How Long Does a Puppy Need to Wear a Splint?by Susan Paretts
Young pups are still growing, making them more prone to injury than their adult counterparts. Your little daredevil can easily strain a muscle or fracture and even break a bone. In some cases, wearing a simple splint may help heal his wound. Depending on the severity of the injury, Fido may have to wear his splint anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
Why Use a Splint?
Splints are typically used on your pup's legs to support, protect and immobilize an injury, allowing it to heal, according to the VCA Animal Hospitals website. These medical aids are made from rigid materials held together by straps or bandages. These materials prevent the leg joints around the injury from bending and causing further damage to the skin, bones, joints, muscles, tendons or ligaments. Your vet usually will place a splint below the knee on Fido's back legs and below the midpoint of the humerus bone on his front legs. The humerus connects your pup's shoulder and elbow. Injuries that occur in other parts of your pooch's body or leg may require treatment other than a splint.
Time in the Splint
How long your pup spends wearing his splint will vary based upon the type and severity of his injury. Minor lesions or sprains make take a few days to heal, depending on what your vet recommends. Serious injuries like bone fractures or breaks can take anywhere from four to six weeks or more to heal, according to Vetstreet. If little Fido has gone through any surgery, he may take several weeks to heal while wearing a splint to help in his recovery. Generally, a younger dog heals more quickly than an older one and usually wears his splint for a shorter amount of time when healing from a similar injury, advises the PetWave website.
Caring for the Injury
If your vet has applied a splint to your puppy's leg, you'll need to check it daily. Look for signs of infection, including swelling, unpleasant odors or redness, recommends the VCA Animal Hospitals website. Keep the foot and splint dry and don't let Fido bother it. An Elizabethan collar can prevent your pup from licking or chewing at the splint if necessary. While splints can sometimes stay in place without being changed for several weeks in older puppies, young pups may require more frequent changing. If Fido's body is growing rapidly while he's wearing his splint, your vet may have to change and adjust it weekly to account for his growth.
The Vet Knows Best
Always follow your vet's instructions when it comes to caring for your puppy's splint and never remove it yourself unless she instructs you to. Your vet must apply your pup's splint because if used improperly, a splint can make an injury worse. While he's wearing his splint, you may need to limit your rambunctious pup's activities to allow his leg to heal properly. You also may need to cover any slippery floors with towels to make them easier for Fido to navigate. If Fido's splint becomes damaged or wet, get him to the vet. A damaged splint can contribute to your pup's injuries and increase his recovery time.
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Bandage and Splint Care in Dogs
- Petfinder: How to Care for Your Pet’s Bandage, Splint or Sling
- Long Beach Animal Hospital: Forearm Fracture in a Dog
- Italian Greyhound Club of America Rescue of Ohio: The Essentials on Leg Breaks in Italian Greyhounds
- WebMD: Broken Bones in a Dog
- VeterinaryPartner.com: Post-Operative Care for Pets
- PetWave: Dog Limping -- How to Get Your Dog Back on His Feet
- Vetstreet: My Dog Has a Broken Bone -- Canine First Aid
- Gundogdoc.com: Orthopedics, Feet and Joints
- Dogs in Canada: Puppy Play
- Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images News/Getty Images