It’s always upsetting when your dog gets injured, but it can be downright scary when it breaks its leg. And not only is a broken leg painful for your pet, but it could also be painful for your wallet, as surgery is often involved. However, while fixing a broken leg via surgery (a surgical fracture repair procedure) isn’t cheap, it’s also not the most expensive. Surgery for your dog’s broken leg may set you back financially for a couple of weeks or months but seeing your pup feeling better is worth it.
So, how much exactly does surgery for a dog’s broken leg cost? You could be looking at anything from $400 to $5,300. Here’s everything you should know about the average price of the procedure!
Why Might Your Pet Need Dog Broken Leg Surgery?
You might think that a simple splint or cast would fix the problem if your dog breaks its leg, and there are times when that’s true! But some bone fractures just aren’t clean enough breaks to fit back together with a splint or cast. That’s where surgical fracture repair procedures come in.1
If your pup’s leg doesn’t break cleanly or breaks in more than one place, surgery will be needed to fix it. This procedure involves making an incision where the break is, then attaching bone fragments to a metal bar via screws either externally or internally. Your veterinarian will explain the type of surgery your dog needs.
How Much Does Dog Broken Leg Surgery Cost?
The cost of surgery to repair your dog’s broken leg will depend on a handful of factors, including where you live, whether you go to a vet or discount clinic, the kind of fracture, and which equipment the surgeon uses. Overall, though, the price of fixing a broken leg can range from $400 to $5,300.2
To start, you’ll be paying for the office visit to your vet or emergency vet, which can cost $50–$100. Then there’s the price of the surgery itself, which can be anywhere from $200–$2,000+. This cost can vary greatly depending on how many bones in the leg have been broken, where the break is, and whether the break is closed or open.
And, in a worst-case scenario, where there are multiple fractures and lacerations in your dog’s leg, a vet might recommend amputation. If this happens, you’re looking at $700–$1,000 to remove the leg.
So, several factors play into the cost of surgery to fix a broken bone, which means you could pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
There may also be additional costs to anticipate. For example, X-rays of your dog’s legs may be a separate cost ($75–$500) depending on the vet’s billing policies. Or your pup might be a senior or have underlying health issues that require a different medication than is commonly used during surgery, which could cost more. You might also find that your pet requires more monitoring while under anesthesia because of its age or health.
Then there’s any aftercare needed for your dog. Your pup will need pain medication and possibly antibiotics after surgery; these can run from $30 to $50. There will also likely be follow-up appointments for your pet, which will be more office visits to pay for. Then there’s the possibility of physical therapy if the broken leg requires rehabilitation. While the costs for physical therapy vary, you could be looking at roughly $50 to $75 a session.
Depending on the type of trauma causing the fracture and the sort of surgery your dog had, they may need to stay in the ICU for a few days, which will be costly (though those costs will depend on where you’re located and the vet you’re using).
So, be prepared for a few extra costs to pop up after your dog’s surgery is done.
What Should I Do for My Dog After Broken Leg Surgery?
After surgery, care will look different for different dogs. How quickly your pup is able to heal can depend on its age, the sort of fracture that occurred, and any underlying health conditions. Most dogs will need 5–6 weeks before regular activity can resume, but some may require months (particularly if physical therapy is needed).
After surgery, your pet will need to spend an extra day at the least in the hospital to be monitored to ensure there have been no adverse side effects of anesthesia and that the surgical site doesn’t become infected. When you pick up your pup, you’ll get detailed instructions on how to care for it over the next few weeks. Some of the things on the list include regularly checking the surgical site for infection, making sure your dog is resting and not playing, tips on what your pup can eat, and how to give any medications received after surgery.
Dogs dealing with an amputation might be in the hospital for longer than a day. You’ll also receive similar instructions for them, along with referrals for any physical therapy needed. Healing will typically take 2–3 weeks, which involves limited activity and plenty of rest.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Dog Broken Leg Surgery?
The majority of pet insurance companies will absolutely pay for dog broken leg surgery. Depending on the sort of policy you have, a pet insurance company could reimburse you anywhere from 70–100% of the associated costs (which is a big chunk!). And if you’re worried about the cost of pet insurance, you’ll find that most companies have accident-only plans for just this sort of thing; these policies cost less than the ones that cover illnesses and day-to-day stuff.
However, there’s one important caveat: your dog will need to have broken its leg after the insurance policy begins and the waiting period (usually 14 days) is over. If your pet breaks its leg before this, the insurance company will qualify it as a pre-existing condition and won’t reimburse claims associated with the procedure. So, if broken bones are a concern for you, it’s best to get pet insurance sooner rather than later!
How to Prevent Broken Legs in Dogs
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent your dog from getting a broken bone (other than bundling it up in bubble wrap, which we don’t recommend!). Accidents happen, and you can’t keep an eye on your dog every second of the day; it’s simply not doable. That said, you can do a couple of things to reduce the risk of broken bones.
First and foremost, ensure your dog is eating a high-quality, nutritional dog food that contains vitamins and minerals to keep bones strong. A good dog food is particularly essential when your pet is in its puppy years, as this is when bones are developing.
You can also try to ensure there are no super dangerous places on your property where broken bones might occur. For example, if you have anywhere that would count as a considerable drop if your pet fell from it, then take steps to block this off so your dog isn’t able to get to it. Dogs are curious, so they’ll get into places they aren’t supposed to. Making sure you’ve blocked off or gotten rid of hazardous areas on your property will go a long way in increasing your pet’s safety.
If your dog breaks its leg and requires surgery, it will set you back a fair amount, compared to that of a regular vet visit. While it might not the priciest vet procedure out there, a broken leg surgery can cost anywhere from $400 to $5,300. Then there are additional costs that come along after surgery, such as medication or even physical therapy. If you have pet insurance, though, you should be able to recoup much of the costs associated with broken leg surgery (at least as long as your pet breaks its leg after the policy has begun and the waiting period has ended).