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libby-at-home

bad accident...

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hi all...I haven't been around here for a few years, but anyway...

 

My border collie/aussie, Sophie, has been in a terrible car accident. She opened the truck door when my husband was in the hardware store on a busy Saturday, and when she couldn't find him in the shop, got scared when an employee tried to grab her, and ran out a different door..she was lost for two days, during which time we searched almost all the time we weren't sleeping etc. It was the worst nightmare I have experienced in a while... She got hit by a car, and the humane society picked her up, phoned us, and took her to the vet. That was two weeks ago now...

 

She has a collapsed lung, that is slowly stabilizing, a HUGE gash on her hip (40 staples to close) a massive hematoma on her chest that has just opened up in a small area and is starting to drain a little, and a serious shoulder problem(which is what I am hoping to get some advice on)...She spent 4 days at the original vet, and then we moved her to an excellent Critical care vet who saved her life. She was there another three days, and now she has been slowly recovering at home. She was on intravenous anti-biotics, had a couple of pain patches, now at home liquid pain killers( actually finished for a few days now) , and two anti-biotics. I am feeding her a high protein diet supplemented with a canine vitamin 2x per day along with a 1/2 c yogurt with live cultures.

 

Her staples come out on Friday. The vet said she might have a torn muscle in the front shoulder but he didn't think anything there was broken. Yesterday I lifted her down from the bed and I heard her shoulder make a clicking noise. The swelling has pretty well all gone down now, so thats why I figure this is just showing up now. Today I have very gently moved the leg and shoulder and it sticks and makes a clicking noise. There seems to be no muscle tone in the shoulder compared to the other one. She doesn't whine at all when I do this, though I have only tried it twice very carefully. She does hobble around quite well during the day to go out in the yard with me for potty breaks. Her staples come out on Friday, and so will be talking to the vet then, but I'm wondering....

 

Does anyone have any insight on what might be wrong with her shoulder?? I'd appreciate any advice.

 

And Yes, my husband and I have had some pretty serious talks about him forgetting to lock the truck door...but I figure all the checks he is writing to the vet will speak loudest of all....

 

thanks in advance...

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No expertise to offer here - just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about your troubles, but glad to hear that Sophie is on the mend - lucky dog.

 

Do you have access to an orthopedic specialist vet? If so, I'd probably be asking for a referral.

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I have no expertise either - but wanted to say that I hope she gets well soon. I can't imagine how you must have felt. And she is a lucky dog to have you.

(I don't mean to preach at all - especially at a time like this, but was Sophie loose in the truck ? If so, you might want to think about getting her in a crate or seatbelt - not just to stop her getting out if someone forgets to lock the door, but to protect her and you if ( God forbid ), you should ever be in an accident. They do happen... If you normally do have her restrained in the truck, then I am sorry to have mentioned it here.)

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I hope she gets well also.

 

Does her shoulder lock? It sounds like tissue in the shoulder, not just the muscle, is torn and the nerves are dead. If this is the case, the only option I know of is surgery to repair the damaged portions, but its very unlikely she'll have feeling there again.

 

My knee does something like that (not happy with insurance co, but that's another tyraid :mad: ). You could hope for the best, that time will heal it, but I think you should talk to the vet.

 

Sorry, I know its not good news, but its all I can do without more info :rolleyes:

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I would figure out a way to do water therapy. Bellingham doesn't have a facility but perhaps you can create a small one somehow at home. I would ask about physical therapy, a good vet will have ideas on this. I am sorry to hear about your dog. She is lucky to be alive.

Caroline

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Thanks for the good wishes. On the Sunday night- early monday morning before we found her, I had gotten into such a horrible state of mind from worry and knowing that she was terrified I could hardly function at all. There was one sighting early Monday and we went there and called until I got a bad nosebleed....Thankfully she was found an hour later...heading for a HUGE park/wooded area.

 

It doesn't seem like her shoulder locks, she has even been jogging around a tiny little. I don't think it gives her a lot of pain. It just did this clicking sound. I know at first they mentioned that the bundle of nerves in the shoulder could have been damaged, which they said would mean amputation, but I'm pretty sure we are past that point now..

 

And yes, I am about to get a seat belt harness for her. She has severe crate anxiety.

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Not sure if it means anything, but my husband's knees have been making a clicking sound - occasionally - ever since I met him in 1964.

 

His knees did keep his bicycle racing (as a veteran) career to only 2 years. But we still take 20+ mile tandem rides Saturday & Sunday. And he runs regularly.

 

So, while a click probably indicates a problem, it may not be a very serious one. If that's all she ends up with, she's one lucky pup!

 

Gee, it must have been a nightmare for all of you.

