6 mos old puppy lateral condylar humerus fracture: post surgery questions - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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6 mos old puppy lateral condylar humerus fracture: post surgery questions

Hi! We have a 6 mos old german shepherd (Stella) who fractured her front right elbow at the park with my 14-year-old in a freak accident on May 8th. The specialty hospital splinted her leg and sent her home late that night and we were told to contact her regular vet for a consultation and possible surgery with them. However, she was in excruciating pain all night so we took her back to the Specialty Hospital in the morning to get surgery with their orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible.
She underwent surgery on May 9th; her lateral condylar humerus bone was put back in place and she had two pieces of hardware inserted. She came home the following day and has been doing well.
However, yesterday evening her limp got a little worse as she still has a lot of energy and even with sedatives, still tends to get too hyper. The leg is not sensitive to the touch at all and I can't see or feel any pins jutting out. Has anyone had a dog who had a similar surgery? I'm wondering if this is a normal setback while the bone heals or if I should take her back for a recheck.
We unfortunately did NOT get insurance and have drained our savings to pay for the $6000 surgery. I tried to take her back to our regular vet today but he was on vacation and the vet there today had no openings.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Some puppy pics of my Stella are attached.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 08:16 PM
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Put a call into your orthopedist. STRICT cage rest and leash walk in and out until they tell you otherwise.You have already spent a lot. Now is not the time to get armchair opinions. If she is not quiet on her current meds usually other drugs can be combined or dose increased to keep quiet. I know its lousy but when she is healed you will look back and be glad you did.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 04:03 AM Thread Starter
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We went back in for x-rays right after I posted and they revealed she was healing well, but one of the screws had bent a little bit. She is still limping quite heavily on that leg and/or barely uses it by using the other 3. Orthopedic surgeon said no more surgery is needed and that she would heal but she is still limping so much despite the pain meds! I wonder if there's a chance that the screw hit a nerve when it bent?
She is on more sedatives now and is calmer but I'm still really concerned about her heavier limp.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 11:27 AM
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With or without complications, any bone brake requiring surgery and the healing process is painful. What were the crate rest instructions and length of time along with instructions on when and how the surgeon wanted her to proceed with getting back to normal activity? Are you being strict about that? (The last question is just posed for you to consider and is not meant as judgement nor is an answer expected. It's just meant for you, no one else.). That said, if you question anything, contact the surgeon again for reassurance, let him know if there was any deviation from the instructions, i.e. She jumped unexpectedly while on potty break, etc and or get a second opinion. I think it's normal to look to others for reassurance but honestly, no matter what others say, only the/a surgeon who knows/sees what your concerns are will have the answers.

Through my adult human kids who have had surgeries requiring screws and pins, one of them did have discomfort from a screw but it seemed to resolve as the healing progressed.

I'm really sorry this has happened and wishing her a full recovery. She looks like a sweet girl

Edit to add, don't take her out of the crate without leashing her to you so that you can immediately prevent any harmful activity.

"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"

Last edited by Heartandsoul; 05-25-2019 at 11:32 AM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 02:35 PM
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Such a beauty
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 04:40 PM
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I'd watch this closely- the pain should start to subside with time, but within 1- 2 weeks for sure. My boy had a fractured femur from a run-in with a evil moose, and had plates and pins. He healed up beautifully thanks to the skilled surgeon, but kept having issues with infections over the plate so we had to get the plate and screws removed. It wasn't cheap, but it was worth it to have him pain free. If you read about people who have hardware, it sometimes causes problems and needs to be removed once the bone is healed- in fact it's not at all uncommon.

I'd be most concerned about infection or nerve damage. If nothing changes in 14 days, I'd do more testing to see what might be going on.

I hope she heals well with no further complications. It can be very hard to keep these guys quiet. My boy was pretty good, but there were a few moments... it is worth it in the long run. It is amazing how advanced medical care for dogs is these days!


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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We took her back in for a recheck & x-rays today and unfortunately she will require more surgery. The bone still has a separation and is not tight. Her limp has not gotten any better either. The surgeon wants to attach the bone tighter, take the bent screw out and replace with another one. He is also thinking about a splint to limit her ability to damage it again but I'm worried that will be super clunky and painful for her. She did NOT do well with the splint she had overnight prior to surgery. Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday with the same surgeon at the Specialty Hospital near us but we are trying to get her squeezed in earlier. After today's examination and x-rays, her pain seems to be elevated and she barely uses the leg when limping around. This is excruciating for us watching her in this much pain! We just had to put our male white shepherd (Yuri Drury) of 10 years down in January because he was having brain tumor-induced grand mal seizures so my anxiety is very high with this puppy. My Yuri slept with us and was my soul mate dog -- I still can't mention his name without tearing up. I just need Stella to get better!!!

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Originally Posted by Muskeg View Post
I'd watch this closely- the pain should start to subside with time, but within 1- 2 weeks for sure. My boy had a fractured femur from a run-in with a evil moose, and had plates and pins. He healed up beautifully thanks to the skilled surgeon, but kept having issues with infections over the plate so we had to get the plate and screws removed. It wasn't cheap, but it was worth it to have him pain free. If you read about people who have hardware, it sometimes causes problems and needs to be removed once the bone is healed- in fact it's not at all uncommon.

I'd be most concerned about infection or nerve damage. If nothing changes in 14 days, I'd do more testing to see what might be going on.

I hope she heals well with no further complications. It can be very hard to keep these guys quiet. My boy was pretty good, but there were a few moments... it is worth it in the long run. It is amazing how advanced medical care for dogs is these days!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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Update: Stella had her surgery today and in the middle of it, the surgeon called to say things weren't going that well and he wasn't confident he could make a good repair. He wanted to give us the option of amputating the leg. We were shocked at this suggestion and asked him to continue surgery & to repair the fracture as best he could. When he finished, he called to say it looked good and more stable on x-ray; he had put in a longer screw and two pins this time. He didn't know if she'd be pain-free or be able to use the leg well. Has anyone had this experience? It seemed really premature to choose amputation for a 6 mos old puppy instead of repairing it. She is coming home tomorrow -- prayers would be very much appreciated!!!
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