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Broken Hock


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Hi everyone. We've been offered the chance to adopt a rather nice brindle boy to complete our little pack. Temperament-wise he sounds great - quite submissive and relaxed, laid-back, 6 years old. He ran 69 races, won and placed in over half of them, but in his 69th race, he blew out his right rear hock.

 

His trainer took him home and has kept him as a pet. This was in January 2011. Originally they were going to put him to stud but this hasn't happened and now they'd like to find him a pet home.

 

I've seen video of him playing. He really doesn't seem to use the injured leg at all. He can take weight on it when cocking his leg, but zoomies tend to be happening on one hind leg only.

 

I have a few questions/ concerns. The main one is that according to his trainer, he hasn't done much walking since retirement. My girls get an hour's walk every morning of around 4kms, with a shorter walk in the afternoon and then a potty walk at night. They then sleep all day. She doubts that he could manage a longer walk but this is necessary for me because the dogs are left indoors during the day so they get tired out and sleep. He really would need to talk with us. Is this unrealistic?

 

My girls sleep on our bed through the day. His trainer thinks he's a sensible dog who won't try to join them because of this leg. Views on this?

 

Thanks.

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Was the injured leg fixed surgically? Most dogs with proper surgical fixation return to normal activity and use of the leg (not racing, but certainly activities like agility and just general walking/zoomies). Were there complications during his healing? The trainer knows his personality well but what does the dog's vet say?

 

Personally, for me, having a dog that can't physically handle anything more than a short walk wouldn't work in my home. Certainly if something comes up with one of the current dogs we would make adjustments and we would make it work... but I would never start there. Not for our active household anyway.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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Guest OPointyDog

If he isn't using the injured leg, then it's probably not fully healed! Most dogs I've met who had a hock that has healed use their leg. I wonder if the implants are bothering him, and he needs explant surgery to remove the hardware. I read somewhere that 50% of dogs who have implants have to have them removed later.

 

Here's our experience with a broken hock: Our girl Zoe also broke her hock, and had surgery at the track to have a pin and spring put in, and her leg was immobilized while it healed. Her adoption photo shows her in the cast. Eventually the hock healed and is now quite solid, but the pin and spring were either misplaced or came out of the bone, and they were penetrating into the soft tissue in her leg. Very painful, so she hopped and limped and didn't use the leg much. Our vet did x-rays after we adopted her and saw the problem wasn't with the hock but with the hardware, and sent us to an orthopedist, who did the surgery to remove the pin and spring. It's not a complicated surgery and doesn't take long for the leg to heal.

 

After that, her hock is solid and has healed well. She needed some physical therapy to build up the muscles in her back and leg from hopping for so long, but by now a year later, you would never know that she'd had surgery or broken anything at all, and she doesn't limp and uses the leg fully. She outruns our other dog all the time and goes for long walks.

 

Here's her timeline:

Broken Hock: November 2011

Surgery to repair: December 2011

Adopted out: March 2012

Surgery to remove hardware: April 2012

Physical therapy: June-August 2012

Walking/running normally: November/December 2012

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Guest OPointyDog

I would imagine that an exam by a knowledgeable vet would be able to tell you fairly quickly what the issue is with the leg. Ours could see the problem on the x-ray and that there was a good chance of full recovery.

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If this break if two+ years old, you may be limited in what sort of rehab is available. The most successful broken hock fixes, in my experience, happen as soon as possible after the break. And even if a surgical intervention is possible at this point, the risk is always there that it will never be 100%.

With Buster Bloof (UCME Razorback 89B-51359) and Gingersnap Ginny (92D-59450). Missing Pepper, Berkeley, Ivy, Princess and Bauer at the bridge.

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Guest OPointyDog

It may have been "fixed" though with surgery at the time, and then need an explant, which can happen at any time when the hardware becomes bothersome. The hock may be healed - but the hardware needs to come out. So finding out what was done at the time of the break is important.

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A broken, and fully healed, hock shouldn't be a reason a dog can't be a good companion pet. There sounds like something else may be going on here, either some hardware issue as pointed out above, or something else. An x-ray seems to be in order, along with a copy of his vet records.

 

Our girl Toni's career ended with a broken hock as well. It took most of a year (with some other challenges thrown in), but she is quite capable of running and walking long distances. This boy may need to have some PT and a chance to work up to your longer walking length, but he should be able to do it after a while. He also might need an nsaid to get him by longterm.

Edited by greysmom

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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A broken, and fully healed, hock shouldn't be a reason a dog can't be a good companion pet.

Certainly, they're still good pets. But I have had several broken leg dogs come through here and some really wouldn't tolerate an hour walk every day - and some would. But of course, without more information, it could be something simple... but my experience has been more often it's poorly healed and a long term management situation with non-use or severe limping years after the original injury.

Edited by BauersMom

With Buster Bloof (UCME Razorback 89B-51359) and Gingersnap Ginny (92D-59450). Missing Pepper, Berkeley, Ivy, Princess and Bauer at the bridge.

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I know someone who only adopts old hounds. The last one she adopted is 11 1/2 and had a broken hock. It was never fixed. They used her for brood and guess they figured she did not need it to produce puppies. Anyway, her foot points down and she does not put any weight on it. She just limps along.

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Certainly, they're still good pets. But I have had several broken leg dogs come through here and some really wouldn't tolerate an hour walk every day - and some would. But of course, without more information, it could be something simple... but my experience has been more often it's poorly healed and a long term management situation with non-use or severe limping years after the original injury.

