How do we treat spinal fractures?
Spinal fractions or luxations are often emergencies because of the risk of further damage to your pet’s spinal cord. If your pet suffered a fracture as the result of a serious injury, it’s also important for them to be assessed for other life-threatening conditions.
The good news is that there is a range of treatments available for spinal fractures, providing the animal is seen as soon as possible. Your specialist will be able to advise on the best course of action for your pet.
Conservative treatment: For pets with relatively stable vertebrae and minimal injury to their spinal cord, a spinal fracture may be treated conservatively without surgical intervention. This usually involves a neck or body brace, as well as strict cage rest and a course of steroids. Conservative treatment may also be recommended before surgery if the animal is in an unstable condition.
Surgery: If your pet has significant spinal cord injuries, is in severe pain or has an unstable spine, they may be treated surgically to realign their spine and stabilise the affected vertebrae. The procedure involves placing screws or pins in the bones on either side of the fracture before securing them with plates or bone cement. These may be used on their own or with external support from casts or braces.
The prognosis for animals with spinal fractures depends on how severe the injury to their spinal cord is, how they’re treated and how soon they receive medical help. If your pet can still feel pain in their limbs and tail, and they’re treated quickly, they should make a full recovery. Your pet’s recovery may take several weeks or months, depending on the severity of their injury, and they may require specialist rehabilitative care, such as physiotherapy or hydrotherapy.
Unfortunately, if your pet can no longer feel or react to pain, it’s extremely unlikely they will recover, and they may remain permanently paralysed.
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