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Indra - our dog with leg injury - Overview
Sunday, 30 December 2007
Here you find a start to finish description of Indra’s left front paw fracture from May till December 2007. Indra is a Swiss (Canadian / White) Sheppard - age 6 - and accompanies us on a journey through Asia by truck. Her ordeal covers a 8 month episode till a reasonable recovery. In the summer of 2007 we found little to none information on the internet about similar injuries. The info you’ll find here is intended for dog owners, travellers and vets or anyone looking for a reference about dog paw fractures.

On 4 may 2007 Indra was ambushed by 4 street dogs causing her to fall from concrete steps injuring her left front paw. She couldn’t walk on it directly after and was in considerable pain. After X-ray examination there was a visible but very fine fracture at the inside of her paw at the height of her carpus (wrist). The next day she got a short cast to immobilize her wrist joint.  Here you find a detailed description of the symptoms.

The next 6 weeks she limped along with her cast and had a lot of rest. A very difficult time for an active dog like Indra. After removal of the cast, X-rays showed no visible signs of the fracture, although we discovered a non-union break on her right side toe on the same paw. To us it seemed like an old fracture. Here you find a detailed description of the treatment.

The next 6 weeks without the casts were even more hard for Indra. It was difficult to walk without support bandage. Her paw showed a slight outward curve and she limped very deep, as if there were no muscles at all to support her wrist. Also her wrist was thick with callas all round including the joint of the inside toe.



Nearly every week after removing the cast all her toes got swollen 1 or 2 days. We feared the worst. We tried all sorts of support ending up with a hard rubber (tire) support behind her wrist and straps above and below.

She showed little progress with setbacks nearly every week. Finally in the 4th month she suddenly showed progress – her paw gained strength again and the deep limp started to disappear slowly. Her limp reduced to a slight limp, but getting worse again when walking more than 1-2 Km. The callas round her wrist started to fade, the slight outward bend of her paw also. At the end of the 4th month Indra could run, play and walk again. A slight callas and still unable to flex her pay inward doesn’t bother her at all. Looking back it’s a major relief – her sudden recovery had exceeded our best hopes.

6 months later Indra’s wrist joint recovered for a great deal. Still there is a visible difference between the left and the right joint. After 30 minutes of walking she still develops a slight limp but she can walk with it without showing signs of pain. (like liking or sitting with her injured paw lifted from the ground).

After 8 months Indra shows full recovery. Only after making a sudden stop after running hard she has a slight limp for a few minutes. Sometimes she falls back into old behaviour when she sits – leaning  a little to the right to take weight of her paw. Her paw shows subtle visible signs of injury – only those who know can see it.


 
Looking back it’s clear to us that this type of injury takes quite some time to heal. There’s very little to be done other than rest and to avoid too much exercise and play. Setbacks are part of recovery and made it hard to see progress. We decided to keep a daily log in English in case we needed a vet at some point in time. The log was very useful to see progress and link activities to setbacks.

During her recovery she suffered from side-effects like bald spots on her elbows and heels, gaining weight and difficulty to find a pose to lay down with her paw. For us as owners there were several very depressing moments to go through the setbacks. Relief was huge to see her recover without having to go through further treatment.

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