RADIOGRAPHIC imaging of the skeletal system is an integral part of the science of small animal orthopaedics. Radiographs should not be viewed in isolation, but assessed in the context of the whole patient by considering its signalment, the history behind its presentation and the results of a complete physical and thorough orthopaedic examination. A careful systematic approach helps to avoid errors (eg, missing a pathological fracture, or radiographing an obvious open distal limb fracture and missing a closed proximal fracture elsewhere in the limb) and allows the early detection of complications, enabling rapid intervention to prevent an undesirable outcome. This article describes the biological factors which influence fracture healing and discusses how radiographs may be used and evaluated to monitor the healing process in small animals.
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