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Accidents --- Injuries --- unfortunately, they do happen to the working dog.
At some time in a working dog's life, accidents and/or injuries do occur.
Some are severe, some are not. Broken teeth seem to be at the top of the
list. Second would be bruises, pulled ligaments and tendons, lacerations
and just plain old ouches. Leg injuries, including breaks are among the
injuries that do occur and unfortunately, sometimes death. Sometimes no
matter how careful you are, or how well trained your dog is --- accidents,
injuries and death occurs.
We have had some unfortunate accidents in the past. Nothing prepared
us for Guy's accident. Hopefully, we will never have another dog that has
to endure such a severe injury.
Heel Nippin' Maguyak - "Guy" - (Eon Rico X Eon M'Naughten Rule)
It is March 7, 2003 -- Guy is our star pupil. He never complains and just
does whatever you ask. His drive to work and intelligence is outstanding.
He will go where no dog has gone before! Unfortunately, it gets him into
trouble....lots of trouble. If the accident is there...he will find it. We watch
him closely and he is always with us. Just a few times that he lagged
behind, he found "the accident waiting to happen".
I would not trade Guy for a million dollars. He is a wonderful dog. His work
ethics are impeccable.
Here is his story:
Guy was whelped April 25, 2002. From the start, he was a fearless
explorer. At 3 wks old, he could climb like a monkey. He wanted to "go". It
didn't matter where, he just wanted to go with us.
When he was 9 weeks old, he found a Copperhead. He tried to herd the
snake and was baffled as to why it refused to move. He learned real quick
that the long coiled up rope looking thing --- bites! A shot of "Dex",
Benadryl gel caps (2 every 4 hours) and a trip to the vet --- he was fine.
You would think that would stop his exploring, not in the least bit. If he
couldn't get his nose in it, he'd stick his head in it. He has caused a few,
many actually, gray hairs on my head.
At 17 weeks old, while following closely behind, we rounded one corner
of the barn as two other Kelpies were rounding the other corner and
spooked the otherwise non-afraid-of-anything horses. Before I could grab
Guy, we were both ran over. He did not fair well. His leg was broken in
two places at the humerus and radius. He spent the next day at the vet
clinic after having surgery. Thanks a million to Dr. Rick Bennett, he pinned
the humerus as it was a very thin hair line from being a compound
A couple of weeks went by and his injured front leg started taking on an
odd shape. After more radio-graphs, it was found that the trauma of the
accident caused the distal ulnar physis to close prematurely (growth
plate), thus causing the ulna to stop growing. This was not good, because
the radius continued to grow and a right forelimb valgus deformity at the
carpus developed. The leg was taking a "bow" shape.
Dr. Bennett recommended him to Texas A&M University Veterinary
Medical Teaching Hospital for surgery to correct the deformity
Post surgery June 28, 2002
Guy's right humerus and radius were fractured on August 22, 2002.
Surgical fixation with an intramedullary pin was performed and the
humerus successfully healed. Dr. Rick Bennett performed the surgery and
we thank him tremendously for that.
Radio-graph taken presurgery November 20, 2002
The radius continued to grow, while the ulna had stopped. The bow is
obvious in the picture. This also caused a luxation of the elbow.
Hinged Ilizarov External Ring Fixator
On December 03, 2002, attending Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. W. Daniel
Mertens, Texas A&M University Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, after
a physical examination and diagnostic tests, he recommended that Guy
would be a good candidate for surgical repair with an External Ring Fixator
device to slowly lengthen and straighten the leg.
The 15 degree external rotation of the radius was acutely corrected during
surgery and the External Ring Fixator was attached.
It was our responsibility to turn the nuts on the motor and on the hinges
twice daily. The Fixator was wrapped to ensure that Guy didn't catch it on
Another view of the External Ring Fixator
Heavy gauge wire and pins were used to hold the Fixator in place. Since
Guy's right elbow was luxated, a wire was used to hold the elbow in correct
Ulna being held in place
A wire held the ulna in place. The wire was removed on December 17, 2002.
Guy post operative (12/03/2002)
This is Guy after surgery with the External Ring Fixator attached.
December 31, 2002
The rings on the Fixator are parallel and no further adjustments were
Guy's limb appeared to be much straighter than the recheck on December
17. He still was not bearing weight on the limb. Range of motion in the
carpus was much improved. Physical therapy was still needed to improve
the range of motion and limit the contracture of his muscles.
Notice the separation of the ulna and radius. Bone regeneration formation
is evident. Within a few weeks the bone will be regenerated and
successfully healed. He had to wear the Fixator until the bone had
January 22, 2003/Day of removal
Guy was bearing more weight on the limb than previous visits. His carpal
extension seemed to be improving.
Radio-graphs showed regeneration of bone formation and normal limb
alignment. The healing was sufficient for Fixator removal.
We still had to restrict exercise for three more weeks.
Without the surgery, Guy would have been crippled for the rest of his life. At some
point, he would have to have the elbow surgically repaired.
Several people, including other Kelpie breeders, asked why we would spend so
much time and effort on a "dog"? Guy isn't just a "dog". His work ethics are
impeccable, his intelligence is overwhelming, his temperament and drive are
outstanding. He deserved to be treated with respect and given a chance to reach
his full potential.
We are deeply grateful to Dr. Bennett and Dr. Mertens. Without Dr. Bennett's
guidance and Dr. Mertens surgical saving grace, Guy would not be able to continue
his herding career.
UPDATE: Guy is now retired. In January 2005, he broke his foot, on the 'good' leg.