There are many different types of fractures (broken bones) and each requires an individual plan and approach for repair. We stock a wide range of implants and we have experience with a number of repair techniques that allow us to repair most fractures successfully.
All orthopaedic surgeries require careful postoperative care. Several weeks are required for bone to heal and the implants used need to provide support for this time. Exercise restrictions are thus required for postoperative care and for some animals these restrictions may include cage confinement and even light sedation. You will often be asked to perform some gentle physiotherapy exercises as part of rehabilitation. Some patients may have a support bandage for a while – bandages require special care to minimise problems.
Humeral Intercondylar Fissure (also known as Incomplete Ossification of the Humeral Condyle)
The humerus, radius and ulna bones come together at the elbow to form the elbow joint. In some dogs, particularly spaniels, the two condyles of the humerus sometimes fail to grow together, leading to a persistent crack or fissure. This can lead to pain and lameness but perhaps more importantly, can predispose to fractures of the elbow. These fractures can occur during normal exercise are often particularly difficult to repair.
Fissures can sometimes be seen on normal X-Ray images although sometimes a CT scan is required for definitive diagnosis. It is always a good idea to evaluate both elbows.
In cases where humeral intercondylar fissure is confirmed after examination for a front limb lameness, surgery is recommended both to treat the lameness and also to reduce the risk of fracture of one or both condyles. The surgery involves placing a sturdy metal screw across the fissure – this screw stays in permanently.
If a fissure is diagnosed in a dog without symptoms of lameness, a decision needs to be made whether or not to treat the condition surgically. Up to 20% of dogs with an incidentally diagnosed fissure that is not treated surgically will suffer from a fracture of the joint in the future.