Breaks to pelvic bones
Pelvic fractures are most commonly seen in dogs and cats after being hit by a car. They can be seen as tearing of the sacro-iliac joint where the wing of the ilium is torn away from the sacrum (sacro-iliac dislocation), or can be seen as fractures of the ilium or ischium (wings of the pelvis), and may or may not also involve the acetabulum (the socket that the femur fits into).
Lameness is the most common sign seen post-accident if a pelvic fracture has occurred. Palpation can sometimes lead to a high suspicion of pelvic fractures due to crunching that may be felt on gentle manipulation of the legs. X-rays are then performed to confirm a fracture is present, if it needs to be treated, and to check that other abdominal organs such as the bladder have not been damaged.
Treatment varies markedly. Some cases simply require cage rest/limited activity as the only form of treatment. Dislocation of the sacro-iliac joint requires placement of a screw(s) through the ilium sacrum. These are normally not long procedures. Sometimes a combination of bone plates/screws are required due to multiple fractures being present, with these procedures often taking considerably longer.
Cost of the procedure
Sacro-iliac dislocations, including diagnosis and x-rays and treatment currently cost approx. $1,000 - $1,300 at SEAH. Complex/multiple pelvic fractures can cost $1,500 - $2,000. Treatment of pelvic fractures at referral centres can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the complexity.
Recovery and aftercare
Pelvic fractures, like other fractures, are painful, so your pet will go home with more than one form of pain relief, along with antibiotics. Patience is required, as it can take up to a week or more before your pet begins to move more comfortably, so nursing care can be considerable initially. Part of the high cost of referral centres is allowing them to care for your pet in the initial recovery period….at $1,000 - $2,000/day just for hospitalisation alone! Most owners prefer to have their pets at home with them, so we are happy to allow them to return home and provide extensive care advice and are always available for phone or email questions.