Bone Infection in Dogs

Bone Infection in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Bone Infection in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Bone Infection?

Osteomyelitis is an inflammation of the bone or bone marrow resulting from a bacterial or fungal infection. The inflammation can be either acute or chronic and typically spreads from other areas of the body, most often when infection is carried to the bone by the bloodstream. The source of the infection must be documented in order to determine proper treatment and care.

A bone infection, otherwise known as osteomyelitis, is an inflammation of the bone or bone marrow. This typically occurs as a result of contamination from a wound or fracture or is carried over from another part of the body. Osteomyelitis is considered a serious condition and must be addressed immediately.
Youtube Play

Bone Infection Average Cost

From 257 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,000

Symptoms of Bone Infection in Dogs

Depending on the location of the infection, symptoms of osteomyelitis may vary. Initial signs of bone infection include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Depression

If a limb is affected by the inflammation, your dog may exhibit lameness or an inability to move the limb. As the infection spreads, additional symptoms may include:

  • Muscle wasting
  • Pus-filled discharge
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Bone Infection in Dogs

Osteomyelitis is caused by an infection, either bacterial or fungal, that permeates the bone or has traveled to the bone from another part of the body. A bacterial infection can be caused by any pathogenic bacteria and is most commonly a result of surgery or contamination from a wound, such as a bite wound or a bone fracture. Care is needed both during and following any surgery to prevent contamination. Fungal infections vary based on geographical distribution and are usually carried to the bone from another site.

Specific Causes

  • Area trauma
  • Fractures
  • Post-surgery
  • Prosthetic joint implantation
  • Open wounds
  • Wildlife wounds
  • Bite wounds
  • Claw wounds
  • Systemic infections reaching bones
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Bone Infection in Dogs

If your veterinarian suspects that your dog has a bone infection, you will be asked to provide a complete history during an initial examination. This, combined with blood work and a urinalysis, allows the veterinarian to develop a more complete profile of your dog’s overall health. Evidence of infection may be revealed through blood cultures, deep fine-needle aspiration, a bone biopsy, or cytology, any of which may be recommended depending on your dog’s condition.

Lab work and further diagnostic tests, such as an x-ray, may be needed to reveal the location of the inflammation and make treatment more reliable. An ultrasound can provide a clearer image of the bones, allowing your veterinarian to determine the extent of the inflammation and the sites that need to be addressed. A culture of pus or other fluid around the infection site may be taken in order to identify the organism causing the infection, the result of which will help determine best treatment options.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Bone Infection in Dogs

Osteomyelitis may require multiple steps to treat, depending on the extent of the infection. There are two main options for treatment, though both require that the wound is cleaned and that pus is drained from the infected area. If the infection occurred as the result of a bone fracture, the bone will need to be stabilized, and dead fragments of bone may need to be surgically removed.

Medical Treatment

A vigorous course of antibiotics can address the source of the infection. Oral or injected antibiotics are typically required for the long term to ensure that the infection is entirely cleared out. Once the results of the culture have been returned, your veterinarian will be able to identify the antibiotics needed to treat the infection and to prevent it from growing. Antifungal medications can be prescribed for a fungal infection.

Surgical Treatment

Depending on the extent of the infection, surgery may be required to drain the affected area, debride the wound, and remove large portions of dead tissue surrounding the fracture. If the fracture is severe enough, your veterinarian may recommend the use of plates, pins, or screws to stabilize the bone. Unfortunately, due to the risk of the infection spreading to other parts of the body, amputation may be necessary in order to save your dog’s life.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Worried about the cost of Bone Infection treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Recovery of Bone Infection in Dogs

The recovery process for osteomyelitis can be a long one. If the original injury was severe, your dog may not be able to put any weight on the affected limb. The bone will need to be stabilized while it heals, which means that any activity must be restricted and that general movement will be limited. You should create a quiet, secure space for your dog to rest in while the fracture heals and limit the number of distractions that may cause anxiety or discomfort during this time.

