Australian Shepherd’s scuffle with car sends him to surgery

Gunner faceThis cutie is Gunner, a one-year-old male Australian Shepherd. Unfortunately, he was run-over in his driveway by his owner and his femur, or thigh bone, was broken.

Fortunately, it was fixable! I performed surgery at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center. All it took was a stainless steel plate and 9 screws.

Gunner is recovering well, and everyone is grateful that there’s a happy ending. Amazingly, Gunner’s situation is not an uncommon occurrence in cats and dogs – and even children! Always be aware of your surroundings in your driveway, especially if your pet has access to the driveway and likes to greet you. Then they should be locked up inside the house until it’s safe!

Gunner preop

Gunner’s x-ray before surgery.

Gunner post

A post-op x-ray showing the plate and screws used to repair the femur.

Playful Pointer sisters overcome separation anxiety

Chica, a 2 year old female German Shorthair Pointer, had a broken forearm (radius and ulna) that required a plate Chica 5(1)and screws to fix. I operated at Berks Animal Emergency and Referral Center. You can see the broken arm and the repair x-rays below.

Chica had just a tiny bit of separation of anxiety during her recovery, which may have resulted in a bathroom becoming a little messier than normal.

Well over a year after surgery, her owner sent me a wonderful video of Chica playing with her sister.

Can you tell which one is Chica?

She’s the taller one!

Chica 1 Chica 2
Chica 3 Chica 4

Leia: the Havanese that can’t be kept down

Leia faceLeia is a 4 year-old female Havanese who just so happens to be cuter than a button.

She was experiencing back pain and right hind leg weakness, in spite of pain medication and cortisone. An MRI showed a slipped disc in the middle of her back, between T13 and L1.

Leia had spinal surgery at Berks Animal and Emergency Referral Center to remove the slipped disc. This is a delicate surgery, that can paralyze a dog, if only temporarily.

Leia did great! Just a few hours after surgery, she went outside for a little walk. Nothing is going to stop Leia!

Back pain can be treated with pain medications and a slipped disc can be treated with cortisone, but studies show that in 80% of cases, these dogs actually need spinal surgery.

Leia

The arrow is pointing at the slipped disc.

 

The Fourth Revolution: Fear Free veterinary care for pets

labrador retriever puppyI recently attended a seminar with my wonderful colleague Dr. Marty Becker, the founder of the Fear Free™ movement in veterinary care.

He made an interesting observation, which I thought I should share with my pet-loving readers. He observed there have been four major revolutions in the veterinary world over the past few decades:

Revolution 1: Feline Medicine

There was a time cats lived in the yard or the barn, and weren’t really considered pets. As they moved into the house and became family pets, vets had to come up with anesthesia, medications, and vaccines that were appropriate and safe for cats.

Revolution 2: Dental Care

When vets realized that pets had teeth that needed care, we started recommending brushing their teeth and performing dental cleaning. Specialized veterinary dentists soon appeared, and we were able to offer very advanced care.

Revolution 3: Pain Management

It’s embarrassing, but there was a time when we didn’t understand that pets could feel pain. A whole new world soon emerged. Pain medications started to be included with every surgery. Now, I can’t even conceive doing surgery without multiple pain medications before, during, and after surgery.

Revolution 4: Fear Free Practice

Fear Free is a movement that affects every step of pet care: the car ride, the waiting room, the exam room, around surgery… everything. But here is the interesting observation Dr. Becker made: Feline medicine only affects cats. Dental care mostly affects pets above a certain age. Pain medications only affect pets in pain.

But Fear Free affects every single cat and dog – which makes it all the more important to embrace for vets and pet owners alike.

To learn more about Fear Free:

Reducing Your Cat’s Fear of the Veterinarian

Reducing Your Dog’s Fear of the Veterinarian

 

Fix your dog’s laryngeal paralysis with tie back surgery

Princess Matches on her royal couchMatches is a 13 year old female Cocker Spaniel who, as you can see, rules the home from her royal couch.

She previously had to have her left eye removed because of glaucoma, but she was referred to me because she had difficulty breathing. Her family vet diagnosed her with an unusual condition in a Cocker: laryngeal paralysis, or lar par.

This was very surprising. It’s a common condition in Labradors, but rare in other breeds such as Cockers.

Lar par is a stressful ailment where the two folds of the larynx (or voice box) do not open and close as the patient breathes in and out. The folds remain closed – paralyzed – and the patient literally suffocates. This can be fixed with “tie back” surgery, which involves placing 2 strands of heavy nylon to open the left side of the larynx.

It’s a delicate surgery, but typically successful as it opens the airway so that the patient can breathe. Matches recovered very nicely and quickly from surgery at Blairstown Animal Hospital in New Jersey. So far, she is doing great.

Below, you can see a preop and postop video of the larynx.

In the “before” section, don’t be fooled by the movement at the bottom of the folds! These  are the vocal cords, which do nothing for breathing. Look at the top of the folds, and you will see that they do not move, even when she tries to breathe in.

In the “after” portion, the left side of the throat (which appears on the right side of the screen!) is open to allow air from going in.

It’s very important for veterinary professionals to never assume! I was surprised to hear from my colleague that he had a Cocker with laryngeal paralysis, but sure enough, that’s what she had.