Friday, February 5, 2016

Good tries and fracture failures

When a bone breaks the body will typically try and fix it on it's own.  The process involves forming a hematoma or blood clot at the fracture site, then a callous of connective tissue.  The callous indicates active healing and helps stabilize the fracture until new bone can form.  Over time new bone is laid down-initially a weaker bone, that is ultimately replaced with more compact bone which is stronger.  This is a pretty simplified version and many factors can be involved in how the fracture actually heals.

Two of the things that greatly help fracture healing are alignment of the bone and stabilization of the fracture pieces.  Poor alignment leads to bones that heal crooked or twisted.  Motion can lead to delayed healing or no healing.  Lack of alignment and lack of stabilization can lead to some pretty dramatic attempts by the body to "bridge the gap" on it's own.  Such was the case for this guy.

This was a large breed dog that had been a stray and was adopted from the the local shelter.  The new owner mentioned some ongoing lameness issues.  We thought we might find hip dysplasia on the radiographs but instead we found a femoral fracture that had never been set.  While the body did  a great job of trying to fix the problem the lack of proper setting has left this dog with ongoing pain and limited function.

On the flip side, even with proper alignment and stabilization the fracture can sometimes fail to heal.  This is most common in toy breed dogs fractures of the radius and ulna.  These little guys tend to snap their forearm when then they fall or jump off furniture or get dropped.  The bones in these dogs are so small the the blood supply is not significant enough to stimulate healing.  The result can be a delayed or non-union that requires surgical intervention.  I just rechecked a case seen by a colleague that three weeks post fracture looks no different that the original rads.  And in a puppy, this fracture should be mostly healed.  I though these were good examples of extreme, but different reactions of the body to fractures.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ha Ha Tonka

Sunday we had more nice weather and wanted to go somewhere that we could hike with the dogs.  We knew pretty much everyplace would be busy on a nice weekend in January and and it wasn't likely we would be able to let the dogs off leash.  So we decided to go to Ha Ha Tonka where we could at least enjoy the castle ruins and natural spring-it would give Nadin something new to see besides just another walk in the woods.

It was really pretty and we got some good family photos.  But I bet it's even better in prettier parts of the year.  We have been once, but it has been so long ago we barely remember anything.  So it was a nice trip for everyone.

I just thought this green moss looked cool since it stands out this time of year.
 Cheri and Renny at the natural bridge.
 Castle ruins

 Natural bridge

 Legend got bored while we consulted the map.

 We even saw an otter swimming in the spring.  It was so cute, but too far away to get a good photo.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lunch break productivity

At the private practice I work at part time we get a pretty long lunch break, unless it's really busy.  And since we had some unseasonably warm January weather that I didn't want to waste, I took Legend running at lunch a few days last week.  It was great to get out and enjoy the fresh air and also to not have to work out when I got home.  We ran through town and then down along the creek a bit so Legend could also swim.  I skipped the swimming.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fabulous 15

Zodiac is 15 today!  He has made it into a very exclusive club that not a lot of dogs get to.  Of course that's based on his estimated birthday taking into account the age his original owners gave the rescue.  But it's close enough for us!

To celebrate all the dogs had his favorite treat-ice cream!  Well to be more exact it was Andy's frozen custard, even better.  No one complained anyway.
 I had pictures of all the dogs individually but only Legend's looked cute.

Everyone did good until the first bowl was empty, then there was a bit of a scuffle and some separation had to be instituted. 
 Working a new technique.
Then there was some playing outside-wandering around the yard, herding the other dogs and even a little bit of fetching and tugging the frisbee.  He doesn't play a lot anymore but this week he has been extra perky at times.

Now everyone is napping. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Half time

We are halfway through Nadin's stay here in the US.  People often ask what the most surprising thing is about her or about our experience.  Honestly, I think the most surprising thing is how easily we adapted to having another person live with us.  One of my biggest concerns about committing to this was how we would really handle having another person here all day, every day, for 10 months.  But other than my robe getting way more use than usual, it hasn't been that hard!

She's very self sufficient, which also makes it easy.  She can entertain herself, more or less take care of herself, and if need be, feed herself.  Actually, we are both so frequently engrossed in our own activities that I sometimes think I don't interact with her enough! But we try to plan plenty of family dinners and activities to make up for the times we are independent of each other.

She's doing very well in school.  She got all A's first semester except for a B in English and this was largely due to a very questionable format of the final.  Just one of the many things about the Ozark public high school that has disappointed us.

We love that she makes us laugh on a regular basis-whether it be an animated portrayal of teenage lives at the high school, her use of vivid sound effects to go along with routine activities, or just the funny stuff she says.

One of the other things we have realized is how many phrases and sayings we have in English that don't translate literally.  We don't even think about things like "ring a bell" or "off the hook" but to a non-native speaker those don't really make sense!

