Shattered femur causes problems for German Shepherd

Harper vertical cropHarper, a 6 month old female German Shepherd, had a small problem.

Lots of small problems actually.

Her femur, or thigh bone, was shattered. You can see two large pieces at the break, and multiple small pieces in the middle.

I performed a surgical repair at Berks Animal and Emergency Center & Referral Center, using 1 pin, 2 wires, 9 screws, a stainless steel plate, and a bone graft! You can see the fractures and the repairs in the x-ray images below.

After 6 weeks of strict confinement, it was time to play in the snow!

A view of the femur, immediately before surgery.

A view of the femur, immediately before surgery.

Another preop view of the femur.

Another preop view of the femur.

Here is Harper immediately after surgery.

Here is Harper immediately after surgery.

A lateral post-surgical view.

A lateral post-surgical view.

Harper 6 week AP

An x-ray six weeks after surgery.

Six weeks after surgery, Harper's x-rays look much better!

Six weeks after surgery, Harper’s x-rays look much better!

Take advantage of Pet Dental Health Month

February is Pet Dental Health Month. This could be a great opportunity for your pet to get a good dental cleaning, and possibly for you to get a nice discount.

How do you know if your pet needs a dental cleaning?

  • If your pet has bad breath
  • If your pet drools or seems to have difficulty chewing
  • If you see brown tartar on the teeth (see the picture below for an extreme example)
BEFORE cleaning - severe tartar

“BEFORE cleaning – severe tartar”

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Get inside your vet’s mind…

So you think being a vet is all fun and games, right? Cute puppies and purring kittens all day, right?

Sadly, our profession is riddled with problems (like any other): an obscene student debt load (often hundreds of thousands of dollars), low income compared to most healthcare professions, difficulty providing excellent pet care while keeping fees affordable, rising costs etc. Therefore, vets face an enormous amount of stress.

What could possibly make vets stressed out? After agonizing for several weeks over my choice, I decided to share openly some the challenges vets face on a daily basis.
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When is it time to say goodbye?

When your pet’s health is declining, the toughest question to answer is: “When is it time to say goodbye?

It may be easy for others, including your vet. But it is most difficult for you, the pet owner, not only for emotional reasons, but also because you see your pet every single day. Others don’t. So it’s difficult to be objective about the situation.

Here is a nice little trick that can help you make the most difficult decision of your life. I just read about it in a recent issue of Veterinary Medicine, a professional magazine.*
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Can you afford surgery on your pet?

Pets commonly get into things they shouldn’t. When they swallow something, we call that a foreign body.

Recent foreign bodies we have removed from cats and dogs include, from memory: pieces of a belt, of an electric cord, of floss, of a yoga matt, of a basketball; a chicken bone, a sock, a rubber toy, an acorn, a squeaky toy, a sewing needle, hair ties, a giant hairball and an ear plug.
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