Pelvic fractures in dogs (2023)

Pet Partners, an indirect corporate subsidiary of PetPlace may receive compensation if you click on links in this article or make a purchase.

Overview of pelvic fractures in dogs

Pelvic fractures are the most common.fracturesseen in dogs. These fractures are usually the result of severe trauma.

Pelvic fractures usually cause an acute, weightless lameness in the hind legs. These fractures are usually found in mature bones; Young animals with pelvic trauma often have other fractured structures in front of the pelvis. Due to the shape of the pelvis, these fractures often occur in multiple locations at the same time, including both the left and right sides at the same time.

Depending on the type of fracture, different treatment methods may be indicated in each situation. Pelvic fractures can have serious complications if they are not repaired or if repairs fail.

(Video) live stream pelvic fracture repair in a dog

Diagnosis of pelvic fractures in dogs

A complete physical exam can help determine which tests to run. Although laboratory tests are not necessary to make the diagnosis, your veterinarian may recommend the following:

  • Chest X-ray to rule out traumatic lung injury.
  • Complete orthopedic examination for other fractures or joint injuries
  • Neurological examination of the hind legs to rule out nerve damage
  • pelvic x-rays

Treatmentof pelvic fractures in dogs

Emergency care for concurrent issues caused by the trauma is of paramount importance. After stabilization, other treatments can begin.

  • Treatment of concomitant soft tissue injuries
  • Anesthesia and surgical stabilization of the bone fragments to allow the animal to function again in the quickest and most painless way. Some fractures do not require surgery.
  • poolI can'tSufficiently immobilized in a cast or splint to allow for proper healing.
  • Injectable analgesics (pain killers) are administered to the animal while it is being treated in the hospital and can be continued orally after discharge from the hospital.

Care and prevention at home

Take your dog to the vet for immediate care as soon as possible after the trauma. If your pet does not require surgical stabilization or if you decide not to have surgery, strict restriction of movement may be the only measure necessary.

If the fracture is treated surgically, the animal's activity is restricted for several weeks and the skin incision is monitored as it heals.

(Video) Rehabilitating A Dog with Broken Pelvis 18 Days After Accident

A new veterinary appointment will be scheduled in a few weeks to assess how the bone is healing (with new x-rays), monitor the animal's progress and ensure it is safe to increase the dog's activity level.

Many traumatic events are real accidents and therefore unavoidable. Avoid the possibility of a car accident by confining your dog in a fenced area or just walking on a leash.

Detailed information aboutPelvic fractures in dogs

Of all the fractures seen in the small animal clinic, pelvic fractures are the most injuryIt is the most common cause of pelvic fractures. These animals are usually young, unneutered males who wander outside and get hit by a car. Dogs of both sexes and ages are susceptible to this type of trauma if not restrained.

The left and right halves of the pelvis are actually several bones that fuse together as the animal matures. Each half consists of the ilium, ischium and pubic bone. Both halves are then fused together in the center to create a box shape. Because of this configuration, trauma to the entire chest often results in many fractures at the same time. The pelvis forms a “sleeve” (acetabulum) of the hip joint and is connected to the spine through the sacroiliac joints. In the case of pelvic injuries, these joints are often also affected (acetabular fracture or sacroiliac dislocation) and can complicate the method of treatment and the prognosis of the animal.

(Video) Pelvic fractures in dogs and cats can be treated without surgery

Each case of pelvic fracture must be evaluated in its entirety, including the severity of the fracture, the dog's age, the surgeon's experience, and the owner's financial concerns to determine the best and most appropriate form of treatment.

Poor case management, inadequate surgical stabilization, or poor aftercare can lead to complications such as pseudarthrosis (fractures that do not heal) or malunion (fractures that heal in an abnormal direction or orientation). This can result in narrowing of the pelvic canal, osteomyelitis (bone infection), arthritis of the hip joint or non-functional leg.

Detailed diagnostic information

Lab tests are not necessary to make the diagnosis, but your veterinarian may recommend the following for your dog:

