Emergency vet advice: what to do if your pet breaks a leg

January 5, 2021 at 7:00 AM
Emergency vet advice: what to do if your pet breaks a leg

Having a pet break a leg can be scary, but it’s important to know what to do to help your pet such an unfortunate incident occurs. As your emergency vet, the team at Beech Lake Animal Hospital wants to make sure that you’re prepared for such an incident or can quickly refer to this guide as needed, so we put together a short informational guide to help.


If your pet has broken a leg, you might have witnessed the incident and can easily tell that there’s a broken bone. However, sometimes pets can wander around the neighborhood and return home with a broken bone. If this is the case, some signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for include:

  • Holding the leg up
  • Swelling
  • Whining or whimpering
  • Abnormal movement of the leg
  • Grinding or popping sound of bone

If you’re at all worried about your pet and think there’s an issue, don’t hesitate and get your pet to an emergency vet at Beech Lake Animal Hospital right away.


While some form of trauma like getting hit by a vehicle or an accident during play is an obvious answer to why your pet has a broken leg, there could be other causes or underlying conditions that can lead to a break. A diet that doesn’t provide your pet with enough calcium can lead to broken bones. Additionally, a young animal with underdeveloped bones as well as small breeds with small bones is more likely to break a leg. The worst-case scenario could be bone cancer that’s weakening your pet’s bones. A visit to the emergency vet can provide insight into the ultimate cause of the break.

Providing first aid

Providing proper first aid is an important part of ensuring that your pet receives proper care. If don’t incorrectly, you can make the break worse than its original condition or cause more harm to blood vessels and other organs surrounding the wound. In some cases, your pet can walk to your car on the other legs that haven’t been injured. Make sure to help your pet balance as it walks.

If your pet can’t walk, a small animal can be easily carried to a vehicle, but a larger animal like large dog breeds need more assistance. You and another person can use a blanket as a sling for your pet if you’re not able to easily carry it to your vehicle. However you get your pet to the emergency vet, it’s important to make sure that the injured leg is stabilized and your pet is calm.


An important part of getting your pet treatment is that you do not take pain management into your own hands. While there are over-the-counter medications that are similar to those that your emergency vet will administer, they are not the same. However, you can call ahead to get advice from our team as to ways that you can help ease your pet’s pain on the ride in.

Once you get here, X-rays of the leg will likely be taken to confirm the break and identify its extent. From here, we can determine a course of action, which can include either setting the leg in a cast or performing surgery. The type and placement of the break as well as your pet’s age will be accounted for when it comes to treatment.

Call an emergency vet

If you’re worried about an injury your pet has sustained, call Beech Lake Animal Hospital right away. We’re your emergency vet serving the Lexington, TN area with trusted and affordable pet care.