Wee bonnie had just had her vaccinations and was settling into her new home. Unfortunately, when Bonnie was only *11* weeks old, a simple fall resulted in this nasty little injury. Bonnie is the third young puppy to suffer similar fractures at the practice in the last 6 months.
Bonnie had suffered a broken elbow, the vets call this a lateral condylar fracture. It can happen to any age dog but more often in puppies as they have weak points through the growth plate. The problem with these fractures is that they never heal well themselves. If they aren’t repaired surgically, the poor dog can end up with a lack of movement and painful arthritis in the elbow. In Bonnie's case, things were made even more difficult as she was a tiny puppy with tiny little bones.
This is Bonnies’ x-ray and a picture of the type of fracture in her leg. In puppies its very tricky to see fractures as they have lots of growth plates, which fuse later in life when they have finished growing.
We had to take Bonnie to surgery as soon as possible after she had her injury. Being such a young pup is great as they heal really fast, but it also means if we don’t fix the fracture quickly, the bones try to heal themselves in completely the wrong shape. The pressure was also on as Bonnies’ owner was one of our Head Nurse Stevens best friends!
Our vet Martin carried out the surgery on the tiny bones. The first thing to do was to realign the fracture and ensure that the elbow moved perfectly. Once this is done a pilot hole is drilled through the fractured bones (This is the really scary bit!). You only get one chance to get this right, the pilot hole has to be exactly in the centre of the bone a few millimetres either way and the elbow will not bend correctly, or the bone will split and the puppy would possibly lose her leg!
Everything went as planned, a small screw was placed to secure the fracture (the next scary bit). The screw must be tightened very carefully to secure the fracture but not too tight or it may split the soft fragile little bones. In bigger dogs, extra plates or wires are used but these weren’t necessary in such a small puppy
Below is a picture of the x-ray after surgery and a picture of the tiny screw in Martins fingers as a comparison.
Bonnie had to spend the next 4 weeks in a cage to ensure she healed properly.
Bonnie has healed really well, and we are all delighted with the result. She is running around again like a normal puppy. She was in today for her spay operation and we removed the screw.
Unfortunately, Bonnies free puppy insurance had run out and her owners hadn’t got around to getting their own. So bonnie ending up being a much more expensive Puppy than planned!
We always recommend insuring your pets, it is especially important when they are small, as they do get into all sorts of trouble but if they do we are here to look after them.