PuppylonePuppylone with Devan, Vet Assistant,
and Dr. Dutton

Case 4

Puppylone Fitzgerald
Female heeler cross
Broken leg
IM pin placed 12/13/14

Puppylone is a cute little one year old heeler cross that was attacked by a pit bull.  She had puncture wounds on her chest and right forearm along with a deep laceration on her right forearm.  Because she was not able to use that leg during her physical exam, her owner agreed to have Dr. Dutton take x-rays of that leg.

Puppylone was so brave for her x-rays!  We didn’t even have to sedate her!  The x-rays showed she had a compound transverse fracture of her humerus bone.  No wonder she wasn’t using her leg!  Fractures of the humerus don’t heal well with just a cast or splint.  They really need to be surgically repaired.  Luckily we are able to repair this type of fracture at MLVC.  The standard procedure is to place an IM (intramedullary) pin through the marrow cavity of the entire length of bone to join the two fractured pieces of bone and offer support while the bone heals.

Surgery was scheduled with Dr. Dutton the next day.  Alyssa, one of our fearless technicians, was sterilely scrubbed into surgery as well.  Dr. Dutton needed help holding instruments for this surgery.  Dr. Dutton first needed to dissect the muscles and connective tissues to reach the humerus.  The most important task was to not injure the large radial nerve which courses down on top of the humerus.  Dr. Dutton was then able to grab each piece of bone with her orthopedic instruments.  Alyssa helped hold the bones in place as Dr. Dutton drilled the IM pin through them.  This takes some trial and error and lots of experience.  After the first try, we took another x-ray to make sure the bone was aligned correctly.

Our x-ray showed that we didn’t have the bones in the correct alignment so we went back to surgery to try again.  This time Dr. Dutton tried a little different technique.  The second try worked like a charm.  As you can see on the x-ray picture, the edges (cortices) are perfectly aligned.  Now the bone will be able to form a bony callus around the fracture and heal itself.  This will probably take 12-18 weeks.  At 8 weeks we will take another x-ray and make sure the callus has formed.

Puppylone’s leg was iced and bandaged before she woke up from anesthesia.  We saw her for regular rechecks until her next x-ray was taken. We will update this page with more photos once her treatment plan is completed.


The Pin is In!
Pre-surgery x-ray. Can you see where the fracture is?

Post-surgery x-ray. The bone is now straight.


The Pin is In!
Exterior view showing the fractured leg with the pin in.



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