Dr. Phil Zeltzman’s Blog
This 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.
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!
Chica, a 2 year old female German Shorthair Pointer, had a broken forearm (radius and ulna) that required a plate 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!
Leia 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 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.
I 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:
Matches 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.