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Bone Infection in Dogs



If your dog has wounds, the first thing your veterinarian will do is irrigate the wound. The wound will need to be cleaned of dead tissue in order to provide a space for the pus to drain. Antibiotic therapy will be started, which may continue for a long period of time until the infection has been fully resolved.


If there is a fracture in the bone, your veterinarian will stabilize it to prevent further damage to the surrounding tissues and bone. Surgery to stabilize the fracture, and implants or other fixation material may be used, depending on the location and severity of the fracture. If the fracture is severe, there is a chance that the infection will spread to other parts of body. This will need to be taken into account, especially if there is too much damaged bone or tissue damage. In some cases amputation of a digit, tail, or limb may be a more practical solution, and a more effective strategy for saving the life of your dog.


If an implant is placed, your veterinarian will remove it after the fracture and wound have healed. Follow-up care generally involves x-ray examinations at regular intervals in order to monitor the progress of treatment.


Living and Management


Your dog's activity will need to be restricted during the treatment and healing phase. The bone will remain unstable for some time, and in the case of amputation, your dog will need to learn to compensate for the loss of the limb. Depending on the severity of the infection, treatment can be a costly and long-term process.


Acute cases respond well as opposed to chronic cases, which require long-term therapy along with surgical intervention. If the infection is not responding well to antibiotic treatment, your veterinarian will take additional samples to determine a more suitable antibiotic. Similarly, if the fracture is taking too long to stabilize, another round of surgery may need to be performed.


You will need to revisit your veterinarian at regular intervals so that your doctor can follow your dog's progress through laboratory testing and x-ray examinations. Follow your veterinarian's guidelines strictly, giving medication only at the prescribed time and only in the exact prescribed dosage. Missing the dosage or changing the dosage of antibiotics may lead to treatment failure and further complications.


As movement will need to be restricted until the fracture is fully stabilized and the infection controlled, you will need to make a place for your dog in a stress free environment, away from active children, other pets, and any distraction that will get your dog riled up. For example, if you place your dog too near an entrance, window, or traveled area, such as a family room, your dog may want to jump up to investigate or bark at the goings on. Similarly, you will also need to take care when taking your dog outside to relieve itself. If possible, you may need to carry the dog out and in until the bone has stabilized enough for the dog to stand on it.


Cage rest may be an option, possibly with a place made near the cage for your dog to urinate and defecate. This should be a last resort, as you may not want to retrain your dog to go outside again once it has healed. Ask your veterinarian's advice when in doubt, as she or he will have tips learned from previous patients.


In addition, good nutrition during this time will ensure rapid healing. Ask your veterinarian for suggestions regarding foods and supplements to promote bone healing.


The final prognosis depends on the location of the infection, the extent of the problem, the type of fracture, the type of infection, the surgical intervention that has been performed, and your dog's individual response to the treatment.



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