BROKEN LEGS IN ITALIAN GREYOUNDS
Dealing with a broken leg is sometimes not what an IG person wants to do. However, it is , you will deal with this sometime in your life if IG's are the love of your life. Written below are some excellent tips from an IG breeder - Kathryn Holmes. This work is copyrighted by her. Reprint permission must be obtained through her. You can contact her by emailing LittleLuv2@aol.com
There seem to be different causes of breaks some I call legitimate and some due to hereditary weakness (there may be some in-between). The two hereditary problems I see are bones and brains (or lack of <g>). The dogs that I have observed with bad bone have what seems to be a brittleness that causes them to break in the normal course for daily activities. Many of us "old breeders" believe these all will break by 1-1 1/2 years, they just do it too easily.
They will probably have lifetime problems at least until they drastically slow down.
The brittle bones don't seem to have anything to do with size of bone. When I first started breeding I had a litter of two, one big boy and a tiny fine girl they both broke their legs doing nothing extraordinary.
Many have tried to x-ray to determine which were healthy legs but nothing successful has been reported.
Then there are the hereditary wild ones. I'm sure many have seen the kamikaze iggy who crashes and fly's around the house and yard. A note of caution: if you get an IG who isn't used to freedom give it to them slowly they will be wild with the unaccustomed open spaces. I've seen too many older dogs break when given full run of the house (usually with an existing IG) before they got over their excitement and learned to handle their bodies.
Another condition that is unique to IGs is the build (and I think temperament) of a horse and the ability of a goat. This puts them at great risk of over stressing those long legs and causing a "legitimate" break.
As I understand it, the vet (hopefully a good one) makes a determination on what type of device to use based upon the type of break.
If the break isn't all the way through you wouldn't pin because it is necessary to pull apart the leg to insert the pin. A hole is drilled in each end of the bone and the pin inserted. If the break is too close to the end it wouldn't be the choice either as there wouldn't be enough bone to hold the pin. This is especially true of young dogs because they don't want to disturb the growth plates which are located at the bone ends.
When plating they use finger plates (sized for our fingers) for IGs so I don't understand the statement that the bone was to small. I can't imagine an Iggie bone smaller than my little finger.
Casting works for brakes that don't go all the way through the bone (where the two ends of bone are disconnected and pulled side-by-side by the muscle) and it is the most economical. Many show people don't choose it because the position the leg says in causes more muscle and tendon shrinking/stretching which usually causes the leg to toe in or out. The pin, plate, and Kirschner allow the dog to begin walking very soon after the setting which eliminates much of the atrophy and tendon changes.
The Kirschner seems to be the more recent favorite and what the vet who I respect and would use likes. It has the added (over the pin and plate) advantage in that the bone alignment can be adjusted. When you pin or plate your stuck with how the original setting turned out unless you want to redo it. It does seem that the Kirschner takes more expertise and there are sets that have turned our beautifully.
Grafting (taking a small piece of bone from elsewhere and wrapping it around the break) is to speed healing. It worked on the one we had done about 20 years ago.
The old rule of thumb is that it takes 12 weeks to fully heal a break. I always strongly advise that even if the vet takes whichever device off before the 12 weeks that the owners exercise extreme caution until this time period has passed. I've heard of too many re-breaks when the leg was pronounced healed too soon. Remember also that the muscles need to be re-strengthened before the leg is 100%.
The last thing I'd like to add is that, the information I have is that bones (human and dog) heal better (and faster) if not set for a day or two. The leg should be splinted to eliminate further damage and make the dog comfortable, but then you can wait. This also gives you time to get home or do the research to find a top vet.