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Broken Toe - Please Help


Guest vcuhockeygirl77
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Guest vcuhockeygirl77

Hi Please Help me on my decision! My 4 year old Kona was running in the yard and broke her toe on the rear leg, the outer toe. She broke the toe in two places, one more severe than the other. My vet's idea was that the bones were still in line and we should splint the toe and allow it to heal for a few weeks and re-splint every two weeks and taking new Xrays to determine the how bones are healing. I also contacted the adoption agency where we got her last year. The doctor at the adoption agency suggested after seeing the Xrays that it needs to be amputated. I was a little shocked because I thought that was extreme. I thought - why not give it a chance to heal, who cares if it might be crooked? So I went ahead and bought a really nice splint for her and our plan was to try to splint it to see if it heals on it's own but I wanted to see if anyone else has been in this same situation and/or has some insight. If it's more humane to just amputate the toe and give her a shorter healing time, I'd like to know. I can try to share the Xrays with the forum too, not sure if I can. THANK You for any help!!!!

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Guest Doggone

I'm not in the position to give any medical advice, just my opinion if it should happen to Autumn: I would try the non-surgical remedy first, instead of subjecting her to anesthesia and surgery :(. It sounds as if it's an "elective" operation, and IMHO, opting to avoid putting her through it would always win!

But as I said, that just MHO :).

Good luck whatever you decide :)

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Guest vcuhockeygirl77

Thank you Doggone, I agree with you completely! I was shocked when they told me at the greyhound adoption clinic they would say to amputate! I asked them then, what splint would you recommend if I decided to splint, and their response was "We don't splint". Well that to me is a little ridiculous then because, they aren't giving the dogs a chance to heal!

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The problem is that trying to heal toe injuries can be a nightmare. The dog can re-injure the toe just walking--let alone playing the way greyhounds play. And splinting can cause more trouble as the split rubs on the injured toe or the toe next to it. It's nothing to do with healing crooked; it's a matter of healing at all while splinted. Meanwhile, dogs often heal easily from an amputation.

 

I'm not advising you either way--just trying to give you the adoption group's point of view. If they've tried healing/splinting toes and had to deal with the complications, I can understand why they'd go straight to an amputation. You don't want to put your girl through lots of limited activity with splinting, then wind up having to amputate anyway.

 

And Kona will have to be on restricted activity for longer if you try to heal the break than if you amputate. That's something to keep in mind, along with how patient your girl will be with limited activity.

 

Ask your vet how likely Kona is to reinjure the splinted toe. And if you go with splinting, be sure to pad the splint well--between toes and everywhere else. If the whole foot is bandaged, Kona will need padding between all her toes because the splint may make her put her foot down differently, so that one toenail will rub on the neighboring toe. Allow for frequent--even daily--bandage changes in the beginning--mostly to check to see that the splint isn't causing a problem under those bandages.

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Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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I splinted Wren after she dislocated her outside toe on her left rear foot back in February (I work as a tech person at a vet hospital). I knew the risk of splinting a greyhound (they get pressure sores so easily under a bandage) but thought that since I would be doing daily bandage changes, I would be able to avoid the difficulty. Well, I saw one pressure sore forming on the outside of her foot and compensated for it, but missed the one on the inside of her foot and didn't spot it until probably two days after it started forming. Four months later, the sore has STILL not healed, despite suturing it twice, and applications of honey bandages, laser treatment, collasate gel, and anything else we could think of. We're currently giving her a course of antibiotics while we try laser, collasate, and daily bandage changes... but I'm not sure we're making any progress. *sigh*

 

In short, my advice is to not splint it, and particularly, do not let them splint it and change the bandages only every two weeks. If you have to splint it, then I would do bandage changes every 2-3 days, at a minimum. If I could have a do-over, I would not have splinted her foot, and just amputated the toe if it had continued to dislocate. My girl Carrie had a middle toe on her back foot amputated; she recovered and was feeling great within two days after the surgery (after we removed the fentanyl patch that was making her feel sick).

Deanna with galgo Willow, greyhound Finn, and DH Brian
Remembering Marcus (11/16/93 - 11/16/05), Tyler (2/3/01 - 11/6/06), Frazzle (7/2/94 - 7/23/07), Carrie (5/8/96 - 2/24/09), Blitz (3/28/97 - 6/10/11), Symbra (12/30/02 - 7/16/13), Scarlett (10/10/02 - 08/31/13), Wren (5/25/01 - 5/19/14),  Rooster (3/7/07 - 8/28/18), Q (2008 - 8/31/19), and Momma Mia (2002 - 12/9/19).

