Authors of section


Cassio Ferrigno

Executive Editor

Amy Kapatkin

General Editor

Noel Moens

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Nonsurgical fracture management

1. Principles

A cylinder cast is used to immobilize the tibia. For the cast to be effective, the knee and tarsal joint must be totally immobilized. This can be difficult in short-legged and muscular breeds.

The illustration shows which area the cast should cover.

Note: Alternatives to a cylinder cast are a bivalve cast or a modified Robert Jones bandage with an adequate splinting device.

nonsurgical fracture management

It is important to maintain normal standing angles of flexion/extension in both the stifle and the tarsal joints.

The image shows the range of normal standing joint angles of the hind limb in a mixed population of dogs. Use the standing angle of the normal limb if possible. If both limbs are injured, use an angle that best fits the breed standard.

nonsurgical fracture management

2. Nonsurgical fracture management

To achieve fracture healing, cage rest and the use of Elizabethan collar are advisable in dogs treated non-surgically.

The cast or splint must be monitored weekly. Bandages with splints should be changed every week. Casts should be monitored to make sure they are dry and not too tight or loose. Improper casts or bandages can cause complications leading to loss of a limb.

42 A1

3. Case example

4 month old German Shepherd with a 42-A1 fracture.

nonsurgical fracture management

The fracture was treated non surgically. Follow up radiographs at 17 days showing indirect bone healing.

nonsurgical fracture management

Follow up radiographs at 70 days showing complete bone healing and remodeling.

nonsurgical fracture management