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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16268
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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I have a 16 year old yorkie who fractured a bone in s

Customer Question

I have a 16 year old yorkie who fractured a bone in his shoulder is surgery worth it ?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Now whether or not to have surgery does depend on the fracture, Charlie's health, and whether you are willing to have him treated.

With that all in mind, I would note that usually straight forward fractures of the collar bone (scapula) don't need surgery since the large volume of muscle tissue there often act as a splint to keep the bones together and allow them to knit. That said, if he has severe damage to the collar bone (broken in a bunch of pieces that aren't aligned) or has broken his humerus; then intervening to ensure those bones heal may be necessary. That said, it does depend on the specific fracture type to how we intervene. Some do require intensive surgery (using pins, wires, plates, etc) but some can be fixed using less invasive surgery (placing an external fixator to hold the bones in place). And still others can be casted (though it does depend again on where exactly the fracture is).

Further to that, before we jump into any surgery, Charlie's health is just as important when making this decision. This is because if he has underlying health issues (ie liver or kidney disease, heart problems, etc) he may not be a candidate for surgery at all. So, before deciding anything, we'd need to be thinking about having a geriatric blood panel tested to make sure he can safely survive an anesthesia.

Overall, if he is in pain and the fracture isn't a straight forward break of the scapula that his muscles can hold together, then we'd need to think about surgery. Of course, before planning anything we need to make sure his body is up for this. If it is, then it isn't really a case of worth, since age is a number and having as him comfortable for what life he has left would be ideal. So, we'd want to speak to his vet about the fracture type, whether the bones are aligned, and what chance it has to heal with 8 weeks of cage rest and pain relief. If the fracture isn't aligned and the vet doesn't feel that is an option, then surgery would be ideal to address this for Charlie so he doesn't suffer with pain from this over the rest of his life.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.
Hi Debbie,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Charlie. How is everything going?
nekovet