I just realized this wasn't clear - IF you are seeing limping or non-use years after the original injury, it's more often a long-term situation that needs to be managed, not something that is an easy fix. I didn't mean to imply all broken legs result in limping, etc (I have seen some beautifully healed hocks!), which it sort of sounded like on the re-read.

With Buster Bloof (UCME Razorback 89B-51359) and Gingersnap Ginny (92D-59450). Missing Pepper, Berkeley, Ivy, Princess and Bauer at the bridge.

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More info got. After the injury, the vet plastered the leg. Apparently it was done too tightly and, when they returned after 6 weeks to have it removed, a second vet confirmed that it was the wrong thing to have done but that it was then too late to do more or that it would be expensive to do more. The owner couldn't afford vet care (so why have a dog in the first place????) and the trainer couldn't afford to spend $$$$$$ on someone else's dog. So he's been kept but the leg has been effectively untreated.

 

The trainer has said that if we take it slowly he might be able to build up to walking further in time but this hasn't been done yet.

 

I'm angry. At the owner who should have either given this dog a chance and paid for the necessary vet care (especially given that Rocky had paid his way) or made the tough decision 2 years ago, with the incompetence of the vet, and with myself for getting involved.

 

We are moving house and $$$$ for extra vet bills for a dog who should have been treated two years ago, will be difficult to find. Keep in mind that we can pay for any bills that do come in, but this one annoys.

 

Thoughts? At this stage he'll effectively be a tripod. He deserves a chance but wow! This is more than I expected.

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There are thousands of nice dogs available RIGHT THIS SECOND. Why take on one you already know you really can't afford? It's not like you know this dog, or have fallen in love with him.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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What a shame that they messed up his leg. :( That is all I will say about the situation.

 

My broken hock boy never had surgery, and it healed crooked. He's extremely active and romps and plays, and enjoys walks, just like my other hounds. But, he has a permanent limp. He gets x-rays every year at his checkup so that I can keep an eye on it. He is extremely arthritic and sometimes needs medications to help.

Edited by GreytHoundPoet
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The only one who can say what could/couldn't be done for the leg now would be a qualified orthopedic surgeon. And sometimes you want 2-3 opinions on that.

 

It's unfortunate that the dog's leg isn't (reportedly) in better condition, but it's really hard to know exactly what happened and what the expectations were. Did the first vet really make a mistake, or did the leg not respond as a reasonable vet might expect? Would complicated surgery at that point have been affordable for anybody? It likely isn't possible to know those answers definitively, and today they don't matter. What matters is the status of the leg right now, and without a qualified orthopedic opinion or 3, you can't really judge that.

 

Many but not all untreated/undertreated breaks can be improved with surgery later. That type of surgery and rehab may be beyond the means of even a dedicated pet owner. I would look into it for a pet of my own or one I was sponsoring. But many dogs live happy lives with a leg that is used chiefly as a kickstand ......

 

 

 

 

 

ETA: I can understand one's annoyance that maybe more could have been done earlier and wasn't. Just, you can drive yourself nuts with "what if" and "should have," and it doesn't get you anywhere but nuts, KWIM? BTDT more times than I like to admit.

Edited by Batmom

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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If the leg is bad enough that he doesn't use it much & it is a source of chronic pain then sometimes, depending on severity, it would be kinder to amputate. However, in that case one would also want to compare costs of amputation to that of possible repair/salvage surgery. If current pain is minimum & odds of improvement with surgery are low then you could adopt him, accepting him in his current condition & knowing that later amputation is a possibility.

 

Have had a few dogs who ended up costing a lot & required a lot of effort on my part. In the long run, they were worth every bit of it. One of them, the most expensive one where were quit keeping track of vet bills when it went into 5 digits, is the one I refer to as my favorite mistake. :) Yet, I will be honest with you. If someone had told me ahead of time what we were in for I would not have adopted them.

 

Sad situation & a tough decision.

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Thank you all. This is why I love this forum. No judgement but a lot of understanding of all sides! I'm going to sit down with DH and have a very long talk about it all. If he can manage being effectively a tripod it might be ok. He certainly seems happy and cheerful by all reports. But everyone is also right. There are thousands of other dogs out there needing homes who would also be right.

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Another update. This morning, the trainer leashed Rocky up and headed out for a 4km walk. Apparently he LOVED it. Became an absolute peeing machine and tried to take off after a mob of kangaroos on the side of the road. Made the distance with energy to spare. She's been thinking of him as this 'poor crippled dog' whereas he doesn't realize that that's what he is and lives life.

 

This is Good News. 😃

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If the leg is bad enough that he doesn't use it much & it is a source of chronic pain then sometimes, depending on severity, it would be kinder to amputate. However, in that case one would also want to compare costs of amputation to that of possible repair/salvage surgery. If current pain is minimum & odds of improvement with surgery are low then you could adopt him, accepting him in his current condition & knowing that later amputation is a possibility.

 

Have had a few dogs who ended up costing a lot & required a lot of effort on my part. In the long run, they were worth every bit of it. One of them, the most expensive one where were quit keeping track of vet bills when it went into 5 digits, is the one I refer to as my favorite mistake. :) Yet, I will be honest with you. If someone had told me ahead of time what we were in for I would not have adopted them.

 

Sad situation & a tough decision.

 

 

This might be something to add in to your considerations. An amp is major surgery, but two weeks later, and the pain is gone and he's got three good legs. My tripod - even with osteo - could run and play as much or more than he did before his surgery. A long walk wouldn't have been a problem for him, though he would have had to work up to it. You migth want to think about the one-time cost of amp surgery vs the on-going cost of meds/treatment/PT.

 

Plus, being a tripod does use up more energy. He likely wouldn't *need* that long a walk every day.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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