Tag Archives: surgery

Foreign bodies

I’ve heard some people describe their dog as “A Guts” – but this list takes it to a whole new level.  Pet insurer Petplan has published a list of all the foreign bodies taken from pets insured by them.  (It’s a pretty impressive list)

Dog ate scisscorsDog ate cellphone

  • Acorns
  • Balloons
  • Batteries
  • Blanket
  • Carpeting
  • Chicken bones
  • Christmas ornaments
  • Clam shells
  • Copper wire
  • Corn cobs
  • Diapers
  • Dimes
  • Fish hook and sinker
  • Football
  • Fruit pits
  • Gloves
  • Grass
  • Hair ties
  • Hairbrush
  • Insulation
  • Leash
  • Metal skewers
  • Most of a loveseat
  • Sewing needles
  • Oven mitt
  • Pacifiers
  • Part of a book
  • Plastic hanger
  • Razor blades
  • Rocks
  • Rubber bands
  • Part of a rubber mat
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Staples
  • Sticks
  • String
  • Tea lights
  • Tennis balls
  • Toothpicks
  • TV remove
  • Underwear
  • Wedding rings
  • Wooden checkers

If you don’t have pet insurance and your dog is A Guts, then this list may change your mind about getting some.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

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Willow’s surgery for cleft palate

Willow is a beautiful Beagle who was born earlier this year with a cleft lip and palate.  As part of the defect, she has a bottom jaw that is slightly forward and bucked top front teeth – so her top teeth sink into the soft tissue of her lower jaw.

Cleft lip and palate are birth defects that have been traced to genetic factors.  (see my earlier articles on Cleft Palate in Dogs and The Genetics of Cleft Lip and Palate in Dogs)

Willow, before her surgery, showing the cleft lip

Willow, before her surgery, showing the cleft lip

The inside of Willow's mouth, showing the palate deformation more clearly

The inside of Willow’s mouth, showing the palate deformation more clearly

Last week, Willow had surgery to correct her birth defect.  She’s now home but taking strong pain relief medication and sucking on ice cubes for fluids.

Willow's mouth, post-surgery

Willow’s mouth, post-surgery

Willow in her Elizabethan collar (which brother Freddie believes makes her into a scary monster)

Willow in her Elizabethan collar (which brother Freddie believes makes her into a scary monster)

We are all hoping that the surgery was successful; her Elizabeth collar comes off later this week and she’ll be re-examined.  Then her owner will discuss what can be done to help with the mis-alignment of Willow’s jaws and teeth.

Cleft lip and palate are serious defects (Willow had to be hand-fed from birth because she couldn’t nurse like normal pups; many people will ‘look the other way’ when a pup is born with these defects and let it die from malnutrition.  Thankfully, Willow’s owner Gwen Hindmarsh wasn’t willing to do that).

Surgery is expensive and painful for the dog involved.  Dogs with cleft lip and palate in their lines should not be allowed to breed, as the defects don’t always appear in every litter.

Good luck Willow!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

Teddy’s journey starts

Teddy is an almost 8-year old Beagle.  We’ve known each other for 4 years now because Teddy is a regular customer of my dog massage, nutrition and rehabilitation practice.

Teddy

Teddy

Teddy suffers from bilateral hip dysplasia and his owner, Jill Gordon, has been successfully managing this condition for years by giving Teddy good nutrition, massage and laser therapy, and regular osteopathic adjustments.

But Teddy wasn’t so lucky on Friday, 22nd August 2014.

On this morning, which started like so many others, Teddy was riding in his father’s van in the front seat to go to work.  When the van came to a sudden stop in traffic, Teddy slid off the front seat into the foot well.   The force of his fall and the angle in which he fell caused him to severely fracture his right front leg.

The veterinary term for Teddy’s compound fracture is a comminuted open right intracondylar elbow fracture.

Teddy’s dad rushed him to their local veterinary practice at Lincoln Village Vets where the staff there stabilised him and Alex, the vet nurse, accompanied Jill and Teddy to the local specialist surgery practice, Vet Specs.   At Vet Specs the lead surgeon, Helen Milner, assessed Teddy.  She said she might be able to save his leg through a complicated 5-hour surgery.  Jill authorised the surgery.

However, once Helen got Teddy onto the operating table, she saw in more detail than the x-rays allowed her to just how badly broken Teddy’s leg was.  It was shattered and she didn’t have enough bone fragments to successfully attempt a repair.   The only choice was amputation.

Amputation has been a devastating outcome for Jill.  We know that Teddy has a challenging journey ahead not only to recover from his amputation but also to adapt his lifestyle and surroundings so he doesn’t aggravate his hip dysplasia.

Quality of life is paramount.

Jill has chosen a healthcare team including Sarah Wisson, his osteopath, Dr Susanne Anderson, a veterinary acupuncture specialist, and me to see Teddy through this new journey.

Jill wants other owners to learn from Teddy’s experience about the need to restrain their dogs when traveling in vehicles.  And she wants owners to share in Teddy’s journey to recovery.  She has given her permission for Teddy’s story to be told here.  You will see the new category on the blog:  Teddy’s journey post-amputation.

