Case: External fixation of a closed femur fracture and open management of an open hock fracture in a pup
16th November 2014
George, a 13 week old cavapoo was a friendly little soul who slipped out to say “Hi” to the school kids that were passing by on their way home on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately stopping before the road proved too much of a challenge and the inevitable happened. We got a call from George’s primary vet late on Friday afternoon. They had x-rayed him without anaesthetising him and his right femur (thigh) bone was broken. There was no effective way of stabilising this with dressings. Leaving fixation until the Monday would have left him in a lot of pain over the weekend. In addition, there was a nasty wound over the hock (ankle) of the same leg. The referring vet judged that despite the trauma, George was stable enough to be a reasonable “anaesthetic risk”, so the owners brought him down to us at Burton on Trent.
Under GA we were better able to examine the hock injury and to take more x-rays. Unfortunately the hock was also fractured. George had left most of his lateral malleolus on the road. The lateral malleolus is the boney prominence on the outside of the ankle (and that is the bit that you will have bashed on yourself from time to time in the past). The wound was contaminated with hair, debris and bone fragments. We fixed the femur on the Friday evening using an external fixator. The hock wound was cleaned up and dressed with a wet-dry dressing. These are great for cleaning up wounds of debris, but they do need changing regularly. The fracture rendered the hock unstable, so it was splinted to allow George to stand on it. George was weight bearing on the leg within hours and he went home with Jon for the weekend so that he could have dressing changes and medication.
He stayed with us for the following week for dressing changes, and went home the Friday after the injury for close confinement at home so that his fixator doesn’t hook up on objects round the house. The fixator will be staged down and removed over the coming weeks.