Chapter 107 Fractures of the Pelvis
Pelvic fractures in dogs and cats are extremely common. Severe trauma, such as motor vehicular accidents, is usually the cause of pelvic fractures. Concurrent injuries to other body systems, including life-threatening injuries, are also common and must be identified and treated in a timely fashion. Several specific types of injury occur in the pelvis, including sacroiliac luxation, fractures of the non-articular portions of the pelvis, and articular fractures. Specific management protocols for each are described below.
(From Fossum TW: Small Animal Surgery, 2nd ed. St Louis: Mosby, 2002.)
If any question exists as to the integrity of the spinal column, do not allow the animal to stand or twist the spine until you have reviewed lateral and ventrodorsal radiographs of the spine. The ventrodorsal view can be made by either using a cross table lateral beam projection technique or carefully rolling the animal on its back without twisting the spine (known as a log roll maneuver).
In many animals with pelvic fractures, conservative treatment is all that is needed for successful fracture healing and normal pelvic limb function. However, careful nursing is required for several weeks because multiple fractures are often present. Patient size is an important consideration in making the decision to manage pelvic fractures without surgery. Small dogs and cats are much easier to manage for extended periods of time.
Pelvic fractures may result in marked narrowing of the pelvic canal if left untreated, with the risk of subsequent obstipation, dystocia, dysuria, or sciatic nerve entrapment. If operative treatment of pelvic fractures is delayed beyond 5 days, muscle spasm and fibrosis may make reduction of the fracture fragments difficult, because of the large muscle mass surrounding the pelvis.