  • Complete physical exam. It is very important to ensure that your pet does not show signs of hypovolemic shock, which is shock due to reduced blood volume as a result of trauma or blood loss. It is also important to ensure that there are no other injuries. A digital rectal exam should be performed to ensure that sharp bone fragments in the pelvic canal have not also damaged the rectum.
  • Chest x-ray (chest x-ray). Chest trauma in the form of pulmonary contusions (bruises) or pneumothorax (collapse of the lobes of the lung due to open air in the chest cavity) must be ruled out with chest x-rays before anesthesia to repair the leg.
  • Complete orthopedic examination. A complete orthopedic examination should be performed to look for the cause of the unloading claudication, as well as possible injuries to other bones or joints. The exam involves palpating all the bones and joints in each leg for signs of pain or abnormal movement within a bone or joint. A complete orthopedic exam is especially important for an animal that cannot or will not get up and move. Crepitus, the abnormal "crushing" sensation with movement, and pain with manipulation of the hip joint(s) may be the only abnormal findings. They do not specifically indicate that the pelvis is fractured, but they may help direct the veterinarian to take a pelvic x-ray to look for possible injuries to the hips or pelvis.
  • The neurological status of each leg should also be assessed before considering surgery. The sciatic nerves are extremely important for the function of the hind legs and they run very close to the bone on their way to each leg. They can be damaged during trauma and alter treatment recommendations when present.
  • X-rays (X-rays) of the pelvis. Two x-rays of the dog's pelvis are used to confirm the diagnosis of pelvic fractures and may also show a sacroiliac dislocation (dislocation), a hip dislocation, or a femoral fracture if present. Depending on the location and severity of the fracture, a more informed discussion may take place with the owner about possible treatments, prognosis and costs.

Detailed information about treatment

  • Emergency attention to concurrent problems. Shock is a common consequence of severe trauma and needs to be treated immediately. Treatment for shock includes administering intravenous fluids to maintain blood pressure and ensure adequate oxygenation of the body. Injuries to the lungs and chest cavity are also commonly seen after severe trauma and may require supplemental oxygenation or removal of free air (pneumothorax) from the lungs.
  • Soft tissue injuries should be treated to minimize the possibility of developing wound infections. Lacerations and other open wounds or open fractures should be cleared of debris and covered or closed to minimize infection.
  • In the time between emergency patient care and surgical repair of the pelvic fracture, any orthopedic injuries found should be treated with splints and/or analgesics to keep the animal comfortable until the fractures can be properly treated.
  • Pelvic fractures can be treated in two ways, depending on the specific type of fracture, location and age of the animal. Some pelvic fractures may not require surgical stabilization. Minimally displaced fractures that do not involve the hip joint may fall into this category. Most other pelvic fractures must be stabilized to give the animal the best chance of a successful outcome, with the fastest recovery of function and the least painful recovery period.

    For most pelvic fractures that do not involve the acetabulum, a bone plate and screws are typically used to support the fractured ilium. Sciatic and pubic fractures often go unrepaired. Fractures involving the acetabulum may require careful reconstruction and stabilization of the acetabulum, or a procedure involving separation of the femoral head and neck from the femoral shaft may be recommended. This procedure is done to minimize the possibility that the animal will have long-term problems associated with an abnormally healing hip joint that leads to future arthritis. If there is also a sacroiliac dislocation, the dislocation may also require repair and stabilization. If both sides of the pelvis are torn, only one or both sides may need surgical repair.

    (Video) Rehabilitating A Dog with Broken Pelvis 3 Days After Accident

  • Pelvic fractures cannot be adequately stabilized with a cast or splint.
  • Pelvic fractures, like any other traumatic injuries the animal may have, are painful and the animal is given pain medication before and after surgery.

Aftercare for dogs withpelvic fractures

If it is determined that surgery is not necessary for your pet, or if the surgical option is not necessary, you must strictly confine your dog to allow the pelvis to heal and avoid excessive pain. Because the bone fragments are not stabilized during this course of treatment, excessive exercise or activity can prevent the fracture from healing or cause it to heal in a location that interferes with movement of the leg or structures through the pelvis. Ducts like colon, urethra and uterus.

After the operation and discharge from the hospital, the animal's activity must be restricted to allow the fracture to heal properly. Activity should be restricted for several weeks after surgery (duration depends on the severity of the injury, the type of restraint used, and the age of the animal). Restricted activity means that the animal must remain confined in a carrier, cage or small space unless supervised, the animal is unable to play or is playing uncontrollably, even if it appears comfortable. Also, use of stairs should be limited and walks outside should be long enough for the dog to relieve itself and then come back indoors for more rest.

Analgesics (pain relievers), such asButorfanol(Torbugesic®), or anti-inflammatories, for examplederacoxib,AspirinÖcarprofen(Rimadyl®), should be administered as directed by the veterinarian.

The skin incision should be checked daily for signs of excessive swelling or discharge. This could indicate problems with the cut or possibly an infection. In this case, contact your veterinarian.

(Video) Sandy the Welsh Corgi Has Multiple Pelvic Fractures

If your pet stops using its paw at some point before the x-ray after some post-op improvement, there could be a problem. Again, the veterinarian must be notified.

A few weeks after the operation, another pelvic x-ray will need to be taken to ensure the bones are healing well. If healing has taken place as expected, the dog's activity level may slowly return to normal over the next few weeks.

