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A broken bone is never good news. Some breaks, however, are cleaner or less complicated than others and have better odds of healing with minimal intervention. A compound fracture, on the other hand, is not only a fracture; it's also an open wound (a dangerous risk in itself) that may involve significant nerve and soft tissue damage. This is one of those situations when your beloved Los Angeles pet needs immediate care from an emergency veterinarian -- and our five-veterinarian team at Animal Emergency Centre is ready to provide that care.
Fractured bones can come in a bewildering variety of types, from simple "greenstick" fractures and hairline cracks to comminuted fractures in which the bone has been shattered into multiple fragments. In a compound fracture, also referred to as an open fracture, the jagged edges of the broken bone have pushed their way through the skin until they are exposed to open air. This is an extremely troubling injury, and not just because of the broken bone. The bone end can tar its way through muscles, nerves and connective tissues in a way that causes serious damage and possible disability. The wound poses also an immediate threat to your pet's well being. Dirt, airborne bacteria and other substances can enter this wound and cause contamination. The longer the wound remains untreated, the greater the risk of serious, hard-to-treat bacterial infections developing at the injury site.
If your pet sustains a compound fracture, it's imperative that you bring the animal to our emergency animal care center in Los Angeles right away. (To reduce the risk of infection, place a damp, clean towel over the visible part of the bone and wash the area as best you can with antibacterial soap.) As you arrive at our facility, an emergency veterinarian on our team will perform x-rays and other diagnostics. While a compound fracture is simple enough to diagnose with the naked eye, we need to be able to see what both ends of the fracture look like, the extent of the internal tissue damage and whether other bones have sustained damage as well.
Treatment of a compound fracture requires through sterilization of the wound first and foremost. We can then set the bone ends into the correct alignment and surgically repair the fracture. For a fracture of this complexity, your emergency veterinarian may need to use a technique called internal fixation, attaching metal plates and screws around the bone ends to hold them firmly in place so they will heal correctly. We then seal the wound and apply a cast. A compound fracture may take up to 3 months to heal completely, especially in an older animal.
Your quick response and our expertise can make all the difference in the final outcome. Call our emergency animal care facility at (818) 760-3882 for more information about our fracture treatment services.