Delicate Russian toy dog learns to look before she leaps

Nellie faceNellie is a two-year-old Russian toy dog. She jumped from her owner’s arms and broke both bones in her forearm, the radius and ulna.

Surgery was scheduled at Blairstown Animal Hospital. The main bone, the radius, was repaired with stainless steel and 6 screws. In addition, a bone graft was placed around the fracture site to speed up healing.

In my practice, this is a common fracture and a common surgery, but Nellie’s bone was about the size of a match! The repair was reinforced with a splint. Because there is no splint small enough for her size, we had to make one with a wooden tongue depressor.

Nellie recovered well. She was strictly confined for 8 weeks and needed weekly splint changes. Follow up X-rays were taken after 8 weeks to make sure the bone was healing.

Happily, the bone healed nicely. Her activity was slowly increased over 4 more weeks.

Small and toy breed dogs can break a bone after what seems to be minimal trauma, such as jumping or falling. It is important not to rely on a splint only, as this will often not allow the bone to heal. These dogs truly need surgery to ensure a happy ending.

And please be careful when holding these tiny dogs! Don’t give them a chance to jump from your arms or tall places.

E pre op 1

A preop X-ray, showing the broken bone.

E pre op 2

A preop X-ray, showing the broken bone.

E post op 2

A postop X-ray which shows the repair.

E post op 1

In this postop view, you can see the screws used to fix the fracture.

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Dr. Phil Zeltzman

Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a traveling veterinary surgeon in Pennsylvania & New Jersey. An award-winning author, he loves to share his adventures in practice along with information about vet medicine and surgery that can really help your pets. Dr. Zeltzman specializes in orthopedic, neurologic, cancer, and soft tissue surgeries for dogs, cats, and small exotics. By working with local family vets, he offers the best surgical care, safest anesthesia, and utmost pain management to all his patients. Sign up to get an email when he updates his blog, and follow him on Facebook, too!