In June we had a Poodle Mix in our care at the San Jose Animal Care Center that had a peg leg. Essentially the dog’s right hind leg was not able to bend in a normal way so it just stuck out and got in the way and impeded her mobility.
Although there is no way to know this dog’s history, we believed that this dog had fractured the femur on the right hind leg and it was not given swift and proper care, resulting in what is known as quadriceps contracture.
The following is what the Merck Veterinary Manual has to say about the condition:
“Quadriceps Contracture (Quadriceps Tie-Down, Stiff Stifle Disease)
This serious fibrosis and contracture of the quadriceps muscles develops secondary to distal femoral fractures, inadequate surgical repair, and excessive dissection in young dogs. Adhesions develop between the bone, periosteal tissue, and quadriceps muscles, which lead to limb extension, disuse, osteoporosis, degenerative joint disease, and bone and joint deformations. Clinical signs include hyperextension and cranial displacement of the affected limb. Surgery is usually required to resect fibrous tissues and increase motion of the stifle joint. Bone and soft-tissue reconstructions along with postoperative flexion bandages and physical therapy are required to recover limb function. Prognosis is guarded. Prevention of the condition by accurate, biologic stable repairs of bone fractures is preferred.
While there are options available to treat animals with femur fractures so as to minimize or eliminate the risk of quadriceps contracture, it can happen fast (within a day) and be permanent! Fast surgical correction of the fracture paired with rehabilitation is often the key to preventing it from happening. If you are looking for a rehabilitation facility in your area, please visit the Canine Rehab Institute’s page and select Find a Therapist.
Unfortunately, this dog was not so lucky and had been living with this leg for who knows how long.
The only option for this dog was surgery to amputate the burdensome leg.
In the following two photos you can see abnormal positioning of the dog’s right hind leg. This is particularly evident when the leg is manipulated in the second photo but does not bend in a normal way, but rather remains locked.
An adorable 12-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel came to us at San Jose Animal Care & Services with multiple problems.
The most obvious problem was the large mass that was on the front right of her chest. Though her long locks covered and concealed much of her body, we also found another mass on her belly and a large umbilical hernia. Like many Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, this little girl also had a heart murmur.
A rescue organization saw past her age, heart murmur, lumps and bumps, and agreed to find her a forever home. Read the rest of this entry
One of the things I love about shelter medicine is the ability of a shelter and its staff to take an animal that would easily be overlooked or considered for euthanasia and give them a chance to heal and get a second shot at life.
There are many animals that come into the shelter broken, malnourished or with various medical concerns that need to be addressed. Oftentimes we become so enveloped in caring for the animal that we forget to recognize how far the animal has come in its recovery. We often think back to the grainy image stored in our memory of the animal when it first arrived in our care but have no actual image to reflect back on to remind us and show others how much of a difference we made. That is why I am going to make a concerted effort to take photographs of animals early on in their treatment so that I can share with you the many success stories that we see in animal shelters.
To start off the Before & After series, it is only appropriate that I share the story of Vinnie.