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Splinting very rarely works. That's why the vet at your adoption group recommended amputation.

 

Are you willing to ONLY leash walk her for every potty break and every exercise break for up to six months?

Can you imagine her not being able to BE off-leash and on restricted activity for that long?

Bandage changes need to be every 2-3 days at minimum. Can you do them yourself or will you need to go into the vet every other day for up to six months?

What will you do if she does develop pressure sores (because she probably will)?

And there's no guarantee that the breaks will heal, even with the best possible care. If they do heal, that toe is in line for further complications down the road from arthritis, bony overgrowth and other things.

 

Aside from the anesthesia risks - which every owner has to evaluate on an individual basis - toe amp surgery is relatively minor. She broke an outside toe, so there's no question of weight bearing or not. Two weeks after surgery, she'll likely be completely healed, and a couple weeks after that, she'll be back to playing and running like normal. Greyhounds do extremely well following toe amps, provided there are no complications. Many greyhounds even continue their racing careers following a toe amp.

 

At our groups annual spa day last weekend, I probably clipped nails on 20 dogs. About 1/4 of them were missing one toe or another, and one dog only had two toes on one back foot. It's pretty common.

 

Not trying to scare you or anything - only you can make this decision - but we've seen many, many owners come here asking the same question. You can do a search and find all the threads about broken toes. Many who have chosen to try and heal their dog's toes have to end up amputating anyway. They've spent months on bandage changes and vet care and antibiotics from infected sores (and the money for all of that), only to see no positive results.

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

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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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When Buck broke his toe my vet also refused to splint. He said splinting is a big pain and transfers pressure further up the leg. Buck was just on light duty for several weeks - no where near 6 months - more like 8 weeks but healed fine. Buck and Buddy both came to me missing toes.

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I know how scary and shocking it is to hear amputation. I was in the same state of mind as you 1 year ago and if I could do it all over I would amputate immediately. Slick hurt his toe running in the back yard as well and we tried for 5 months to 'save' the toe. During that time we had to leash walk him, keep him from playing and jumping, stop him from licking, mostly keep him in an e-collar, change bandages, make countless trips to the vet for repairs and rechecks. Slick was so unhappy during all of this, he wanted nothing more than to run in the yard with his sister. We finally agreed to the amputation and it was amazing how fast he healed. Today, he runs like the wind and is happier than ever. I really want to urge you to do the amputation and save yourself the time and money and save Kona the misery.

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I would amputate. Rainy had her for splinted for 3 days for a sprained for before her leg ballooned up. It was in to tight and even with gauze between every toe she has soars already. Took me over an hour to gently cut all that vet wrap off. We healed her sprain just by keeping her quiet for 7 months.

 

I would really think twice before splinting any of my hounds again.

------

 

Jessica

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When Buck broke his toe my vet also refused to splint. He said splinting is a big pain and transfers pressure further up the leg. Buck was just on light duty for several weeks - no where near 6 months - more like 8 weeks but healed fine. Buck and Buddy both came to me missing toes.

 

 

Yes. Six months is a worst case scenario time frame. If you do decide to not amputate, I would do as Pam did - no splint, and *strict* leash walking only. It might heal fine.

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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Not amputating is more for the human than the dog. The dog will do just fine without the toe and once recovered, 6 weeks or so you won't see any difference in him. The dog doesn't care that the toe is gone.

 

If you leave the toe the time to heal will be about the same, but the chance of reinjury or it bothering him for the rest of his life or having to go through the amp is a possibility.

 

Not every toe should be taken off because of a break, but this one sounds bad enough that you should seriously consider it.

 

In a dog that is still racing and has an amp about 6 to 8 weeks and he is racing again.

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Guest jmckeone

Thanks everyone for the replies. My wife and I have a big decision to make but we are leaning towards amputation. As you can see from this xray the break is pretty bad.

 

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*nod* With that kind of displacement of the fractured bone, I personally would opt for the amputation.

Deanna with galgo Willow, greyhound Finn, and DH Brian
Remembering Marcus (11/16/93 - 11/16/05), Tyler (2/3/01 - 11/6/06), Frazzle (7/2/94 - 7/23/07), Carrie (5/8/96 - 2/24/09), Blitz (3/28/97 - 6/10/11), Symbra (12/30/02 - 7/16/13), Scarlett (10/10/02 - 08/31/13), Wren (5/25/01 - 5/19/14),  Rooster (3/7/07 - 8/28/18), Q (2008 - 8/31/19), and Momma Mia (2002 - 12/9/19).

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