Caring for a dog with a fractured leg

Disclaimer: I am not an expert. This is purely based on my personal experience.

The signs:

We went to pick Bailey up from the groomers’ after his grooming. He was so excited to see us as usual, so we left the groomers’ after paying for his grooming.

However, halfway while walking back home, Bailey had suddenly stopped walking and collapsed on the floor. At first, we had thought he was just dehydrated and tired from grooming and playing with the other doggies there. However, we realised that his tail was tucked in tightly, which could mean that he was scared or frightened. It was then when we suspected something was wrong.

We tried to lift Bailey and put him on all four legs, and got him to walk. We noticed that there was probably something wrong with one of his legs, because he was limping to one side. One of us decided to go back to the groomers’ to ask if something had happened during his grooming. We got one of the groomers’ to come to take a look at Bailey, who was then lying on the pavement by the roadside, refusing to move. The groomer decided to carry Bailey back to the salon after noticing that something was amiss.

What had happened:

Back at the grooming salon, the groomer who had groomed Bailey then explained that while she was in the midst of trimming bailey’s fur, he had suddenly jumped down from the grooming table. Bailey being big in size and quite heavy at that time, it was likely he had injured his leg from the impact of the fall.

At first, I was disappointed as to why the groomers had let us leave their place without telling us such a thing happened. If we had known such a thing happened, we would have been given a heads up if something were to happen to Bailey.

The groomer had then tried to touch all of Bailey’s legs. But Bailey flinched when she tried to touch his left hind leg. Now we know, the problem lies with the left hind leg.

The groomers were deeply apologetic about the whole issue, and immediately told us to bring Bailey to the vet and to come back with the receipt, as they will reimburse the cost of his vet fees. They had also offered Bailey a free grooming for the next round if we do come back.

We were so thankful to the groomers’ for taking responsibility for the incident, as we have heard of cases where the groomers would refuse to take responsibility.

At the vet:

The vet did an x-ray for Bailey. To our horror, his left hind leg had suffered a fracture, and it would need to be supported with a splint wrapped in a cast so that it will heal.

Splints are used to provide protection and support for his leg. They serve the same function as a bandage and has the additional benefit of preventing movement of the leg. On top of the splint, a cast padding will be applied to protect the bony prominences from pressure and friction.

Bailey was put under general anesthesia so that the process of shaving his leg and putting the leg in a splint and a cast could be as smooth as possible.

After Bailey woke up from the anesthesia, we went back home.

We thought: Bailey has not even turned a year old, yet he has to go through such an ordeal. Being a first time pet owner and not experiencing this before makes the situation even more stressful.

An x-ray of bailey’s fractured leg.
Bailey after waking up from a general anesthesia at the vet, with the cutest leg bandage in the world.

Caring for a fractured leg:

The vet had advised us to limit Bailey’s movements and not let him jump or run, just in case the splint breaks and the bone won’t be able to heal properly.

The vet advised us to get a cone to prevent Bailey from licking his leg even though it may be uncomfortable. He also told us that in the event we accidentally wet the cast, we would have to come back to the vet to change the bandages.

We would also have to bring Bailey to the vet once a week to change his bandage, and for the vet to access the bone recovery. We also could not bathe Bailey at all for a month in order not to wet his injured leg, so we had to purchase a dry shampoo to ‘shower’ him.

During walks, we had to make sure to wrap his leg in a plastic bag and wear a shoe on top of it, so that we minimise the damage made to the cast by friction and to prevent dirt or water from getting onto the cast.

Taking care of the fractured leg was no easy feat, as not only do we have to return to the vet once every week to check, but we also found out that Bailey had developed skin irritations on his injured leg due to it being wrapped up for a long period of time.

Bailey with his new ‘outfit’

Caring for the wounds on his fractured leg:

His injured leg had sores and wounds after being wrapped in the splint and cast for such a long period of time, and the vet had to apply cream on his wounds on the leg.

Of course, regular vet visits during this time were mandatory, so as to check in on the healing of the bone and to apply cream on the wounds on his leg for it to heal. Every time the vet unwraps the bandage wrapping his leg, we would cringe and cross our fingers, hoping that the wound had gotten better and not develop into an infection.

Luckily, his bone had healed by end-october, and there was no need for a splint or cast anymore. Since his leg no longer needed to be in a cast, we would have to learn how to apply the anti-bacterial cream on his wounds more frequently at home.

During this period of time, we also had to be extra careful and keep the leg as clean and dry as possible. This is so as to make sure the wounds do not become infected.

His leg finally recovered by mid November with the wounds fully closed and the bone fully healed. We will just have to let the shaven fur on the leg to grow back.

This process was tiring and stressful for both the dog and the hoomans, but we are so grateful to the fact that Bailey’s left hind leg has fully recovered, and that he is now a healthy and happy pup.

P.s did you notice the name on the bandage ‘Storm’? That is because Bailey’s previous name was actually Storm! That is another story for another time!

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