The dogs love her-especially Legend.  She recognizes the sound of the school bus pulling up and will go meet her at the door if we are home.  And she Legend give each other no shortage of kisses.  Lyric enjoys getting love and snuggles, but is not as forthcoming on kisses, which is typical of her.

Overall I think everyone is enjoying the experience and we have a lot more things planned for the second half.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Let's bowl

Although there are bowling alleys in Egypt, Nadin had never been.  And this seemed like a good activity for a chilly saturday afternoon.  So off we went!  Jerry and I had not bowled in years and neither of us are very good, but we did our best to try and instruct her on appropriate technique. 

She definitely improved from game one to game two-upping her score by 12 points for a career high of 49.  Jerry and I fared a bit better and I won with a score of 95.  In the second game we each broke one hundred which we both considered a success but he won by 7 or 8 pins.  

Everyone got at least a few strikes so overall it was a good success.  Although I'm not sure it was her favorite of the activities she's tried.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A helping hand

In private practice, there are actually not that many days where your direct intervention actually saves a patient's life.  In a way this is good, because these kinds of illnesses and injuries are often unexpected bumps in what is already loa busy day.  They can also be stressful to the owner, pet, doctor, staff or all of the above.  But the lack of this kind of situation can also make private practice mundane and even unfullfilling.  No one really wants to go to school seven years to give rabies vaccines and treat fleas all day. 

And so....our feel good, hero story of the week!  Yesterday afternoon as we were wrapping up surgeries at the spay/neuter clinic someone walked in requesting an emergency cat spay.  Our very patient office manager who deals no shortage of crazy people kindly explained that was not how we worked and that we really didn't have any openings this week.  The person was very distraught and said her cat was having an issue with her pregnancy and a vet had told her if it wasn't spayed right away it would die.  They then asked if there was anything they could do at home to help her.

Now, that's not a lof of info to go on, but generally speaking this didn't sound like a situation for at home remedies. I offered to take a quick look at the cat and see what might be going on and determine some options for them.

The kitty was sweet and quiet, not in any distress, not depressed and not in active labor.  There were no kittnes in the birth canal but there was an abnormal discharge, mild dehydration, and fever.  I suspected the fetuses had died and were becoming necrotic.  While this did not warrant a spay right that second it did warrant a spay in the next day or two for sure.  We initially thought we could give some fluids and send them some antibiotics to buy a little time.  But realistically I realized no full service private practice was likely to help them.  We decided to add the kitty to our already full schedule for the next day since I just couldn't send her away to potentially die over a surgery that would not likely take me more than 15 minutes.  Fortunately we have some grant money that allows us to assist people who can't afford our already reduced fees.  The owner happily paid the associated $35 co-pay and today the little momma got all fixed up!  Everyone went home happy and we got the chance to directly save a life and also help someone in need.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Fuller House

Anybody remember Reaghan?

Well, she's back.  She's very overweight, she was overdue on vaccines and your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not she was on heartworm prevention.  The couple who adopted her also had a laundry list of issues they were having with her.  So apparently, even careful screening cannot weed out all people who are inept at pet parenting. 

One of the main issues they had was urinating in the house, both in the form of excited/submissisve urination and purposeful urination due to unknown causes-marking, stress, dominance, UTI? 

So far she has excited urinated three times since being here.  All in the first 24 hours when being let out of her crate or x-pen.  Since then she has done great-even after a long night or several hours during the day.  She did purposefully pee in her bed at the clinic the day the tranport volunteer dropped her off.  So we have not allowed her access to bedding in her kennel, or on soft surfaces when she is loose unless we know she is "empty" and we are gradually increasing the amount of time she gets out of her x-pen.  She was also treated for a UTI while being boarded and waiting for transport.  It didn't seem like it was all the way gone based on her lab results so I am doing another round of antibiotics at a higher dose.  

I think she didn't have a lot of rules or structure at her home.  They refused to crate her and she was allowed on all furniture.   She was also loose in the house with the other dogs furing the day and we don't really know what went on between them. So we are instituting rules and structure for her.  

They also said she snapped at another dog that visited the home.  She will growl if my dogs come close but this is mainly a personal space/territorial issues.  She responds well to verbal correction and I think this will improve.  She's not outright aggressive to other animals as they portrayed-she plays outside with Trace and is fine as long as no one invades her personal space in the house.  So I think she will get over this eventually with time and consistency.  She will chase and bark at cats but that's not really new so we continue to work on it.  

And of course we have her on a diet!

She's still the sweet, little love bug that she was before, just needs a little retraining in the right direction.  

Tomorrow Trace will go back to his own foster home and our house won't be quite so full.  It's been a busy weeeknd of juggling dogs!

Sunday, January 24, 2016


The house pets did not want to be left out of the picture taking.  Or maybe they did.  But doesn't matter, I got them anyway.

 This turned out cool.
 The lighting wasn't so great where Twix way laying.  I'll have to work on getting some better ones.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ponies having breakfast

You can't get away with just looking at dog photos.  Here are the horses having their snowy breakfast on Thursday.