Case Advice- Fractures
The following guidance is most likely familiar reading for most veterinary surgeons, however it may be useful to have it convenient for reference when considering referral of orthopaedic cases.
Fractures and trauma cases
Most cases present in shock and providing pain relief and i/v fluids are more important initially than assessment of fractures and radiography. Cases will benefit in terms of survival rates if this started before transporting. If a fracture is detected stabilisation of the fracture in a Robert Jones type soft bandage will provide support, reduce swelling, and make the patient more comfortable during transportation. This also helps to reduce the serious complication of a sharp bone fragment subsequently penetrating the skin.
Open fractures cases
Open fractures cases or cases with wounds elsewhere on the leg which is fractured need careful attention. Fracture contamination in the clinic is a real risk and these cases should be handled using sterile technique wearing sterile gloves. The area may be clipped and lavaged with sterile saline, avoiding flushing material into the wound and a sterile bandage applied. Systemic antibiotics should be given rather than applying topical non sterile solutions to the open wound.
Telephone advice can be given to veterinary surgeons when you feel it may be helpful, on 028 38 352585