"The most common cause of broken bones in pets is 'hit by car,' known as HBC among small animal veterinarians," says Dr. Ann L. Johnson, interim hospital director and veterinary orthopedic surgeon at the University of Illinois Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital in Urbana. "Other causes include falling from a table, being bounced out of the back of a pick-up truck, bone disease, or repeated stress in active athletes."
A veterinarian's goals for repairing a broken bone are to align and reunite the pieces of bone, restore full function of the bone, and restore the normal appearance of the animal. The method used to achieve these goals depends on several factors, such as the severity and location of the fracture, the age of the animal, and anticipated patient and owner cooperation during post-operative healing.
Casts are a good method of stabilizing a fracture because their application doesn't require surgical invasion of the skin, muscle, or bone surrounding the fracture. However, the use of casts is limited to specific cases. The joints above and below the fractured bone must be immobilized, which eliminates use of casts on bones of the hip or shoulder. The fracture must be closed, meaning that there is no accompanying skin or muscle wound. Finally, the fracture must be relatively simple and easily realigned.
Please note: The information provided here is intended to supplement the recommendations of your veterinarian. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment based on information on this site. Nothing can replace a complete history and physical examination performed by your veterinarian. -Dr. Jeff