It is of extreme importance for the well-being of your pet that a splint or cast be well cared for at all times. You, as the pet owner, must assume this responsibility.
It should be realized that under certain conditions (i.e., getting wet, slippage from its original position, etc.) the splint or cast may not perform its function properly or may even do severe damage to the animal, such as causing gangrene of the foot. Examine the splint or cast daily. Watch for swelling of the leg above the splint, and pinch the toes through the splint daily to ensure the animal has good sensation in them and that the toes have not become swollen.
Keep the splint or cast dry at all times. When the animal must go outside during wet weather, a plastic bag can be used to keep the splint or cast dry. Remove this when the animal is back inside.
Talcum powder or cornstarch helps to prevent friction sores that may occur where the splint or cast rubs in the groin or the armpit of the animal.
If any of the following events occur, return the animal to the hospital that day, where you will be attended to by either the orthopaedic staff, if available, or someone from the emergency service:
- Any change in position or shape of the splint or cast on the limb
- Any excessive chewing of the splint or cast by the animal
- Any sign of excessive discomfort
- Any unusual or bad odors coming from the splint or cast
- Any unexplained soiling of the splint or cast that was not present before
- Any pronounced sores that develop at the top of the splint or cast that do not respond to talcum powder or cornstarch application
- Swelling of the toes, or the leg above the splint
- Inappetence, depression, or fever in your pet
Be sure to make and keep an appointment to have the splint or cast examined and adjusted by the doctor in charge.
No splint or cast can be worn in complete comfort by the animal, and minor licking or chewing is to be expected. A few animals will persist in mutilating even the most carefully made and fitted splints or casts. If there is even a suggestion of trouble, it is always best to have the animal examined right away.