Leg Breaks

IGs and Leg Breaks

Are Italian Greyhounds More Likely to Break a Leg?

Teddy, broke both his front legs – one at 7 yrs and one at 7 1/2 yrs old

If you’ve done much research into Italian Greyhounds online, you might have come to the conclusion that despite their delicate appearance Italian Greyhounds are a “hardy” breed. On the better websites you might also read a rather conflicting statement “IGs are good with kids but their thin bones are fragile and can be hurt by rough play from young children.” (See Wikipedia) What should you believe, and how fragile are Italian Greyhounds? We hope we can provide you with more information on the fragility of Italian Greyhounds’ legs, and help you prepare should your Italian Greyhound ever break a leg.

 

Joey, broke leg at 10 months

Joey, broke leg at 10 months

Yes, Italian Greyhounds have very thin legs. Italian Greyhounds also love acrobatics, like jumping from your love seat to your sofa in a single bound, which put those thin legs in jeopardy time and time again. If you have children who have not been properly trained on how to be gentle with this breed, or your IG plays with another larger dog, you are increasing the risk of your dog breaking his or her leg. Some Italian Greyhounds have less dense legs so they are more prone to leg breaks. A broken leg is far more common in young growing dogs, but any Italian Greyhound can break a let from poor landings, falls, or an accident like being sat or stepped on. It is not uncommon in the Italian Greyhound community to hear of an IG who broke their leg by merely jumping off a sofa or out of a car. Some IGs have broken both front legs jumping down to the floor.

 

How much does it cost to fix a leg break?

Most leg breaks should be fixed with a plate to decrease the chances of recurring leg breaks. Your vet might give you a cheaper option of setting the leg, but legs set this way have a higher chance of rebreaking, and additional breaks will not only will cost more, but could result in your dog losing his or her entire leg. The cost of plating a leg is usually between $2000 – $3000. You will also have additional costs for x-rays and cast changes.

An unexpected $2000 – $3000 bill can cause great strain on a family’s finances. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you can look into quick medical financing at a low interest rate at CareCredit. If you qualify, CareCredit will give credit to cover a family pet emergency. A better strategy is to always be prepared and purchase Pet Insurance that will cover leg breaks. One such plan is PetInsurance.com. The cost can be as low as about $9.42 a month for a 3 month old puppy in the midwest, but prices vary depending on your location, the dog’s age, etc. Visit the site for a free quote.

Italian Greyhound rescues take in many dogs every year who have broken their leg and whose owners were not prepared to cover the cost. If you find yourself in this situation, be aware that Italian Greyhound rescues will only pay veterinarian fees for dogs who have been surrendered to rescue. IG’s in the rescue program will be adopted out to a home of Italian Greyhound rescue’s choosing, and previous owners are not considered.

The vet fees for fixing broken legs add up to tens of thousands of dollars every year for rescue. With insurance, no one has to give up their beloved pet, and rescue can use those funds to cover its other vet expenses. If you own an IG, or are looking to adopt one, please either put money aside or purchase pet insurance. The risk of your Italian Greyhound breaking his or her leg is too great to not be prepared.

Despite the cost, your Italian Greyhound is very likely to recover fully and be back to jumping around like a circus acrobat, if you let him, in a few months. Please don’t assume a leg break is a death sentence for your Italian Greyhound. When given the chance after breaking a leg, your Italian Greyhound will heal and have a normal happy life.

 

What Happens After a Leg Break?

After surgery, your dog will need to wear a cast for 8-10 weeks. During this time, your Italian Greyhound will need to be kept in a kennel or otherwise restricted so he or she cannot injure the leg again. If you own an Italian Greyhound, you can imagine how difficult these weeks will be on you and your dog. Despite the complaining your dog will do, you must restrict activity for your Italian Greyhound to make a quick recovery.

You will need to check your Italian Greyhound’s foot for blood flow to ensure the cast is not too tight and check for infection. You are your Italian Greyhound’s voice, and if you feel something is not right ask your veterinarian.

Your IG’s cast must be kept dry. For each potty break the cast will need to be wrapped to keep dirt and pee off it. Frequent follow up visits, xrays, and gradual exercise mixed with confinement will follow while the leg is healing. Water therapy or short walks will come after the cast is removed. This exercise will have to gradually increase over time. Although most dogs fully recover and do fine there is a significant amount of confinement and management for months to ensure proper healing.

 

Prevention

Teddy in water therapy

Teddy in water therapy

The best course of action is to prevent leg breaks by reducing leg break opportunities for your IG. Move your furniture around if your Italian Greyhound is jumping between two pieces or place a rug over a slippery spot on your floor. Don’t let your Italian Greyhound roughhouse with larger dogs who are not gentle or are unaware of their ability to hurt your IG. Never leave your Italian Greyhound unattended with young children.

If your Italian greyhound does break a leg after your prevention efforts, don’t despair. Accidents happen despite the best laid plans. Make sure you have planned for the accident and can cover the costs with insurance or savings. Your Italian Greyhound will thank you for it.

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