Broken Bones. I get questions all the time from people whose dog has broken a leg and their vet recommends surgery, but they cannot afford it. Often the surgeries can run $1,000 – 2,000 for simple surgeries to $3,000 – 5,000 dollars plus with complications. For example here’s what Eliza had to say about her dog: My 7-year old standard poodle was hit by a car last night. I took him to the ER Vet Hospital immediately. I was given an estimate of $1,600+ to $1,900 and then told I would need to get him to my vet no later than Monday for emergency surgery of fractured radius ulna – which would cost an additional $2,000 – $3,000 or more. This was far more money than I could come up with. I was able to get my dog examined and get pain meds and his leg in a splint for a little over $300 and I brought him home and have been watching for everything I was cautioned to watch for.
My dog is actually doing very well, he has had none of the signs I have been watching for, he is alert, he is eating, drinking, not acting like he is in pain, but I have kept him laying down as much as possible. The ER did not x-ray him, but his paw looked like it was hanging just after his accident. Any advise is appreciated. In these situations, I always advice getting X-rays, so you are able to make an informed decision. Get them taken as soon as possible and try to get them on a CD. That way owners can keep a copy for themselves and can email them out for 2nd opinions if needed.
In general, you should never be rushed into any surgery. You do need the X-ray so you can make a decision. Although orthopedic surgery is expensive, in many cases it is far from your only option. Depending on the age and size of the dog as well as the type of fracture, treatment options vary and may include rest with a splint or a cast, an intramedullary bone pin with or without wires or bone plates. The cost of each will vary accordingly, the later being the most costly.
As always, I’m available to help if you need a vet to review the X-rays and/or to give a second opinion and discuss various treatments. If you aren’t able to afford the best option, it’s important to remember that even extremely serious fractures will for the vast majority of pets, heal with time and rest along with supportive care, a good diet and proper vitamin supplementation.