You Make The Diagnosis: Dog Orthopedic X-rays

Below are the x-rays of a puppy who presented for sudden lameness.  She screamed when she tried to walk on her front legs.  Look at the x-ray closely then answer the following questions:  How many bones are broken? What is the extra material on the pup’s legs?  What are the circular structures under her toes (note: you will have to look closely to find them)?   


Diagnosis:  Fracture of the left and right radius and ulna

The x-ray above shows both of the pup’s front legs from the elbow to the paw.  
The pup fractured the main weight bearing bone called the radius in both legs just above the wrist.  She also fractured the ulna on both front legs but it does not show on this film.  So the correct answer is 4 bones in total were fractured but only 2 show on this film.  The material around her wrists is a bandage with a splint made of lightweight casting material.  The paw pads, especially the central one, show up as round light grey circles on x-rays.

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.