissue injuries.

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Open Fracture 

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Also known as compound fractures, open fractures are more complicated considering that the broken bone ends up protruding through the skin.

As one may imagine, these fractures require emergency treatment because of the broken skin, external bleeding and its associated high risks for infections. Antibiotics are often prescribed to reduce the risk for infection.

transverse fracture

Transverse Fracture

In a transverse fracture, the bone breaks in a horizontal line and is often the result of force applied at a right angle.

Spiral Fracture

spiral fracture

As the name implies, spiral fractures have a fracture line that tends to spiral along the axis of the bone. This type of trauma with a spiral pattern derives from torsional twisting.

It's important to have this type of fracture treated by a vet. The vet will apply a splint using the most suitable material.

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Comminuted Fracture

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In a comminuted fracture, the dog's bone breaks into many pieces. Because of all the shattered pieces, this type of fracture takes longer to heal. Generally, this type of fracture requires great force to occur such as a result of an accident or a gin-shot wound.

Affected dogs will show swelling of the leg, won't put weight on it and their leg may dangle in an awkward position.

Surgical intervention is often needed as splints and casts are usually not enough to put the shattered bones back together.

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Impacted Fracture

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In an impacted fracture, also known as a buckled fracture, the fractured end of the bones are driven into each other.

In other words, the bone“buckles” under the weight of the other side. When this happens, there are chances that the area appears shortened.

Greenstick Fracture


The greenstick fracture, as the name implies, refers to a fracture that is similar to what happens when a green branch of a tree is bent. Basically, the branch breaks but incompletely. In this fracture you will therefore see just a slender crack in the dog's bone.

This type of fracture is often seen in young dogs who have elastic bones and it may result in shortening of the affected leg and potential deformity.

Affected dogs develop pain in the area and there may be local swelling.

oblique fracture

Oblique Fracture

As the name implies, this type of fracture encompasses breakage that is diagonal to a bone's long axis.

In other words, the fracture occurs at an angle, causing a slanted fracture, that can be described as having a curved or sloped pattern.

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Photo Credits:
By OpenStax College CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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