Fractures to the pelvis are relatively common in trauma patients, affecting both cats and dogs.
The pelvis is a complicated structure, comprising 6 separate bones fused together, attached to the spine at the front, and with the hip joints located laterally on each side.
Pelvic fractures normally come from significant trauma, such as a car accident, and there is a high risk of other injuries to the patient.
In spite of this, careful patient selection and patient care can result in extremely good outcomes for many patients with pelvic fractures.
Pelvic surgery can involve a combination of metal implants designed to hold the broken fragments in place while they heal.
This can involve multiple surgical approaches to different parts of the pelvis, possibly during more than one operation. Pain control is critical, so the patient is normally on constant infusions of very strong painkillers throughout and after surgery.
Patients that are suitable for surgery need to have bowel and bladder function intact since these can be permanently damaged by the original accident, and surgery to the pelvis will not repair them.
Respiratory function should be good and the patient generally clinically stable before pelvic reconstruction takes place. This stabilisation can take several days.
Pelvic reconstruction must take place within the first week or so of injury, otherwise the fractured bones will begin to heal in the wrong place.
All patients undergoing pelvic surgery will have full blood tests prior to surgery, including clotting function tests. Haemorrhage can be difficult to control if the patient’s blood clotting is not functioning well.
Time involved in clinic
Pelvic reconstruction can involve a prolonged hospital stay while the patient regains strength and use of the hindlegs. This could be a week or more. During this time pain will be managed aggressively to keep the patient comfortable, encourage eating and defaecation, and help them start to walk again.
A long period of rest at home is the norm after pelvic surgery. This may involve cage confinement for cats, or a crate for dogs, or simple restriction to a small room.
How to book
Give reception a ring on 09 238 7486 to discuss transfer of your patient to our clinic for assessment and treatment. You may be asked to bring any clinical notes, xrays images, and medications with you when you come.