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Also known as osteomyelitis, bone infection can be described as an inflammation of the bone or the bone marrow caused by the presence of bacteria or fungus. While in most cases this condition is caused by an infection that started off as superficial but has eventually permeated through the bones of your canine, sometimes it may also be the result of a surgery. Any wounds such as those inflicted by bites, claws, area trauma or fractures might end up being exposed to a certain pathogenic bacteria that spread throughout the body and inside the bones.
How do you identify a bone infection in your dog?
Some of the early symptoms of osteomyelitis may include fever, pain and soft tissue swelling. Also, your four legged friend might seem too depressed and constantly refuse to eat. Lethargy, weakness and episodic lameness are also a few of the common tell-tale signs that your dog might be suffering from a bone infection. In some cases your pet might be unable to bear weight on the affected leg and as a result his muscles might end up getting wasted or shrunk from lack of use. As the infection spreads, your dog will start experiencing excessive swelling in joints and might even have pus or fluid ooze out from the skin tissue surrounding the affected bone.
How do you treat the infection?
If you suspect that your dog might have a bone infection, you must immediately take him to the vet. The vet will enquire about the complete history of your pet and then perform a series of physical exams and tests including blood and urine analysis. Lab reports will generally provide a comprehensive idea about the level of infection (whether it is acute or chronic), the type (bacterial or fungal) and also the level of damage it has done on your pet’s immune system. Depending upon the seriousness of the infection, osteomyelitis may be treated either by medical treatment or surgery. However the major goal of both kinds of treatment is to clean up the wound and get rid of the pus from the infected area.
Medical Treatment– According to the lab reports, your vet will be able to determine the suitable combination of antibiotics that will be required to treat the infection and limit its further growth. Typically the antibiotics will be administered orally or through injection. In case a fungal infection is detected, your pet will be treated with antifungal medications.
Surgical Treatment– If the infection has spread to a larger area, surgical intervention might be required to drain off the fluidic discharge and get rid of the dead tissues surrounding the infected bone. In some cases the vet might also have to fix screws, pins or plates to stabilize the operated bone. If the doctor suspects that the infection cannot be contained with treatment alone, he might have to even amputate the affected limb in order to save the dog’s life.
Regular health exams of your canine friend and a little extra caution are essential for avoiding the onset of osteomyelitis and ensuring that he leads a healthy and happy life.