Antibiotics will likely be administered throughout the healing process. You will need to bring your dog to your veterinarian for follow up examinations at set intervals to check your dog’s response to treatment and to monitor the healing process. X-rays and blood work may be repeated to ensure that the bone is stabilized and that the infection is resolving.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cost of Bone Infection in Dogs

A bone infection can usually be treated medically or surgically. Medically speaking, the wound would need to be cleaned and drained of pus. The veterinarian will usually prescribe injectable antibiotics which can cost between $15 and $38. If the cause of the bone infection is fungal then an antifungal medication would be prescribed. Ketoconazole 200mg usually costs $100 per 100 ct. If the bone infection is surrounding a fracture then it will need to be treated surgically. Once again, the wound would need to be cleaned and drained of pus. The veterinarian may need to remove large portions of the dead tissue in order to get to the fracture. This can cost between $1,500 and $2,250. Plates, pins or screws may be needed to stabilize the bone which can add an additional $500 to the bill. However, more often than not the infection is at risk of spreading throughout the body and causing death. In these cases the veterinarian will suggest amputation in order to save your dog’s life. Amputation usually costs between $400 and $900.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Bone Infection Average Cost

From 257 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,000

arrow-up-icon

Top

Bone Infection Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

8 months

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Pain

My dog has started antibiotics for a possible bone infection. He had a pin put in his leg 4 weeks ago from a fracture. He is on day 3 of the antibiotics. I can tell he is in a lot of pain and not using the leg. How soon should I be seeing an improvement?

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Deep bone infections can take quite a while to resolve, and without knowing more about your dog's situation, it is hard for me to say if you should be noticing an improvement at this point. It would probably be best to call your veterinarian, let them know that he is still painful and not using the leg, and see if that is expected or not. I hope that all goes well and he feels better soon.

Aug. 6, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Dave

dog-breed-icon

Mix

dog-age-icon

4 Years

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Post Op Left Tplo
Post Op Left Tplo, Bone Infection

We adopted our dog, Dave, as a pup from a rescue. He is a Lab/Great Dane (?) mix, weighs about 75 pounds and will be 5-years-old at the end of this year. Several months ago, he began limping on his RIGHT hind leg. We thought maybe he had strained it playing with his dog-brother and watched it for a few weeks. He did not improve, so our vet evaluated him and said he had torn the ligament and needed TPLO. Scheduled him for surgery and just prior to it, he began having difficulty with his LEFT hind leg and could barely walk. Vet checked him again and, sure enough, he had torn the LEFT ligament and it was actually worse than the RIGHT. So she did TPLO on the LEFT leg first. Well, I felt sorry for him and bought an inflatable donut collar for him instead of using a cone and he removed all of his staples while we slept. Took him into Vet and she said it actually looked clean and was healing well (specifically, the wound did not open when he pulled the staples), put more staples in and he continued his recovery. He was doing very well...lifting his RIGHT leg to urinate while standing on his operated LEFT...squatting to defecate...showing signs of wanting to play, etc. But about two weeks ago, he starting limping and walking funny on the LEFT leg again, so we took him in to have her check him. She said she thought he was fine, but needed to x-ray his leg, but couldn't until she got back from her 2-week vacation. He went for his x-ray today and she thinks he has an infection in the bone at the surgical site. After a lot of discussion, we decided she will remove his hardware next week (first available) and send a culture for identification of the infection. Will treat and clean it while she is in there. I'm very concerned about a couple of things and plan to call her tomorrow with my questions, but would like some input here. First, I'm concerned he may lose his leg. Second, we discussed starting him on an antibiotic today, but she said that might prevent her from getting a good culture from the bone while she's doing the surgery to remove the hardware. Third, the fact that he has had the infection for at least 3 weeks and his surgery is not scheduled until next week...will the infection become even worse and possibly cause life-threatening complications within another week? I'm not thrilled with this Vet for several reasons. *One being that she made sure to remind us 3 TIMES today that she is certain this infection wouldn't have developed had we not allowed Dave to remove his staples. *Another being that her clinic is filthy. *Has personal pet dog and cats wondering around EVERYWHERE (surgical suite included) during office ours and has a baby (grandchild?) being carried around the clinic or in a play yard/pen on the floor in the reception area. (I plan to anonymously [hopefully] report the conditions to the state board, but hoped to get Dave settled with surgery before I do.) We are new to this area and have struggled to find a vet we like here. We settled on this one to evaluate his leg injury and thought we'd get through this and then hopefully move on to someone we feet more comfortable with. Also, she is the only vet in our area who does this type of surgery on dogs, so we would have had to deal with her regardless. Thanks in advance for any info or just for listening. L.A.

Sept. 20, 2018

Dave's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

Bone Infection Average Cost

From 257 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,000

Need pet insurance?
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.