Butch is a 13 year old Collie, he is a working dog. He came to us in February after falling out of a tractor and breaking his hind leg as it got caught in the steps jumping out. Ouch!
We took x-rays of his hind leg to assess the damage which showed a full fracture of the tibia mid way down the bone.
x-ray of Butch’s leg
As you can see the break is displaced – not aligned, this means that casting or bandaging the leg will not work.
Lateral x-ray view
After assessing the X-rays, Chris spoke to Butch’s owners.
Given Butch’s age, it was a big decision, we could do surgery but the recovery time with a fracture of this type is generally longer as the bones are slower to heal, sometimes they will not heal at all. There is also an increased anaesthetic risk with a dog of this age undergoing a complicated surgery, however Chris assured the owners that we could keep this risk to a minimum with careful monitoring during the surgery.
The owners chose to go ahead with surgery.
Broken Leg Surgery
Chris decided the best course of action would be to place a bone plate along the bone and to secure the plate in place with screws.
This is a well known procedure that has been very successful for us with mid-shaft fractures.
Butch was taken to surgery, put under general anaesthetic and given pain relief. The broken leg was then clipped and scrubbed for surgery. Chris made an incision, aligned the broken bone and placed the plate along the bone, this was then screwed into place using special orthopaedic screws.
Chris then used the bone marrow retrieved from Butch’s shoulder and inserted it into the fracture site. This is an excellent source of nutrition for the bone and greatly improves healing.
The wound was stitched up and a bandage was put on the leg.
He was then taken back to his kennel to recover.
This video was taken of him the following day…Happy dog.
Post Operative Care
He went home with a post operative care plan to rest and keep confined.
We cannot stress enough that the time spent taking care of an animal post surgery is just as important as the surgery!
The animal must be kept in a confined in a warm clean area and taken out on a lead to toilet. This will help the bone, muscle and skin to heal faster.
After 4 days, Butch had his post-op check up which showed that his wound was healing well and that he was in good health following surgery.
We removed his stitches after 14 days and the wound on his leg had healed perfectly.
He will now be encouraged to bend the leg a little and to take longer lead walks to help the muscle motion.
The video below shows Butch walking through our yard 6-7 weeks post surgery. He is doing really well, his exercise is gradually increasing and the owners are doing leg exercises with him daily.
We perform a wide range of orthopaedic procedures at Arena Veterinary Hospital and we take great pride in this work. We love to see the fantastic outcome of cases like this!
Maybe Butch will take a break from tractor work now that Spring is nearly over!!
If you would like to speak to us or have any questions about the orthopaedic work that we do, please feel free to contact us on 053 9142891 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org