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Old 06-13-2007, 06:35 PM   #1
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Confused Broken leg advice needed-soon!

I'm hoping someone has had a similar experience and can give me some advice. Dixie is 2.3 lbs and is almost 2 years old. She broke 2 bones in her front leg 3 weeks ago. She was splinted at that time. A week later, the splint was changed. Week 3 they took x-rays again and said there was no healing taking place. They had only been able to align 1 of the two bones, leaving the other broken one with the 2 pieces resting on top of each other. The vet (I stayed with the emergency vet and haven't returned to our regular vet-we've only used him for her shots and spay-so no real relationship with him) says that for a 95% chance of recovery she will need a plate put in. Pinning is not an option due to the size of her bones-she's too small. He feels that casting it would result in a 50% chance of full recovery. I've seen many posts on here where casting resulted in recovery but didn't know specifics about the break or size and age of the dog. Dixie is using her leg as she normally would-it has not slowed her down. I really hate the thought of her having surgery and also that the plate has to be placed with pins. The vet said that her bones are so small pins could cause them to split. There was another option that I've not heard of...it was to place a rod outside of her leg that is attached to a pin at the top and one at the bottom of her leg, then they would use wire to bring the broken bone pieces together and cast it. It was an internal/external proceedure which also sounded risky. Any advice would be appreciated or share your experiences please! Will her leg heal in a cast only?
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Old 06-13-2007, 07:01 PM   #2
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In my experience with rescues who came to me with broken legs, surgery has always been needed. However, I know that a couple of people on here have had success with casts. If it has been three weeks with no sign of healing than I think that surgery is your only option. It sounds like the plate would be the best option but I think that you need to find a good vet to speak to. IMHO, I don't like to use an emergency vet unless I have just that, an emergency. Your emergency vet could recommend an orthopedic specialist in your area who would probably do the best job but would be more expensive. I hope everything goes okay. Please let us know what you decide and how she does.
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Old 06-14-2007, 07:36 AM   #3
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I know nothing about little ones with broken legs...but I would take her to an orthopedic doctor to be sure to do whatever will give her the best chance to heal properly, especially being so tiny. They have to be extra cautious, you'll want someone that does this type of surgery on little ones all the time, they really will know what's best, get a consult, maybe casting is the right thing for her...but don't wait any longer...do it now. Best wishes to your baby for a full and speedy recovery!!!
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Old 06-14-2007, 08:31 AM   #4
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I was just at the specialty clinic with Maya for her Cushings Disease and there was a big dog there that had brokenhis leg and I heard the lady say that he had a rod in it and when she walked by there was this weird blue thing on the outside of the dogs leg. It looked like a cylinder shaped plastic.rubber, I would definatley get an orthopeadics opinion, Good luck.
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Old 06-14-2007, 11:12 AM   #5
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I'm a little late to the game, but my little Lola broke her leg twice, same leg. The first time, they put her in a cast for a little over a month. At that time, they were a little worried about the leg being a different size since the fracture was close to her growth plate. They took the cast off and within a week, she broke it again, this time through both of her bones. They did not really give us an option, they just said that it would require an orthopedic surgeon. Lola is only 3 lbs now, I think she might have been around 2lbs at the time. Her bones were super soft and they had to go in to see if it was the same break, and it was. Turns out that she may have healed better if the cast was on for longer. Lola now has 5 screws and a plate in her little leg. She has healed beautifully and does not seem bothered by it at all. The surgeon was concerned about her bones being so small, but a good surgeon can do wonders. When you look at the xray, it is incredible. It looks like the plate and screws are bigger than her bones. You can feel all of them when you run your fingers down her leg.
My advice would be to look for a great surgeon. Our vet happens to have some that they use from other hospitls. Good luck and let me know if you need any other advice.
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Old 06-14-2007, 11:22 AM   #6
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My little Hobbs broke his leg on the 2nd day we had him home (he jumped off the couch). Anyway, his healed with a cast but his was very very minor. His femur just had a sligh crack in it...no major breaks. Like others have said, I would consult a specialist. Your little girl is so tiny that it would be worth a little extra money to make sure you're getting a good opinion. Best of luck! Please keep us updated!
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Old 06-14-2007, 08:38 PM   #7
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Cry Poor Dixie

I am so sorry to hear about your poor sweet little Dixie's broken leg. We are just finishing up a six month ordeal here at our household where my little Willow was dropped at Christmas by some little boys that came to visit us resulting in her breaking her fibula and tibia bones in her back right leg. We were given no choice of casting vs. surgery. She was immediately taken into surgery three days after her accident to place a two inch plate and six screws in the bigger bone to allow for healing. We had no cast, just a shaved leg that looked like a popcicle stick with an open incision and lots of stitches. Willow had to stay in a small kennel that she was only allowed to stand up, turn around, and lay back down in for at least 6 weeks. It was horrible, but strict orders from the Orthopedic surgeon. After 6 weeks she was allowed to be in a tent that she could at least lay around on one side in and potty and eat on the other side. This went on for another 10 weeks. After 15 weeks we were under the impression that she would finally be done with everything only to find out that due to loss of bone density the plate and screws needed to be removed. So on April 16th they operated again to remove the plate and screws. This time she had a hard cast for two weeks and three soft casts every week after that. She just went back to the Orthopedic Surgeon at the University of Minnesota and we have finally been given a clean bill of health. She is still in confinement until June 28th but x-rays showed that the breaks are completely healed and the screw holes are filling in and the bone density is starting to come back. We are so blessed that after all these months and two surgeries Willow will have a 100% recovery. The entire staff at the University of Minnesota Small Animal Hospital was amazing and we couldn't have asked for better care. Our orthopedic surgeon Dr. Seamans was absolutely wonderful . . . and handsome too. Willow loved him.

I hope our story helps you in the care of your sweet little puppy.
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:36 AM   #8
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Thanks for all your stories and tips. Dixie is having her surgery today. They will be placing a plate in her leg. It appears that we were given bad advice initially and should have had the surgery much earlier. We've been told that it will not hinder her progress though, it's just that she could have been on the road to recovery by now and we would have saved cost of the 3 splints and 2 more sets of xrays. Similar to Willa's story, we've been told that there's a 50% chance that she will have to have the plate removed after her leg begins to heal.
She is two hours away having her surgery and we should be able to pick her up tomorrow afternoon. I know she's missing us as much as we're missing her!
We will definitely be subscribing to pet insurance-wishing we would have when we got her!
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:49 AM   #9
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Good Luck! I'm sure that your pup will pull through with flying colors
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Old 06-18-2007, 05:15 PM   #10
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How did Dixie's surgery go? Wishing her and you the best, and that she will very soon be on that road to recovery.
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:56 AM   #11
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Dixie is home now. She's been shaved on both her front legs and under her neck and shoulder area and is wearning a collar so she doesn't bother her cast. She has to be in a kennel for 8 weeks which she hates. She whimpers all the time. She appears to be feeling OK though, just embarrassed of her looks right now : )
I am afraid her cast is rubbing on that bare skin and will cause a sore. I'll have to see if they can fix that.
Thanks again for all your support, I know she'll be fine from all your stories of healing!
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Old 06-20-2007, 04:07 PM   #12
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Ahhh...Winston sends get well kisses to Dixie!!! And of course, so do I...Really hope she heals fast, recuperates and is back to her happy self very soon. Prayers to you both, and I am so sorry she had to go through this. May she be forever healthy again...soon.
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