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Not sure if it is at all the same thing, but my cat (9 yo male) has recently developed a "clicking" in his right shoulder when he walks. I took him to the vet and after tests they couldn't find anything wrong with him and since my cat doesn't appear to be in any pain from it, nor does it seem to affect his daily movements/routine, the vet has chalked it up to the "creakiness of old age".

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Sorry to hear about the accident - even the best-run household can have a freak event (does your dog HAVE opposable thumbs? I'm very impressed with the opening-the-door thing. And a little scared.) Anyway, I'm glad you got your girl back - that's hideously stressful for all concerned.

 

As for the shoulder, if you haven't already re-checked and gotten "real" info from someone who can actually see her, popping or grinding in a joint is referred to as crepitus and there are numerous possible causes. I understand that she's hobbling around, but is she lame specifically on that leg? (this may be hard to tell if she has multiple limb lamenesses). If you have restriction of range of movement, you could have stricture or contracture of the soft tissues, or you might have a chip or small fracture in joint, or possibly even a subluxation. Spinal and shoulder Xrays might help you shake this out, if those have not already been taken. Shoulder films are generally taken under anesthesia, so in her case it might need to wait til she's more stable (the collapsed lung could be an issue.) Also, positioning can be tricky - sometimes even fairly significant lesions will be invisible without careful obliquing or rotation of the joint. If it's available to you, MRI might be a better imaging option. Ultrasound or the joint and associated soft tissues can also be done, as can an arthrogram (injecting contrast medium into the joint capsule to outline the structures.)

 

If she has neurologic injury to the limb, that may be temporary or permanent. Nerves regenerate at about 1 mm per day at best, so on a long nerve that can be months of recovery. However, while I emphasise I cannot see her or diagnose her over the 'net, I have to say your description (including trotting around) does not sound to me as if she has brachial plexus avulsion. Usually those dogs show knuckling, difficulty in correctly placing or advancing the paw or limb, and/or a dropped limb (people often mistake this on first glance for a broken leg.) A brachial plexus AVULSION (where the nerves are torn off the spinal cord) is a non-recoverable (but also non-painful) injury; however, neuropraxia, which is stretching of the nerves without disrupting the nerve cell body, may end in partial or complete recovery. If you have injury of fewer nerves (the brachial plexus involves seven major nerves, and you might undergo injury of only some of them, or you can have injury of other nerves not in that plexus), you may have partial signs; for instance, if you have injury of the nerves to the muscles of the shoulderblade (a condition called "sweeny", for some reason, from the horse industry, where it is found sometimes in draft animals), you can have slackness of the associated muscles which might ultimately result in muscle atrophy. However, the decreased muscle tone may be for another reason - you may still have enough edema in the area that it's deceptive; and/or if she's sore on that side she may be holding the limb limp to avoid discomfort; and/or if she's using the opposing limb more heavily to spare the sore one, it may be that you have normal muscle tone in the injured leg, but INCREASED tone in the opposing limb. This is something you have to answer with someone how can actually put their hands on the dog.

 

The thing that concerns me about the lameness issues at the moment is the "sticking" effect. Plenty of animals have minor crepitus without it being any functional impairment, and may have little or no pain with it - but generally those animals have smooth motion of the joint and no restiction on range of motion. If there is a chip (cartilage or bone) she may not have pain unless she is weight-bearing on that limb, and it might be intermittent and variable, depending on position. If she had a torn ligament or tendon, I'd expect increased laxity of the joint, in general, not decreased (in the early stages at least), plus these are generally quite uncomfortable even while being manipulated WITHOUT weight-bearing). Later you can have restriction as the tissues tighten down.

 

Swimming (hydrotherapy) is a good thought for rehab. We have a facility up here which does that and reports good results. They're used pretty heavily by the surgical specialists to rehab orthopedic cases and spinal (neurologic) cases.

 

Anyway, hope that helps, and good luck with that.

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Hey Doc - it is sooo cool to 'hear' you again, Hope you and the furry ones are fine.

 

Sorry for the little hijack, Libby - it's just that it's nice to 'see' old friends again.

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I was REALLY hoping you were still around, AKdogdoc....thanks for the info. We are heading over to the vet in about 45 min, so now at least I can have a better idea what he is telling me.

 

As for the opposable thumb, well, I think it is only us lesser species who need them. HaHa Actually we had just purchased two days before an older Suburban that has a very loose/easy opening door handle, which we really hadn't even noticed. Now I guess I'm going to go over all our vehicles and house doors and check out what each situation is, though Sophie usually knows her boundries very well...

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Hi Libby...

 

Just read about your girl. How scary and upsetting that must have been for you! Heck.. I know how I panicked when mine made it thru our gate when we were moving into our new house and wandered the neighborhood for an hour. :eek: I can't imagine 2 days and to have her injured as well.

 

Please keep us posted on her well-being. What did your trip to the vet uncover?

