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Bandages & Broken Bones

Ortho Braces and Splints

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Wrist Wrap
The Wrist Wrap, fitted securely, stabilizes your dog's forearm bones and lends support to the muscles and tendons of the wrist and leg. Be sure that the brace does not interfere with the flexion of the paw.



Walkin' Pet Splints
Injuries to the lower limbs of small animals frequently need to be splinted or braced. Splints are modeled after human splints and will provide support for lower limb weakness or injuries to the hock, carpal or paw.



Walkin' Bootie Splint

The Bootie Splint will support the lower aspect of the rear and front limb. This brace extends under the paw to stabilize digit or toe injuries, and provides positioning for knuckling or nerve damage problems.


Front Splint

The splint is positioned in the back of the dog's front leg and is adjusted with padded Velcro straps. Interior padding in the splint keeps the leg secure and comfortable. Non-slip pads on the bottom of the splint add stability.

icers
For any part of the body that needs cold compresses. Canine Icers are available in Carpal, Elbow, Groin, Hip, Neck, Shoulder, Hock and Stiffle versions.



Provides training support for a dog dragging back paws and is designed to enhance proprioception. Perfect for rehabilitative use for pets that are recovering from spinal surgery. Lightweight, comfortable and adjustable with convenient Velcro closure. Available in four sizes.


Walkin' Pet Boots
These boots protect your dog's paws from any kind of rough surface including gravel, rocks, or dirt paths, protecting your home from dirt and grime. Sturdy and strong while being stylish and fashionable.





Broken bones, congenital conditions and injuries.

Applying a Bandage or Splint on your disabled dog.  

You must be careful as you can injure your dog further if the bandage or splint is not put on properly.  If you need to bandage a wound or injury.  You'll want to do it properly so the dog is less likely to lick or pull at the bandage, possibly creating further damage.  If necessary, use an Elizabethian collar. This guide will show you the proper way to bandage or splint an injury.

Broken Bones & Fractures in Dogs

Broken bones are perhaps the most common orthopedic problem encountered in dogs. Falls, gunshot injuries, and automobile accidents are all common causes of broken bones in pets. 

  1. Classification of fractures:
    1. Closed or simple fracture: This is a fracture of a bone where the skin is not broken and no communication to the outside environment has occurred. It is opposite of an open or compound fracture.
    2. Open or compound fracture: This is a fracture where communication with the outside environment has occurred. Examples include gunshot injuries to bones and fractures where the sharp bone fragments have cut through the skin.
    3. Transverse fracture: This is a fracture where the bone is broken into two pieces and the fracture crosses the bone in a straight, side-to-side line.
    4. Oblique fracture: This is a fracture where the bone is broken into two pieces and the fracture crosses the bone in a diagonal line.
    5. Spiral fracture: This is a fracture where the bone is twisted apart.
    6. Comminuted fracture: This is a fracture where the bone is broken into multiple pieces.
    7. Greenstick fracture: This is a fracture where the bone is broken on one side, with the other side bent but not fractured. This type of fracture is most commonly seen in young puppies.
    8. Pathologic fracture: This is a fracture due to a weakened bone structure from any disease process (i.e. bone cancer, infection, or osteoporosis).
    9. Stress fracture: This fracture results from repeated force to a bone. This type of fracture is most commonly seen in performance dogs.
    10. Segmented or double fracture: This is a bone that is broken in two or more different places.

  2. Managing fractured bones
  3. The first part of treatment of a broken bone is often done by the dog’s owner. Since most fractures are associated with some kind of trauma, checking the vital functions of the injured pet should always be done first. Alertness, breathing status, and mucous membrane color/capillary refill time should be observed. The pet’s responsiveness and state of awareness can help assess whether the brain and central nervous system are functioning on a basic level. Difficulty breathing may result from internal bleeding, broken ribs, or other injuries. Pale gum color with a slow capillary refill time occur with severe blood loss and shock. These are potential life-threatening injuries that must take precedence over any broken bones. Rapid transport to a veterinary hospital is very important for traumatized dogs. Home treatment for a broken bone can be done if there is time and if the dog is cooperative, though not recommended.. Handling an injured pet should always be done with caution– even the most trustworthy pet may bite when injured. If a wound is present in association with a broken bone, a clean bandage may be placed on the injury. Direct pressure should be used to control any bleeding from an injured limb. 

    Once the dog is brought into the veterinary hospital, the veterinary staff takes over. Beginning with the vital signs, the dog is examined thoroughly. Life-threatening injuries are given attention first, followed by fractured bones. The dog must be stabilized before a broken bone is given treatment; this stabilization process may require hours to days. A bandage is usually placed on a fracture to help control pain and prevent further injury until proper treatment can begin. Once the dog's heart rate, breathing and shock is stable, plans for treating broken bones may be made.

    Specific treatment for a broken bone depends on the location and type of fracture, availability of specialist help, nature of the dog, and cost.  Some veterinarians specialize in orthopedic surgery and should become involved in the more complex bone injuries. Because they usually require a great deal of time, personnel, and training to properly treat, the cost of treating broken bones is generally high.

    There are various methods of fixing broken bones. The broken bone must be placed into the proper position and held there with some type of supporting device. Dog Splints and casts are rigid supports that encircle the broken limb and can be used for a variety of fractures, but have limitations on how much they can do. These types of outer support may be used with or without internal support for the broken bone.  Sometimes surgery is the only option. Metal pins inserted into the bone, wires that encircle the fracture and tighten against the outside of the bone, and metal plates that cross a fracture and are screwed into the bone are all common types of internal support that are used. External skeletal fixation is another type of support that is becoming more common in veterinary medicine. This type of support is both internal and external because several metal pins are drilled at a right angles to the bone with the pin sticking out of one and sometimes both sides of the leg. These pins are then connected to each other with another metal rod or bone cement, creating a support on the outside of the body. The type of support used to treat some types of fractures.