Teddy has just been released from hospital and is recovering at home.  Jill says he’s still her handsome boy as seen here:

Teddy, before his discharge from hospital

Teddy, before his discharge from hospital

Join us for Teddy’s journey in future blog posts.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Hypothermia after surgery involving anaesthetic

A  research team from the Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera directed by Professor José Ignacio Redondo has published research  in the journal Veterinary Record about the prevalence of hypothermia in dogs after surgery and other diagnostic tests that require anaesthetic. 83.6% of the 1,525 dogs studied presented with the complication, whereas in humans this percentage is between 30 and 60% of cases.

This research supports what many of us have experienced with our own dogs.  For example, when Daisy had a dental cleaning earlier this year, her vet reported to me that her temperature dropped after the surgery and they had extra blankets around her to warm her.  For this and other reasons, I’m glad I use a veterinary practice that is full-service, and I’m not an owner that is focused simply on costs.  (I’ve heard of people shopping around for the lowest cost for a dental; chances are that their pet will not be monitored closely and may not even be given fluids as part of the surgery and recovery.)

The researchers analysed over 1,500 cases of anesthetized animals in the University Clinical Hospitals of the CEU Cardenal Herrera and Cordoba. The variables directly related to hypothermia in dogs registered at the end of an operation include the duration of the pre-anaesthesia and anaesthesia, the physical condition of the animal and, also, their posture during surgery (sternal and dorsal recumbencies showed lower temperatures than lateral recumbency).

Hypothermia is the most common anaesthetic complication in dogs.  The researchers recommend that temperature should be continuously monitored and vets should take preventive measures to avoid heat loss during procedures.

Source:  AlphaGalileo Foundation media statement

Developing methods in pain management and osteoarthritis

Researchers at Kansas State University are devoting their time to the study of improvements in pain management and the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs.   (For more information on pain management, see my June 2012 blog)

The projects are led by James Roush, a professor of clinical sciences.

In one study, the research team determined that the maximum effective time for using hot and cold packs for pain management is 10 minutes.   The researchers studied how packing affects tissue temperature in beagles and beagle-sized dogs after surgery because hot and cold packing is a common technique for reducing swelling.   After 10 minutes, the maximum change in tissue temperature has been reached.

In another study, a special mat is being used to study lameness in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis.  When dogs step on the mat, it measures the pressure in their step and the study team can determine in which leg the lameness is worse.

“We’ve designed the study to help improve osteoarthritis treatment,” Roush said. “We will also use it to measure clinical patients when they come in for regular checkups. We can measure their recovery and a variety of other aspects: how they respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, how they respond to narcotics or how they respond to a surgical procedure that is designed to take that pressure off the joint.”

And in a third study,  Roush is collaborating with researchers to study the effectiveness of a painkiller used to treat dogs to identify potential alternatives.

“To achieve the drug’s effect, the dosage in dogs is much higher than in people,” Roush said. “It also may not be a very good analgesic in dogs. We want to see if there is an alternative that requires smaller doses and does not have not as much of a discrepancy for patients.”

Source:  Kansas State University media release

Cruciate ligament injuries in dogs

The knee joint can be vulnerable to injury in dogs just as it is in people because the bones are attached through soft tissues known as ligaments.   I received a call a couple of weeks ago from a friend saying, “Kathleen, I was at the dog park with Lea and she cried out and pulled up lame.  She won’t bear weight on it.  What do you think is wrong?”

Since I’m not a vet, I’m not qualified to diagnose injuries but this particular one sounded to me like a ‘classic’ cruciate ligament tear or rupture.   My friend didn’t want to pay after-hours vet prices on the weekend if he didn’t have to but equally didn’t want to wait to see a vet if her condition was serious or life-threatening.

I suggested that he rest Lea, keep her warm, dry and comfortable and go to the vet if there was an immediate change in her condition.   Otherwise, if she still wasn’t weight-bearing on Monday, then a visit to their regular vet was warranted.

As it turned out, Lea’s condition didn’t change over the weekend and a visit to the vet confirmed a cruciate ligament tear.  She’s now resting in the hope that the tear will heal itself.

In many cases, cruciate ligament injuries are partial tears and surgery isn’t required.  In others, full rupture of the ligament may mean that surgical repair is required.  Some dogs still need ongoing support for their legs regardless of whether the ligament was repaired surgically or not.   Leg braces that are made from a cast of the dog’s leg work well in many cases.

I work on dogs with these injuries in my canine massage practice.  Laser therapy helps to relieve the pain of the injury and support healing.  Passive range of motion exercises assist in keeping the leg joints mobile, but without pressure on the knee joint.  And hydrotherapy works wonders when the dog is ready for this type of more strenuous (but non-weight bearing) exercise!

Here’s a great video, courtesy of the folks at Vetstoria and YouTube about the symptoms and diagnosis of cruciate ligament ruptures.