Rosie is a fun loving 2 year old Cockerpoo. Unfortunately, her inquisitive nature got her into trouble when she ran out into the road and was run over by a car early one morning.
She suffered some serious injuries to both back legs and her abdomen and over the last few months has had several operations and hospital stays at Torbridge.
When Rosie was first brought in after the accident she had to be carried because she could not stand by herself. She was in shock and had lost quite a lot of blood from her wounds. We could see that both back legs were broken and her large wounds were exposing some of the damaged ligaments and broken bones. Her wounds were also contaminated with dirt and gravel from the road.
We gave her pain relief and antibiotics and started her on intravenous fluids to help her recover from the shock. We also irrigated the wounds on her legs and abdomen with sterile saline and dressed her legs with large padded dressings to protect them.
Later that day Rosie was stable enough to be anaesthetised for some X-rays and to clean her wounds more thoroughly. Luckily, although very bruised, there was no serious damage inside her abdomen. She was not so lucky with her legs though and the X-rays revealed a dislocated hip, several fractured metatarsals (bones in her foot) and an open fracture of her medial malleolus (the end of her tibia or calf bone) with severe damage to her collateral tarsal ligaments (these are the ligaments holding the ankle joint together).
Her hip was replaced but there was a lot of damage to the joint capsule so it was unlikely that it would stay in place.
Rosie’s wounds were cleaned again the following day. Infection is one of the most serious concerns with injuries like these, particularly when joints and bones are exposed, so we always spend a lot of time trying to flush the debris and contamination away.
By the next day, Rosie was strong enough to have surgery to stabilise the fractures and ruptured ligaments.
The first procedure involved placing steel pins in her metatarsal bones to stabilise them. One of her bones was so badly damaged that we could not use a pin but pinning the other two should give it enough support to allow it to heal. We also placed a fiberglass cast over her foot to give more support.
She then had 3 screws placed across her tarsus (ankle joint). These screws act as anchors for nylon ‘prosthetic’ ligaments to replace her ruptured ones. Unfortunately the fragment of fractured bone from her tibia was too small to replace meaning we couldn’t reconstruct it and needed to use prosthetics. The joint was supported with a temporary external fixator (a metal frame on the outside of the leg connected to pins through her bones on either side of the joint. This immobilises it while it heals).
As expected, Rosie’s hip re-dislocated and so she needed a femoral head and neck excision (FHNE).
The hip is a ‘ball and socket’ joint and this operation involves removing the ‘ball’ and allowing the body to form a fibrous or ‘pseudo joint’.
Finally we sutured some of the wounds. Some of the skin had become necrotic due to damage to the blood supply so this all had to be debrided away and skin flaps were created and grafted into place to cover the deficits.
Rosie stayed in hospital for round the clock, 24 hour, nursing care over the coming days. Her legs were cleaned and redressed daily but unfortunately she developed an infection in one of the wounds. A swab was taken and sent to our laboratory to culture any bacteria and check their sensitivity to antibiotics.
Despite all the flushing and antibiotics, Rosie went on to develop a high temperature and had to be nursed through the infection. An additional antibiotic was added to her daily treatment when the swab result showed she had a resistant bacterial infection. She soon improved and after six days with us she was able to go home.
At home, Rosie’s family made sure she was comfortable and got plenty of rest. She was still being treated with antibiotics and pain relief and she had regular appointments to change the dressings on her wounds and the metal frame on her leg.
After several weeks being cared for at home Rosie was able to have the metal frame removed. Her legs were still weak but she was improving every day and her owners were able to start taking her on short walks to help her build up her strength.
It is now a few months since her accident and Rosie is able to run around and enjoy all the things a young Cockerpoo should! It will take her at least 12-18 months to really get back to normal but she is such a fantastic character and has the support of a lovely family so we are sure she will be enjoying lots of doggy adventures over the years to come! Rosie’s bravery throughout her extended stay endeared her to everyone on the practice, she is truly deserving of the brave heart award!