Osteopathies, Bone Tumors And Bone Fractures In Dogs

Hypertrophic Osteopathy In Dogs

This is a secondary disease resulting from tumor growths occurring in the chest or abdomen. The long bones show excessive and abnormal thickening. It is not known exactly why this happens, but reduction of blood flow to the bones, due to its getting channeled to the tumors, is thought to trigger hypertrophic osteopathy.

The usual symptoms are pain in the long bones and lameness. The presence of tumors in the chest or abdomen is another indication. X-rays of the body cavities as well as the long bones help assess the extent of the disorder.

To treat hypertrophic osteopathy, the primary tumors are removed first and then the nerve to the bone is severed to prevent further hypertrophic changes.

Nutritional Osteopathies In Dogs

Not only deficiencies in the diet, but nutrient imbalances can also cause nutritional osteopathies in dogs. The symptoms vary, but include skeletal deformities, reduction in bone mass, fractures, bony outgrowths and conditions like flexible jaw and loose teeth. Some of the nutritional osteopathies are caused by the faulty calcium metabolism and abnormal parathyroid function. Vitamin D deficiency and excess supply of vitamin A are known to cause osteopathies.

Blood tests may help identify some of the causes of the nutritional osteopathy while x-rays may help determine the effects of this disease. If the cause is detected, treatment focuses on eliminating that factor.

Bone Tumors In Dogs

Dogs may develop different types of bone tumors. Many of them may be benign, but some may be cancerous, either originating in the bone (primary) or spreading to the bone from other sites in the body (secondary). Osteosarcoma is a primary tumor occurring most commonly in dogs, affecting the long bones of the forelimbs such as the radius and humerus, as well as the tibia and femur of the hind limbs.

Skeletal tumors cause inflammation of the bone and often result in fractures without any traumatic injury. They may render the dog lame too. X-rays can detect the bone tumors. A biopsy of the bone is done to determine the type of the tumor. If it is malignant, the veterinarian may want chest and abdominal x-rays to be taken as well, to check if any primary tumors are present elsewhere.

Non-cancerous tumors are surgically removed if they are causing pain and affect movement. If malignant tumors are not treated the prognosis is poor, with the dog succumbing to the cancer in a few months. Amputation of the affected limbs followed by chemotherapy may help extend the life of the dog to nearly a year. However, older dogs may find life difficult with one limb missing.

Bone Fractures In Dogs

Dogs may have bone fractures from falls, fights or accidents caused by vehicles. They may have a single break in one of the bones or suffer multiple fractures. They may be closed fractures with the broken pieces remaining inside, or may be open with an accompanying break in the skin. The force and nature of the impact that caused the fracture often determines its severity. Generally, open fractures are more critical than closed ones due to the higher possibility of bacteria being introduced into the injured area.

A fracture may cause symptoms such as severe pain, and rapid inflammation that result in conspicuous swelling. The dog may develop lameness if any of the limbs are involved. X-rays help in locating the exact site of the fracture as well as is its extent and other complications. Taking the specific characteristics of the fracture and age and health status of the dog into consideration, the veterinarian may suggest different treatment options. The finances of the owner also influence choice of treatment. The outcome of surgical interventions is dependent not only on the extent of the injury, but also on the expertise of the surgeon.

Partial fractures are usually fixed with external casts or splints. In multiple fractures, the pieces are fixed in place with pins, wires, screws and bone plates. Sometimes bone from elsewhere is grafted onto the injured bone to help it heal faster. If the dog has open fractures, strong antibiotics are administered to prevent infections setting in. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications are also given. The dog may have to be kept restrained to avoid further injury.

X-rays are taken periodically to assess the progress. Physiotherapy may be required to restore the normal range of motion. The implants used to fix the bones are usually left in place unless they are found to be causing irritation or inflammation in the surrounding tissues. Most dogs recover completely unless the fracture is complicated by other factors such as old age and preexisting disease conditions.

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