How to manage the small dog with a fracture of the Radius and Ulna

The small breed dogs that present to you with a fracture of the radius and ulna are typically (but not exclusively) young and have likely fractured their limb by jumping off of a not-so-high surface. These fractures are located in the distal third of the bone and are best managed with a plate. Their prognosis is EXCELLENT and the complications with surgery few, so you can confidently encourage your clients to pursue the surgical repair option. 


If surgical repair is not an option for your client, then the next best choice is to splint the fracture.  Be aware that the prognosis with splinting is far better in the younger patient (less than 1 to 1.5 years of age) than in the adult.  The latter is more likely to suffer complications and fail to heal with a splint.  This is not to say don’t splint it, but rather, encourage surgery further through informing your client. 


If you do splint this fracture in the DISTAL radius/ulna : 

  • You do not need to reduce the fracture, simply align the bones within the splint
  • You can exclude the elbow from the splint/bandage.


If you have a fracture in the PROXIMAL radius/ulna, then you must include the elbow in the splint/bandage.  A spica splint can work very well for these proximal fractures, which I cover in the bandaging playlist on my YouTube channel.