Daisy is a gorgeous 5 year old toy poodle who captured the heart of Marie as she lay homeless in a pound. Marie took Daisy home and it was not long before she realised there was something wrong with one of Daisy’s front legs, she could not put any weight on it. Marie brought Daisy in to see us and it was quickly ascertained that she had an old fracture of her radius and ulna halfway between her elbow and wrist. Radiographs showed this fracture was a very old one, possibly 6 months old but most importantly it was what is called a ‘non union’. Non unions are fractures that have simply not healed. They can occur even when every attempt to fix them has occurred but, given Daisy’s predicament in the pound, it is likely that she had suffered with this fracture and nobody had done anything about it. Non unions are most common with radial fractures and in small toy breeds like poodles so the odds were against Daisy’s fracture healing. There are many reasons for non unions but most occur when there is a large gap between the fractured bones, inadequate stability, soft tissue trauma and poor blood supply at the fracture site. Marie was keen to help and we didn’t want to amputate Daisy’s leg without giving it a fighting chance.
Daisy was operated on and her old fracture site was explored and cleaned up in as delicate a way as possible. Stability was more of a priority than getting all the pieces of the puzzle back together. To achieve stability, we screwed on a stainless steel plate with 7 screws. The secret ingredient however was a bone graft, harvested from another of Daisy’s bones. In this instance, we collected some bone material called cancellous bone from inside her upper arm or humerus, just near her shoulder. This bone graft is amazingly precious material and we used it to pack the gap between the fractured bits of bone.
Daisy is making an excellent recovery and is going to be on antibiotics for about 4 weeks. Two days after her surgery, she was putting her foot to the ground and weight bearing on the front leg which is something she hasn’t done in over 6 months. We are all keeping our fingers and paws crossed.