A CREATIVE APPROACH TO A DIFFICULT FRACTURE

Let's face it! All pets will experience health problems at some time in their life. These problems may sometime lead to serious conditions and symptoms that can affect the behaviour of your pet. However, you as their owner should be alert and detect these symptoms and changes in his/her behaviour so you can easily relay this information to the veterinarian.

This week’s Case of the Week involves a 5 year old Boxer named Lily, who due to pure excitement, ended up on our surgery table at the Animal Care Center in Plainfield. Lily’s owner brought her into the hospital on a Sunday morning after Lily came up lame after jumping up and down uncontrollably after seeing her owner. After a few jumps, she came down wrong on her right leg and could not bear any weight on the limb.

Upon arrival to the hospital, radiographs were performed on Lily’s right leg. The radiographs revealed a fracture to the distal (near the end) aspect of the tibia, which is the equivalent of the human shin. Fractures to the tibia are relatively common, but the location and type of fracture made Lily’s difficult to fix. With most tibia fractures, veterinary surgeons are able to place a bone plate onto the bone along with screws to stabilize the fracture. Since Lily’s fracture was so close to her hock (ankle), and because the fracture was a spiral fracture (S-shaped), a bone plate would not fit onto this aspect of the bone.

Instead of placing a bone plate in this case, we utilized various screws and circlage wire to stabilize the fracture site. The screws that we placed were placed in lag fashion, which allows greater compression of the two bone fragments, allowing for better healing at the site. The downside to this type of fracture stabilization is that it is not as sturdy as a bone plate would have been. Because of this, Lily needed to be cage rested until this fracture site healed appropriately.

Surgical correction for fractures is an expensive procedure, but will give patients a better chance at appropriate bone healing, and healing will occur faster than if surgery was not performed. Luckily for Lily’s owner, she had pet insurance! Pet insurance is something that is becoming much more common nowadays. Pet insurance is something that all pet owners should consider because in unexpected events such as this, or any other major injury or illness, the majority of the medical bill will be reimbursed to the owner from the pet insurance company. This allows us as veterinarians to provide the best medical care, without worrying about the financial constraints to the owner.

It is all too common for veterinarians to have to discontinue treatment, or not even be able to initiate treatment at all, due to financial constraints. The outcome of this story is a happy one for all. Lily received the best medical care, the veterinarians were able to provide the best medical care, and the owner did not have to worry about the cost of the best medical care all due to her proactive nature in purchasing pet insurance. Please ask your veterinarian about pet insurance and which options might be right for you and your pet!