Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

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Drifter Saver
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Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by Drifter Saver » Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:50 am

I am curious how many people have had to deal with a broken leg on a pup. One of my recent pups had an accident in my kennel. In the end, her femur was broken completely through just above the knee. I elected to spend some money on this one and attempt to have it fixed. The animal hospital gave the prognosis as good to excellent. However, I have never dealt with this. They placed a pin down through the hip area into her femur and then wrapped the bone to hold the bone together. After about 5 days I could still hear/feel clicking, so they put a soft wrap on the leg to hold it while the scar tissue builds on the bone. The wrap came off after 7 days (this past Friday) and the noise is gone. Therefore, I would think that the bone is starting to mend. Yesterday she started yelping after trying to use it a little too much in the house. We generally keep her confirmed to a vari-kennel, but we let her out several times per day to move around. The muscles are VERY tight around the break where they made the incision and the joints are likely weak. It has been 2.5 weeks since the injury/surgery and she is still 100% using the other rear leg only.

Any experience out there like this on a pup or young dog?
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Cajun Casey
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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by Cajun Casey » Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:35 am

The more up to date vets I know would reccommend swim tank or ffee swimming therapy and maybe cold laser. Expect six months for a full recovery and she will likely feel it her entire life when she is tired or the weather is cold or damp. Was it the bone or did it snap off from the growth plate?
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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by jlp8cornell » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:01 am

Fractures usually heal well provided the surgery was done correctly. I would think your vet would have given you some kind of rehab schedule or at least guidelines for what you should expect.

My GSP had surgery when he was 8m old on his left hind. It was not a fracture but just for reference, he was laid up from April until early-September. During that time he was crate rested for 6 weeks and then slowly became more active over the following months. I did a lot of PT with him including underwater treadmill, ultrasound, and shockwave therapy. He was not allowed off leash for 4 months.

My advice is to find someone knowledgeable in rehabbing performance dogs and see what therapies they recommend. Good luck!

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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by Drifter Saver » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:08 am

The break did not occur at the growth plate. It was an oblique fracture above the growth plate. At the time of the break she was only 15 weeks old.
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wems2371
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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by wems2371 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:44 pm

I don't know if you remember this thread, but the OP might be able to give some advice, from their experience.

viewtopic.php?f=88&t=23320

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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by dog dr » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:30 pm

Drifter Saver wrote:The break did not occur at the growth plate. It was an oblique fracture above the growth plate. At the time of the break she was only 15 weeks old.
those are tough because not only are you dealing with trying to heal the biggest, strongest bone of the body, but you are also dealing with a puppy that is still growing!! hang in there. try and see if she will let you at least do some passive range of motion exercises with that leg, but dont over do it. and yes, the free swimming is great for them as well. good thing is with a pup, as long as those two peices of bone are at least close to each other and immobilized, then it should heal.

good luck

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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by Drifter Saver » Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:48 pm

dog dr wrote:
Drifter Saver wrote:The break did not occur at the growth plate. It was an oblique fracture above the growth plate. At the time of the break she was only 15 weeks old.
those are tough because not only are you dealing with trying to heal the biggest, strongest bone of the body, but you are also dealing with a puppy that is still growing!! hang in there. try and see if she will let you at least do some passive range of motion exercises with that leg, but dont over do it. and yes, the free swimming is great for them as well. good thing is with a pup, as long as those two peices of bone are at least close to each other and immobilized, then it should heal.

good luck
They told me that her being so young (and not being at the growth plate) will certainly aid the recovery. She will let me move the leg but the movement is currently limited to about 40-50 percent of normal range. I am thinking that the muscle tension is probably causing most of that. Time will tell. The good part is that there is no rush on trying to get her better...we still have snow, it is extremely cold and she is too young for anything except socialization (which she is now getting plenty of).
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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by Elkhunter » Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:30 pm

Not to down your spirits, but my GSP had the exact same break with the exact same way to fix it and he developed nerve damage in his foot. He ended up chewing half his foot off one night, so we had to amputate it. He is a great hunting dog and has a ton of heart. Hope you have a better outcome than me.

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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by buckwildbirddogs » Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:33 pm

wems2371 wrote:I don't know if you remember this thread, but the OP might be able to give some advice, from their experience.

viewtopic.php?f=88&t=23320

we had the same thing happen. results are excellent. Our pup broke hers straight through. It was at a 90degree angle and she also had a small piece that had broken off in between. There were no rods placed down through the femur just 5pins and an external rod. She was on strict kennel rest for 6m. For the first month we even tried to carry her outside to potty and then back in. We were told to absolutly NO jumping running etc during that 6m and after a few weeks when she could put weight on it she had to be on a leash for the remainder of the 6m. We had a few set backs, severe infection, uti, anxiety But we made it through it and she is now one of the best dogs we own.

