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Indra - Our dog with a broken leg - Symptomes
Sunday, 30 December 2007
In may 2007 our white Swiss Sheppard badly injured her left front leg from falling down concrete stairs in Kathmandu – Nepal. On first glance we thought she had a broken leg, however looking more closely the injury turned out to be more complex.

Straight after Indra’s fall it was clear she couldn’t walk on her injured leg at all. She limped severely using only 3 legs avoiding even the slightest touch. She preferred staying put laying down in a corner licking her wrist and her paw.

In the hours after her fall her wrist started swelling on the inside and her paw had a slight outward bend starting from her wrist.  It was clear she had taken the worst hit on the inside of her left wrist. Inspection of her apparently broken leg didn’t show unusual flexibility or movement in unusual directions. Her paw seemed ok too after inspecting all her toes for broken bones or paw injury.

We bandaged her injured leg as protection and gave her Ketofen for pain relief. This as preparation for taking X-rays and taking a walk outside.

The X-rays taken at a local pharmacy showed a slight fracture and what it seemed some sort of splintering of the small bones at the inside of her left wrist. Luckily there was no sign of a clear break or massive damage to her paw. Taking the X-rays to a vet in the area, the diagnosis was a fractured wrist without any clear signs of broken bones.

Technically Indra’s fall has caused a hard blow to the Proximal, Distal and Meta carpal bones. Between the Distal and Meta carpel bones the X-ray showed small fractures. Also more down (not X-rayed) her toe outside toe showed thickness at the joints. It seemed to us the fracture was pretty complex.

The treatment of her fractured wrist was a short cast starting from above her wrist till just above her toes. This made it possible for her to flex her toes and prevent an uncomfortable leg-long cast in the heat of Kathmandu.

For the next 6 weeks she would have to wear the cast and refrain from any playing, running, jumping or anything that could undo bone healing. This on itself was a major disaster for Indra, always being the energy bomb in the house.

To support bone healing she received a calcium rich food additive for the coming weeks.

Looking at X-rays more closely her fall has caused a fracture of the left carpus (wrist) with visible damage to the Metacarpal bones. The proximal and distal carpal bones seemed ok although it was unlikely that there wasn’t any injury there too.

In the week following her fall she had thick swollen toes for a few days. The swelling was thicker in the morning and reduced a little during the day. The swelling is apparently caused as a reaction on damaged muscle tissue round her bones.

Her behaviour had changed to being a silent dog preferring to lay down in a corner. Taking a walk was hard for her and she instantly turned back herself after doing her things.

The following week Indra started to be more active now limping on 4 legs and making proposals to go outside for a walk. After the first few times the swelling in her toes came back in the morning. Maybe a sign she had outdone herself the day before.

During rainy days her cast became incredibly dirty so we started wrapping her cast in extra washable bandaging. Also we became weightlifters to lift her out of our truck by hand. 35 Kg’s of dog is a lot specially when having to lift her several times a day.

After a few weeks she had became used to the cast and started to act like her old self. Although this was a good sign, we had to turn down every proposal for wild playing and  being outside most of the time. Because of the cast she couldn’t flex her wrist making her limp tremendously.

Being so inactive caused several side effects. The fur on her elbows started to show signs of wear on both sides exposing her skin – at some points causing her skin to bleed. She put on more weight although we reduced her food portions. Mentally she took things well although at some points she always forced her way out of the truck – she got pretty bored from being inside for so long.

We hoped for the best as the moment of removal of her cast came near. The episode after removal of her cast was a totally new experience for Indra and us. We decided to put this in a separate section which can be found here.

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