A woman in blue gloves is pointing at an x-ray of a dog with a broken leg.

Maple the Rottie Breaks a Bone


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Rottweilers are big, sturdy pups that look pretty invincible. But this doesn’t mean they’re not prone to the same accidents and injuries that befall other dogs. Maple, a one-year old Rottie pup, was having the time of her life on a farm when a simple slip caused her to break her leg. A dog with a broken leg needing surgery is a very unhappy pup, as her owner attests to in this article!

Limb injuries like are often among PD’s top 10 claims for any given year, so it’s worth knowing more about them. Here’s Maple’s story, including what you need to know about taking care of a dog with a broken leg, whether it needs surgery or not.

Maple The Rottweiler
One-year old Maple, the Rottweiler pup.

Meet Maple

Maple is a lively one year old Rottweiler who lives in Tahunanui. Her pet mum, Taylah, says they got her when she was eight weeks old.

“We absolutely adore her goofy, social behaviour,” says Taylah. “She’s our only pet so is very spoiled.”

Like most pups, Maple loves playing and going for walkies, but her absolutely favourite thing is going to doggy day-care across the street from their house.

Taylah says they decided to get dog insurance for Maple “the moment we got her” – as recommended by their vet. This is fairly common, since many vets recommend pet insurance as a vital part of being a responsible pet parent. Find out more about why in the video below:

A simple fright leads to a dog with a broken leg

Unfortunately, Maple came down with kennel cough a few months after they got her.

“We’re unsure how she got it,” says Taylah. “She’s such a social dog and was really unwell with it and needed to be on a lot of medication to recover.”

Also known as canine cough, it’s a highly contagious respiratory infection that causes a harsh, hacking cough. Although canine cough is rarely fatal, it’s still no fun for any dog suffering from it – and it can cause pneumonia.

From a big cough to a big ouch

After recovering from this ordeal, Taylah took Maple out to a friend’s farm for some fresh air.

She remembers, “They have tame deer and one came close to Maple and it caused her to get a fright and just flick her leg the wrong way. “

Taylah says Maple’s leg was instantly swollen and appeared difficult to walk on. They thought it was just a sprain, but took her in for X-rays to be on the safe side.

To their surprise, Maple’s leg had a malleolar fracture – a break in her ankle area, specifically in one of the malleoli. Malleoli are the bony protrusions that you can feel on either side of the ankle. In dogs, this type of fracture usually involves either the lateral (outside) or medial (inside) malleolus, which are parts of the tibia and fibula bones in their lower leg.

Just like in humans, these fractures can be painful for dogs and may occur due to trauma or injury, like a bad fall or a car accident. Depending on the severity, a malleolar fracture might be a simple crack in the bone or a more complex break where the bone is shattered or displaced.

Poor Maple was now a dog with a broken leg and only surgery could fix it.

A person is putting a bandage on a dog with a broken leg.

Maple gets surgery

Treating a dog with a broken leg or malleolar fracture typically involves immobilising the area to allow healing, which might mean a cast or splint. In some cases, however, a vet may need to do surgery to realign and stabilise the broken bones using pins. This is what happened in Maple’s case.

“After X-rays, four days later, she went in for pins to reattach the fragment of bone back into place in her ankle,” says Taylah.

Taylah says she never could have imagined that such a seemingly small incident would lead to such a big injury. And with it, so many vet bills.

Thankfully, they had insurance to help them cover the $5,000+ in bills for dog broken leg surgery and related vet visits.

“It was a really stressful time for us emotionally and financially but PD made it such an easy experience for us,” says Taylah.

Maple on the mend

After her surgery, Maple had to be in a cast for one week and had her stitches taken out after four weeks. The vet told Taylah to limit Maple’s exercise and activity for four weeks. She’s now allowed 10 minutes of walking on a lead a day.

“Maple is slowly getting better,” says Taylah. “Because she’s such a lively dog she acts like her ankle isn’t broken so we have to keep her relaxed; we have a long road to recovery.”

She says they’re aiming to have her back at doggy day-care in July next year as the recovery time for a dog’s broken leg survey can be up to nine months.

A black and tan dog with a broken leg is sitting on the grass.

How to help a dog with a broken leg

Caring for a puppy with a broken leg can be challenging, but with patience and attention you can help your little friend heal and stay comfortable during their recovery period. Here’s what you can do:

Follow your vet’s instructions

First and foremost, stick to the treatment plan provided by your veterinarian. This might include administering medication, attending follow-up appointments, and possibly physical therapy down the line.

Rest and confinement

Your dog with a broken leg needs to rest and avoid putting strain on the injured limb. Create a comfortable, confined space like a small room or a crate. Make sure it’s cosy with their favourite blanket or bed.

Limit movement

Avoid activities that involve running, jumping, or rough play. Even though your puppy might be eager to play, it’s important to keep them calm and still as much as possible.

Toilet breaks

For toilet breaks, use a leash to control their movement. You might need to support their injured side gently if they’re having trouble walking.

Mental stimulation

As a dog with a broken leg’s physical activity is limited, focus on mental stimulation. This can include gentle training sessions, puzzle toys, or chew toys to keep them engaged and prevent boredom.

Nutrition and hydration

Ensure your puppy gets a balanced diet and plenty of water. Proper nutrition is crucial for healing.

Regular monitoring

Keep an eye on the injury for any signs of worsening, like increased swelling, redness, or pain. If you notice anything concerning, contact your vet.

Love and comfort

Lastly, lots of cuddles and gentle affection will help your puppy feel secure and loved during this tough time.

Also check out our piece, “How Do I Know My Cat’s Leg is Broken?“, which has useful information that applies to broken legs in dogs too.

A dog with a broken leg laying on a table.

Insurance for a dog’s broken leg and so much more

A dog’s broken leg may mean many expensive visits to the vet. Often, these visits cost way more than you thought they would. That’s why it’s so important to have dog insurance for accidents like this.

PD Insurance is an award-winning insurance brand that offers three value-rich, month-to-month plans to choose from. Plus, our excess (a fixed excess of your choosing) is charged only once across a claimable health event, regardless of how many follow up vet visits you attend for it. This will help ensure your fur baby gets the medical attention it needs while giving you a financial cushion.

Why not get a quick quote today?

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