Jake is an 8 year old chocolate labrador retriever who took a nap in the wrong place!
Last week, Jake decided to find a bit of shade under his owner’s truck and fell asleep. The owner started up the truck and ran over Jake as he headed off. Fortunately, he felt the bump and heard the dog scream and backed off of him quickly. They scooped Jake up in a blanket and rushed him into the clinic. When they arrived, they relayed what had happened. The owners reported that he had been able to stand on 3 legs prior to their transporting him in. He was unable to use his right hind leg however.
When they arrived, Jake was shocky, his gums were pale and he was panting in pain. After a thorough physical exam, it was clear that the right thigh bone was fractured. We admitted Jake to the hospital and did a series of tests (blood tests, x-rays, and electrocardiogram) to determine the extent of his injuries. We administered IV fluids and drugs to fight against the shock and pain. Within a few hours Jake was resting more comfortably andwe were sure that his only major injury was the broken femur.
Pre operative radiographs of the broken femur
When pets are hit by cars, they frequently sustain internal injuries which may not be apparent at first exam. Therefore, we allowed Jake to stabilize for 24 hours and then took him to surgery. Looking at the radiographs above, you can see that this is a complex fracture with 3 major fragments. Once we opened the leg, we found one of the smaller fragments was not stable enough to rebuild a stable bone. Therefore we had to apply a strong plate across the fracture site which will allow the bone to fill in the gap left by the shattered fragement. We harvested a bone graft from the shin bone (tibia) and packed it in the wound to help facilitate bone growth. At the end of the surgery the bone looked very stable:
Whenever a bone breaks, there is a lot of hemorrhage and bruising. Post operatively, the leg was swollen and bruised, but Jake was able to move it and toe-touch when walking. He stayed in the hospital for a few more days and was discharged with instructions to keep him strictly restrained for 8 weeks while the bone heals. We will be checking Jake every week during the healing phase and repeating radiographs of the leg at 2 and 8 weeks. Jake has a very good prognosis for regaining full use of the limb.