Fractures of the paw do not need surgery

Fractures of the paw involve any or all of the bones of the paws that can be managed with splinting.  If the metacarpals/metatarsals are fractured then the carpus/tarsus should be included in the splint.  However, if only phalanges are fractured then the splint can stop just below the carpus/tarsus.  The issue with fractures of the bones of the paws is that they have a poorer blood supply (as compared to the humerus or femur) and therefore tend to take a long time to heal – upwards of 10-12 weeks for an adult patient. Don’t worry about properly reducing the fractured bones, as they will become aligned/straightened sufficiently with splinting.
Managing splints and bandages in dogs and cats for long periods of time can be frustrating and difficult, and therefore surgical repair may seem like a better alternative.  Unfortunately, repair will usually involve small pins, which typically makes postoperative splint support necessary.  Surgical repair can lead to further damage to the (already) poor local blood flow, resulting in complications.
Ultimately, I suggest splinting a fractured paw while preparing your clients and staff for what’s ahead. Check out my series on bandaging/splinting on my YouTube channel.  Be sure to watch (and maybe take notes) on the “bandage follow-up care” seminar.