Thursday, March 17, 2011
When Broken Dogs Get A Second Chance: Fernando's Story
Being friends with veterinarians at the SPCA is always fun - they call us about anything and everything in the hopes that we can "get it out" (meaning take the animal into our care). Many of these sad, broken creatures of Philly need more care than the underfunded, understaffed, overcrowded shelters can provide. Sometimes we can't help, as our rescue is always full to the brim, but other times we're thrilled to be able to say yes.
This time it was a call about a Pomeranian with a broken pelvis (hip), presumably from being hit by a car. Before we went to meet him we had them send us his radiographs, which you can see here. Basically his pelvis is broken in multiple places, but our friends at the SPCA tell us he can walk, urinate, and defecate, although he's in a lot of pain. Having a general practitioner veterinarian sometimes isn't enough, sometimes we need a specialist's opinion. Basically pelvic fractures come in 3 varieties - 1. the dog will likely die from internal injuries (obviously not the case here since he was doing ok), 2. the dog will heal with STRICT cage rest (no running or jumping, the dog lives 100% in a cage except for 5 minute potty runs on leash) for at least 6 weeks, or 3. the dog will need extensive surgery and pins/plates/wires to put everything back together. The difficult thing about pelvis fractures is that to the untrained (or even less trained) eye, it can be very difficult to tell what kind of fracture you are looking at. So we asked our good friend Joe (names are changed to protect the innocent :) ) who is an board certified (and excellent) surgeon if he would be willing to do an email consult for us and look at the radiographs. He told us that the Pom had a pretty good chance of healing with cage rest, and we should consider going for it. Since we were lucky enough to have an open medical foster home, we agreed to go meet the dog.
Our adventure with this pup continued at 10pm when we showed up way too late at the SPCA to actually pick him up. Thankfully the extremely kind overnight staff recognized our desire to save him and helped us out. Our behavior evaluation couldn't have been better. He was a sweet, but scared and painful, young dog about 9-10 months old. The staff obviously had a soft spot for him, and after receiving a few days of pain medication we were on our way.
The car trip was our favorite part of the story - after being warned repeatedly that he will bite if you touch his broken back end we were a little wary of our new acquisition. Since he was doing beautifully being held we decided he had earned a lap ride home rather than a cage, where he'd be bounced around. After sitting down he started squirming, rolling around and flailing, so we were convinced that one of us was about to lose a finger, arm or face to the tiny monster. Much to our surprise, he was simply expressing his gratitude for taking him away - he was giving kisses and delighted to be with us! We arrived home without any further incidents, he's now relaxing in his own room in his crate with food and water, he's doing well as of day 1. Stay tuned for future updates on...Fernando!