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Boxer dog broken leg

When a Boxer Dog Has a Broken Leg

Meet Titus...
Titus turned 2 years old on February 17, 2017. This super handsome Boxer dog is owned by Ashley and Ronnie from California.
When he was just a 10-week-old puppy, he got a broken leg. Fortunately, he had a good recovery. 
With canines, the most common site for broken bones are the limbs. And you might think that it would take a lot for this to happen; but it can occur even with regular 'rough' play or bad luck with a quick, wrong twist.

Let's look over some stats in regard to Boxer dogs and broken bones. Then, we'll take a look at what happened to Titus. We'll follow with some steps you can take to try to prevent this from happening to your Boxer. 
First, About Broken Bones
Most common areas for breaks:

Though the limbs are the most common body parts that suffers from fractures and broken bones, there are other areas as well such as the skull and spine. The prevalence of where breaks occur and how often this happens, varies quite a bit depending on the size of the dog breed. 

Here is a chart showing the most common areas of broken bones seen with the Boxer breed.  
As you can see, both hind legs see broken bones the most often, followed by the front leg (radius or ulna - wrist to elbow). The front leg upper bone (humerus - elbow to shoulder) does not see as many breaks. And while the shoulder bone is rarely broken, it is a difficult area to heal. 
Top Causes for Broken Bones:

Though this is not a fragile breed by any measure and some broken bones are due to quite serious accidents, below is a chart showing the most common reasons. 
As you can see from the chart above, the most common reason is a vehicular accident (being hit by a passing car). And it's a shame that this is the top cause, since this can be easily avoided. 

The next top reason is falling from too far of a height, followed by both sporting accidents and rough play. Puppies and seniors are most prone to the latter 3. 
Types of breaks:

There are several different ways to classify how a bone is broken. Fracture vs clean, or incomplete vs complete are the most common. 

In essence:
  • A fracture, or incomplete fracture, is when a bone is broken halfway and the skin is intact.
  • A clean break, also known as a complete fracture, is when the bone is broken entirely in its full circumference and there are two or more bone fragments. There are 3 different types of clean breaks: Transverse (the break is straight across), oblique (the break is at a diagonal, which creates two sharp points), and comminuted (the break has caused 3 or more pieces of bone). 
As you can imagine, typically the more serious the accident the higher chances of a Boxer having a more severe break. However, that was not the case with Titus, the Boxer dog that we're about to meet. 
Time to Heal:

With breaks that are able to be set in casts with any surgery, young puppies tend to heal faster than adults, often in as little as 4 weeks. Older adult Boxer dogs may need up to 8 weeks. 

If surgery is needed to repair a compound or comminuted fracture, it can take 3 months or more for a Boxer to be fully healed. Physical therapy may be needed in some cases, particularly if a dog has learned to favor one or more limbs.


One issue seen with Boxers that are still growing, is that the broken leg may be shorter then the other limbs. In many cases, once the cast is removed the dog can play 'catch up', with all limbs eventually being even. 
Let's meet Titus, to see how this Boxer dog got a broken bone and how he's doing now
Titus seems like a pretty chill Boxer, doesn't he? 
Boxer-dog-after-healing-from-broken bone
Nothing happening here...

But, that was not always the case...

In fact, this was Titus at the young age of 10 weeks old...
What happened? Well, it may have something to do with his best buddy and big brother Odin (a now 5 year old very handsome Doberman Pinscher).
Odin (the big one!) with Titus, as a puppy
While Titus is a good sized Boxer now, this was not so when he was a new pup in the house; Odin towered over him. And that lead to the unfortunate accident of breaking his leg while the two were playing. 

Below, we have some Q&A with his owner Ashley, to find out what happened. 
Q: When the break occurred, was it immediately noticed or did it manifest with a limp and then a realization that something might be wrong?
A: We knew right away. Titus would not walk on his leg.
Q: If you wouldn't mind sharing the info, can you relay the costs involved with the broken leg?

A: Over $1,000.

Q: Was this a fracture or a clean break?

A: It was a clean break.

Q: How long did the cast need to remain on and was he given any pain medication?

A: The cast stayed on for 6 weeks, and he was given pain meds, but only for the first few days. 

Q: How did he handle having the cast on?

A: He did really well with cast. It was just a little bit of a challenge for us trying to potty train a puppy with a cast and not get it wet. We had to put little baby socks on the cast to protect it. Every time he would go potty we had to lift the broken leg out of the way to make sure that it would not get wet. 

We were so afraid it was just going to break again so we had to create a "puppy play pen" as we called it, on the floor and made sure he was busy with toys and treats so he would stay in one place. He wanted to play and run with Odin so bad.
Odin and Titus now, not such a big difference any longer!
Q: How was your Boxer after the cast came off? Any signs that the leg had been broken?

A. Thankfully, no signs at all. He runs so fast it is scary! His leg was much smaller and fragile then his others. But it grew to the same size of his other legs right away. Now you can't even tell.
Q: In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently aside from segregating the two? Or was it one of those odd, random things that could not be prevented?

A: Of course we wished it would have never happened to him. We were just getting ready for bed and Titus and Odin started to play and it was an accident. These 2 dogs are best buds.
Titus is a great dog. We never had a Boxer before and I would get another Boxer in a heartbeat. He is so sweet and just loves to be around people. He never barks even though sometimes Odin will bark if he hears a fly down the street. 

Titus just looks at Odin like what is going on big brother? These two dogs are a part of our family and we would not have it any other way. 
ABI: Thank you Ashley, for sharing this story. Many owners probably did not know realize how easily a Boxer pup can break his leg. We're happy to see your awesome dogs enjoying life!
Helping to Prevent Broken Bones
There's a lot to protect our Boxers from, no matter their age. And while not all random accidents cannot be prevented, there are several steps you can take to drastically lower the chances of your Boxer suffering a broken leg:

1. Do not allow your Boxer to be off leash outside. With being hit by a passing car the #1 reason for receiving broken bones, and there is of course a possibility of a fatal accident, take steps that your Boxer cannot take off running off leash.

2. With jumping from heights & sporting events (Frisbee, etc.) the next top causes, it's up to you to supervise your Boxer in regard to what he can and cannot handle. 

3. Since rough play is the 4th top cause, don't assume that two dogs will automatically play together with the exact right amount of force and restraint. It's really easy for dogs to be having fun and get carried away. 

In multiple dog households, while you do want to encourage your dogs to be friends, it's best to offer very close supervision until the dogs are either close in size or have proven themselves to show control in regard to enthusiasm. 
Want to Read More Stories About Amazing Boxer Dogs?
Check out Boxer Dog Profiles - A list of interesting articles about awesome Boxers and their owners. From those that survived harrowing ordeals, to those that do special training, you'll find it here.
Looking for Advice and Care Tips?
Supplies for a Boxer Dog - A list of what's needed to provide optimal care for your Boxer puppy, adult, or senior dog. 
Boxer Dog Skin Issues - Common problems that can plague this breed, signs of more serious red flags, and remedies for dry skin and other issues. 
Boxer Dog Head Bobbing - See which type of head shaking is normal and which is a sign of a serious health issue. 
The Boxer Dog Skinny Phase - It's not uncommon for adolescent Boxers to having trouble keeping up their weight. Advice on how to safely help give your Boxer a bit of a boost. 
Things to do now... 
Become a Member  - Receive reminders when we add new pages of information to the site and you can suggest something for us to write about. * If you are already a Member and want to suggest a topic, just reply to any newsletter. 
Check out The GIANT Book of Boxer Dog Care - Available in both hard copy & eBook; this is the most comprehensive Boxer care book that exists.
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