Generally, any other implants used in the repair are left in place unless they cause problems for the animal at some point in the future. Potential problems may include migration (movement) or infection of the implant.


Can a dog recover from a fractured pelvis? ›

Most animals (75%) with pelvic fractures will recover without surgery. This is especially the case in smaller dogs and cats (3).

How can I help my dog with a pelvic fracture? ›

Pelvic Fracture Care
  1. Strict and enforced rest. Dogs may be carried out to the toilet, but otherwise your pet must be confined to a small area where they cannot run or jump. ...
  2. A clean and dry environment. You need to ensure that your pet has a well-padded bed that stays clean and dry. ...
  3. Physiotherapy. ...
  4. Medications.

How long does it take for pelvic fracture to heal dogs? ›

Most pelvic limb fractures require surgery in order to realign the bones with various combinations of plates, screws, pins and implants. Bone fractures take four to six weeks to heal, during which time the animal's activity may be restricted and physical therapy may be required to assist with rehabilitation.

Can a dog heal from a broken pelvis without surgery? ›

Pelvic fractures are a common traumatic injury for dogs. Though it may be stressful and frightening to see your pet injured, many pelvic fractures will heal without surgery. Take solace that your dog will likely be back to its old self again in a couple of months.

Is walking good for fractured pelvis? ›

While your pelvis heals, you will need to keep weight off the hips. Once you are able to walk, a walker or crutches can help you get around. You can help your pelvis heal with care at home. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to relieve pain and prevent blood clots.

What is the best way to heal a fractured pelvis? ›

With a minor fracture, the most common treatment is bed rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or prescription painkillers. Physical therapy, the use of crutches and, rarely, surgery may be recommended. Healing can take eight to 12 weeks.

What should be avoided during pelvis fractures? ›

Mild and stable pelvic fractures can usually heal without medical intervention such as surgery. However, if you have a mild pelvic fracture, you must limit the amount of pressure you put on your pelvis and legs and get enough rest so your fracture can heal properly.

What are the symptoms of a fractured pelvis in a dog? ›

Following a car accident, lameness is the most common sign of a pelvic fracture. As we examine your pet, palpation can lead us to the conclusion that a pelvic fracture has occurred, as crunching may be felt upon gentle manipulation of the legs.

How painful is a fractured pelvis? ›

Most pelvic fractures cause considerable pain, even when people are sitting or lying down. Severe pelvic fractures can result in life-threatening bleeding and may be accompanied by serious injuries to other organs. X-rays can show most pelvic fractures, but computed tomography is usually also done.

How much does it cost to fix a broken pelvis in a dog? ›

Cost of treatment

We treat most pelvic fractures including x-rays, diagnosis and treatment, for between $2,500 - $5,300. At a referral centre, treatment can cost anywhere from $4,000 - $10,000 and greater, depending on the complexity of the fracture and the length of stay at the hospital.

How much does pelvic surgery cost for dogs? ›

DPO/TPO surgery involves cutting the pelvic bone in specific locations then rotating the segments to improve the functioning of the ball and socket joint. The cost of DPO/TPO surgery varies but for most dogs, it will be in the $3,000 range for both hips.

What are the long term effects of a broken pelvis? ›

The biggest long term complication of a broken pelvis is the development of arthritis. The main reason doctors operate on these fractures is that they know from past experience that if they leave the fractures in a poor position, although they will often heal, arthritis may follow within five years.

What is the most serious complication of pelvic fracture? ›

Hemorrhage, either intraperitoneal or retroperitoneal, is the most frequent cause of death associated with pelvic fractures. Intraperitoneal hemorrhage is best managed by direct surgical intervention at laparotomy.


1. Live stream - Pelvic fracture in a cat fixed with a plate
(VetDojo Community)
2. Multiple pelvic fracture in a 7-month old dog - Live stream
(E.V. Dog & Cat Clinic)
3. Dog Female Pelvic fracture management by splints & sling
(Dr.Sanjay Jaiwant Gaikwad)
4. Fractured pelvis on my Basset Hound. Talk about anatomy challenges.
(Louise Parker)
5. Rachel, conservative treatment of multiple pelvic fractures
6. Multiple pelvic fracture and sacroiliac luxation in dog after a automobile road trauma.
(E.V. Dog & Cat Clinic)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Duncan Muller

Last Updated: 28/06/2023

Views: 5799

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Duncan Muller

Birthday: 1997-01-13

Address: Apt. 505 914 Phillip Crossroad, O'Konborough, NV 62411

Phone: +8555305800947

Job: Construction Agent

Hobby: Shopping, Table tennis, Snowboarding, Rafting, Motor sports, Homebrewing, Taxidermy

Introduction: My name is Duncan Muller, I am a enchanting, good, gentle, modern, tasty, nice, elegant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.