You can't even see a scar. She still is not to jump for one year after the pins were removed, and actually she follows that pretty well. She will wait to be lifted from the truck and actually takes one step at a time going up and down the stairs. The left side is still noticably smaller than the right but the muscle is building back up and by the time she is 2 you probably won't notice it anymore.

What we learned is be patient. Do not push them to move and then when they decide that it is time to move that's when you push them to stay still. It was better to keep her in a little bit of pain because then she did not want to get up rather than loading her up on meds and then she thinks she can do what ever she wants. Go slow it should all work out.
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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by jlp8cornell » Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:52 pm

What we learned is be patient.
Ditto. If you need help like I did bc I had such a young dog, ask your vet about Ace (acepromazine). Very helpful sedative..

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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by buckwildbirddogs » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:01 pm

I have some pics of Lexi on our Facebook page. I can't get them to upload on here.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/page ... 6377262752
Bobby & Danielle Meade
Buck Wild Bird Dogs

Dixieland's Buck Wild - GSP Male
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/genview.php?id=2260
Packman's TipToe N Maggie - GSP Female
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/genview.php?id=2261
BW's Fancy Rawhide Rebel - GSP Female
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/genview.php?id=2262
Abby's Ramblin Rose - Brittany Female
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/genview.php?id=2267

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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by Drifter Saver » Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:19 am

That is interesting to see the pictures with the external support. Here are the pics of my pup:

Before and during surgery

Image

After surgery

Image

I am hopefull for her recovery. She actually appears worse now than she did immediately after the surgery, but I believe it is due to the soft cast for one week and the muscle tension from the incision (and not using the leg at all). We will see..
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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by Cajun Casey » Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:46 am

You might check on accupuncture or chiropractic treatment, too. I have seen both work wonders.
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by Drifter Saver » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:53 am

Today's check-up went fairly well. The bone looks to be hearing really well. The stiffness is due to a greater than desired amount of scar tissue (fibrosis) on the muscle. The vet is going to make another small incision to go in and loosen up some of the scar tissue that is forming on the muscle so that it doesn't become a permanent stiffness issue. He was very optimistic that she will show minimal to no signs of the injury in due time. The pin comes out in two more weeks and then it is just rest and time.
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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by jlp8cornell » Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:11 pm

The stiffness is due to a greater than desired amount of scar tissue (fibrosis) on the muscle.
Shockwave therapy helped tremendously with scar tissue build up after my dog's surgery.

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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by buckwildbirddogs » Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:36 pm

they can do amazing things. I'm sure she will do fine. We had some scar tissue that was broken up by daily massages (done by myself). Now you can't even tell. We ran her this fall, it was only a couple months after all pins were removed and she seemed to get pretty sore after about 20-30min in hard cover or 45min open field. We have been gradually working her up and I think she will be nearly back to her old self by SEPT.

I think the internal rod would be easier to care for. No wraping the rods or cleaning the pin incisions. Less chance for infection. Lexi will go back in OCT for a final xray (she will be two then). Then they will decide if she needs any permanent internal support rods or if she is released for good.

Good Luck
Bobby & Danielle Meade
Buck Wild Bird Dogs

Dixieland's Buck Wild - GSP Male
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/genview.php?id=2260
Packman's TipToe N Maggie - GSP Female
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/genview.php?id=2261
BW's Fancy Rawhide Rebel - GSP Female
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/genview.php?id=2262
Abby's Ramblin Rose - Brittany Female
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/genview.php?id=2267

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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by Grange » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:45 am

I was taking care of my parent's brittanies a few years ago when their young puppy (9 weeks) broke one of her rear legs above the knee (not at the growth plate) when she snuck passed me and tried playing with the two older dogs. I can still see the whole scene clearly in my mind. I got the tip of my finger on her back as I tried catching her before she got herself tangled up. Anyway She didn't require pins and just had a soft cast placed. My parents then changed the cast every week to accomodate her growth and she ended no worse for the wear. She's not one of the fastest dogs I know.

Good luck. I hope the pup heals well.

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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by Drifter Saver » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:59 pm

I just thought that I would provide an update (though not good). The procedure to cut away some of the scar tissue and manually flex the joint two weeks ago resulted in a tibia fracture. I was very frustrated with the clinic, but I know that accidents do happen. That resulted in her now having the original pin in the femur and now an external device on the tibia. The femur pin was removed about one week ago, but the tibia support still needs about one week.

The unfortunate part is that the fibrosis appears to have won the battle as her leg has very minimal to any movement at the knee. They weren't able to do much physical therapy except some cold laser treatment as trying to move the leg was like trying to use a nutcracker with two broken handles. Expensive and unfortunate as both doctors at the hospital say the prognosis is ver dismal that she will gain movement of the leg and use it.
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Re: Broken Puppy Leg (femur)

Post by Elkhunter » Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:09 pm

That sucks man, we had the same type of problems and ended up having to amputate. I hope things turn around for you!

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