Suggested Materials for bandaging

 White Tape: This can be used as a first layer to prevent slipping, and as a final layer of bandaging. The tape can be purchased at any pharmacy.

Sterile Non-Stick Pads: Telfa Pads are ideal. IF this is an emergency bandage, then use a small piece of cloth, but apply K-Y jelly first so the cloth doesn’t stick.

Cotton padding: For injuries that need support, such as ligament injuries or fractures,  cotton padding adds a layer of support.  Either cotton rolls or a small towel wrapped around the leg works well.

Gauze: Roll gauze is the clingy material that stretches and has holes in it. There are many kinds to choose from...I prefer nonstick pads with embedded antibiotics when possible as they seem to help wounds heal faster.

Tape: The last layer on a bandage is the adhesive that secures the pad and gauze in place. I usually use a product called Vet-Wrap; it stretches and sticks to the gauze but not fur.  It is stretchy, clingy and sticks to itself giving additional support. It is easy for you to take off, and difficult for your dog to remove making it an ideal wrap for pets . In an emergency, you can use painter's tape, duct tape, and Saran Wrap to hold the bandage material in place. I highly recommend anyone with pets have at least a roll or two of vet wrap on hand - you'll use it!

Elastikon:  Made of high twist, cotton elastic cloth tape and a rubber based adhesive, it is ideal for pressure dressings requiring elasticity.  It works well when you need to wrap something that won't stay on with vet wrap such as a tail or leg.  Typically it's used for sport strapping or muscle injury, but works well on pets but care must be taken to make sure it's not too tight and it WILL stick to fur.. You might not use it often, but when you do need it, you'll be glad you have it.

The key to applying a good bandage is to make the bandage tight enough that it won’t slip, but NOT too tight so that it cuts off circulation. If the bandage is TOO tight, you will see the area below the bandage swell and if not  loosened, can cause permanet damage. Leave a few toes exposed if possible to check this.  If you need to keep the foot clean, use an old sock or plastic bag over the other wrapping.

The other important part of bandage care is keeping the bandage dry. If it gets wet it will cause serious skin irritation and infection. If it gets wet, then You MUST change it. Keep it covered with a plastic bag.  One suggestion I've heard is to ask your local veterinarian for an empty IV Fluid Bags - I'll have to try that. 

Bandaging a Leg

  • The most common area to bandage is the leg.
  • Clean the wound properly.
  • Apply the non-stick Telfa pad to the wound.
  • Wrap the leg with gauze, beginning at the toes, but leave the toes exposed. Overlap the gauze/vet wrap as you wrap up the leg.
  • Make the gauze wrap firm to keep the Pad in place, extend up to the next joint. 
  • If the wound is on the paw, wrap to above the wrist.
  • Cover the gauze with Vet Wrap or Tape. Once again make it firm, but not too firm. Keep the toes exposed to check for swelling.

A Head Bandage

  • This is best accomplished by folding the earflaps on top of the head, then wrapping gauze and tape around the head covering the ears.
  • Keep the bandage in front of the eyes, and make sure you can stick one finger underneath the bandage at the neck.

Body Bandage


If you need to cover a wound on the chest or abdomen, there are a couple of ways. The easiest is to use an old T-shirt. Put your dog’s front legs through the armholes, and cover the rest of his body with the shirt. You can then apply Tape to secure the back of the T-shirt.

Forelimb

Common Conditions that May Benefit from Splints

  • Osteoarthritis of the carpal or metacarpal joints
  • Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
  • Polyarthritis
  • Soft tissue injuries to carpal or metacarpal tendons/ligaments
  • Carpal hyperextension
  • Carpal or metacarpal joint instabilities or malformations
  • Brachial plexus or radial nerve damage injuries
  • Neurological conditions causing knuckling of paw
  • Post-surgical protection

Hind Limb
Common Conditions that May Benefit from Splints  

  • Osteoarthritis of the tarsal or metatarsal joints
  • Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
  • Polyarthritis
  • Soft tissue injuries to tarsal or metatarsal tendons/ligaments
  • Achilles tendon injury
  • Tarsal hyperextension
  • Tarsal or metatarsal joint instabilities or malformations
  • Neurological conditions causing knuckling of paw
  • Post-surgical protection

There is a link to a company you can order a wide array of splints from on this page. You will probably need to do some measuring to obtain the correct size.

Splints

If immobilization is the goal, so a break can mend or if there is a cut on a joint, you may want to invest in a splint.  A splint allows muscles and tendons to rest, and tears to heal. It immobilizes joints so the joint can rest and heal. 

Splint Care

  • Do not allow your pet to chew on the splint. Use an Elizabethian collar if necessary.
  • Splints must remain clean and dry to prevent moisture sitting against the skin.
  • If the splint gets wet, allow it to fully dry before reapplying.
  • It’s a good idea to check your pet’s toes daily for any swelling.If the toes become cool and/or puffy, it’s possible that the splint has been applied too tightly and is impairing the circulation of the limb and needs to be removed.
  • If your pet develops chafing of the skin in any area due to rubbing of the splint, you may have to add some padding or baby powder to the affected area.
  • As always, contact your veterinarian with any concerns.