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Dogs and Orthopaedic Injuries

Is There a Correlation With Breed?

Brice, Joshua, MD; Lindvall, Eric, DO; Hoekzema, Nathan, MD; Husak, Lisa, MPH

doi: 10.1097/BOT.0000000000001235
Original Article

Objectives: To identify the incidence of orthopaedic injuries secondary to dog bites, determine the responsible breeds, and assess the severity of injury by dog breed.

Design: Retrospective.

Setting: Single Level I trauma center.

Patients: Ninety-five patients treated for a dog bite that resulted in an orthopaedic injury between January 2010 and July 2016.

Intervention: Patients were treated according to their specific orthopaedic injury.

Main Outcome Measurements: Dog breed and type of orthopaedic injury.

Results: Thirty-nine percent of all dog bite–related emergency department visits resulted in an orthopaedic injury requiring specialist treatment. Of the 95 patients, 50% were the result of a pit bull terrier bite and 22% by a law enforcement dog. A total of 32% were attacked by multiple dogs. There was a 51% incidence of severe injury (amputation or fracture) with a significant association with breed.

Conclusions: Thirty-nine percent of all dog bite–related emergency department visits at our facility resulted in an injury requiring orthopaedic treatment. Pit bull terrier bites were responsible for a significantly higher number of orthopaedic injuries and resulted in an amputation and/or bony injury in 66% of patients treated, whereas bites from law enforcement dogs and other breeds were less associated with severe injuries.

Level of Evidence: Prognostic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, UCSF Fresno, Fresno, CA.

Reprints: Eric Lindvall, DO, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, UCSF Fresno, 2823 Fresno St, Fresno, CA 93721 (e-mail:

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Accepted May 10, 2018

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