Hazel survives a horrible accident

Hazel, a very cute 6 month old chocolate Lab, was hit by a family member’s pickup truck in her own driveway…

You may want to skip the next sentence & jump to the next paragraph if you are a sensitive soul… You have been warned… Her owner said the car ended up being “parked on Hazel.”

After everybody calmed down, the end result was a pup in severe pain, holding a back leg up and a big skin laceration.

Hazel was rushed to her family vet. X-rays showed a fracture of the end of her femur (thigh bone).

Miraculously, her chest & belly X-rays and the rest of her physical exam were normal. Her preop blood work was also normal.

I reviewed the X-rays and was asked if I could help put this poor puppy back together. She was a good candidate for anesthesia and surgery to repair the broken bone. So later that day, Hazel was anesthetized and prepped for surgery.

Realigning the 2 ends of the broken bones several days after the accident was the toughest part. One piece was literally impaled into the other. But we eventually succeeded in realigning the bone nicely.

Surgery involved placing 4 pins to stabilize the fracture.

Hazel’s postop care required giving pain medications and antibiotics, 2 weeks in a cone (E collar) and 6 weeks of very strict confinement to a small room.

Six weeks after surgery, her X-rays showed nice healing of the fracture. It is now time to slowly increase her activity over the next 4 weeks so she can resume her crazy happy life of running, playing and catching balls.

Sadly, this is not an unusual story. Many pets (cats and dogs) are hit by a car in their own driveway (and beyond, of course). Please be safe. The best place for a pet is indoors, especially when there is a moving vehicle in the driveway.

Hazel, despite her ordeal, got lucky. All of her wounds and her fracture were fixable and healed nicely.

Her owner was very happy to report that she was ready to just be a puppy again. “I couldn’t be happier with her progress” he concluded. Now little Hazel can enjoy life again.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified

Achilles was all broken after he got hit by a car…

Achilles, a 4 year old, 10 pound Yorkie, was hit by a car. His pelvis was broken in multiple places. The main issues were a fracture of the ileum (the bone in the front of the pelvis – red arrows) and a Sacro-Iliac luxation (aka SI luxation – blue arrows).

An SI luxation is a dislocation between the pelvis and the spine. Both injuries needed to be repaired surgically. There were several other fractures in the pelvis, which did not need surgery. In addition, there were multiple soft tissue injuries, meaning mostly damage to the muscles around the pelvis.

I was called to put Achilles back together at the Animal Clinic of Morris Plains in NJ.

The fracture was repaired with a metal plate and 6 screws. The dislocation was repaired with 1 pin and 1 screw (see postop X-ray).

After surgery, Achilles will need to rest very strictly for 2 months. This will allow all of the fractures, repaired and unrepaired, to heal nicely.

This is sadly a common story. Dogs often jump out of a car, run out of a yard, chase cars, follow their instincts (often due to hormones) etc. In the end, the car always wins. Please keep your cats and dogs safe. A leash is the easiest way to avoid many problems.


Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified


When loving pet owners hurt their pet – badly

WARNING !!! This blog post is not for the faint of heart!!!

Of course you’ve heard of a pet who got hit by a car.

How about about a pet hit by his or her owner?

Do you find this shocking?

Do you think that this could never ever happen to you?

You’d be surprised how often this happens. It actually happens all the time! I fix these patients up regularly. They occasionally have what we call soft tissue injuries: to the lungs, the intestine or the skin. 

Most of the time, they have orthopedic injuries, i.e. broken bones, often in the pelvis. 

Sadly, some pets never make it…

How does it happen?

Occasionally, it happens when “pet meets car,” for example when a dog runs to greet his owner. 

Most of the time, it happens because the pet (cat or dog), sleeps under the car. And as you can imagine, the owner who is about to back up never suspects that their pet is sleeping under their car. 

So this is a reminder to never assume.

Always make sure you know where your pets are before you drive away.