 

I hoping she is continuing to progress well.

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well.....

 

the vets assistent took out the staples on Friday. Sophie had popped one staple, so there is about a 1" opening that is healing from the inside out. The rest of the wound looks great.She is still on two antibiotics. The vet wants to see her again on Monday and maybe diagnose the shoulder which is still extremely sore/lame. She seems to have a really hard time moving slowly, but once she limbers up a bit, it seems to do a little better.She is mostly quite reluctant to move from behind the couch except for potty, time to eat, and if someone comes to the door, in which case she comes out like a roaring fury. I have taken her her favorite park a few times, where we fly kites. She seemed to perk up a little then-pricking up her ears etc. instead of acting so depressed.

 

One thing I am really worried about is the emotional impact this whole thing has had on her. She just isn't the same dog at all. She had a very sensitive and shy nature from when we got her at 7 wks, and had a problem with separation anxiety,and submissive peeing which things we have been able to work with very well and we had helped her to really come out of her shell. She was pretty well able to function normally in every instance. She was such a happy dog, and had become so confident and responsive. She had been able to over come many fears through taking Agility classes.But now it is like she had never progressed at all x 10.I am really worried. Will she ever be the old Sophie??? Can dogs have a nervous breakdown?? Will she ever be able to emotionally recover from this???

I guess it is back to square one with the positive training methods, which is ok for me and the rest of the family, I just feel SO SORRY for her....

 

Should I alow her to stay camped out behind the couch, or should I insist that she comes out and interact with the family? When I call her to come out she just looks at me and then looks away, which is simply a direct refusal. Usally I never allow her to do that, but gently and quietly insist she does what I ask her. Should I do that still??

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I'm not sure if she'll ever be the same, chances are she will never be the same though. As for her hiding behind the couch, Kellie does that when she's in pain. I wouldn't force her out, but give her lots of praise and gentle attention when she does.

 

Its been 5 months since Bandit died, and Kellie still isn't the same. She's making some progress, but the shock of losing her best friend has definately taken its toll. Don't know if that helps, but it might give you an idea.

 

That's the best I got right now. Poor little girl :rolleyes:

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Hi Libby

 

I would guess that Sophie is still pretty shocked and traumatized by the whole deal - and given that she seems to be basically a sensitive rather than robust and resilient dog by nature, it's probably having more of an impact on her. She's probably also in some pain - is she on any pain meds? Is your vet open to discussion of complementary therapies?

 

Just a thought about the couch thing. I would guess that for Sophie it's her den - and she's doing what dogs would naturally do, holing up in her den while she doesn't feel good. I know you said that Sophie has crate anxiety - but I'm wondering if this wouldn't be a good time to try again - maybe you might be able to convince her that a crate is her den. I would try a crate (maybe different style from what you've tried before) - door open - in behind the couch, if you could organize that.

 

I wouldn't be trying to compel her to interact with family at this stage. Give her a bit more time to get physically better. I think taking her for quiet walks is fine - especially since you said she seems to perk up at the park and kite-flying.

 

Sounds like you've worked through a lot of issues with this little girl already - and I'm sure those methods will work again - and probably more quickly this time, as you'll have confidence that they work.

 

Thinking on the run here, I would probably investigate stuff like T-Touch, Bowen therapy, or just ordinary massage - maybe checking with your vet as to what is appropriate for her. T Touch slow circles can be quite calming and relaxing - and stuff like ear work can be very pleasant for dogs - helps my anxious boy to relax some.

 

It's horrible to see them feeling bad, but it's probably important for you not to let her see you feel bad for her - if you see what I mean.

 

Keep us posted.

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updated diagnosis for Sophie!

 

the Vet did a hands on exam, and re-examined the previous xrays of her left front shoulder.

 

He feels like the muscle tore away from the shoulder, along with a small piece/chip of bone. Now that the hematoma has shrunk, we can feel the muscle lump. Rather than attempt another surgery ( and another $2000)which has only a 20% chance of success, he wants to see if the muscle will heal and re-attach/regrow on its own. If there isn't a dramatic change by Thanksgiving, then we wil re-evaluate. Sophie needs to be kept very quiet, with slow walks so there can be healing.

 

Caroline-

 

Bellingham Vet Critical Care has a canine hydro-therapy pool!! We may begin to use it once we have some more healing.

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What a horrible time you two are going through... my heart goes out to you both.

 

The pool would most likely be very beneficial for her, so do give it a try if you can.

 

In regards to her hiding behind the couch, think of how you would deal with a child with a similar personality who has had a traumatic experience. Some withdrawal can benefit a person and probably a dog too, but too much withdrawal is unhealthy. People and dogs both need to face reality and face their fears also.

 

You have experience together in this way, so I'm confident that working with her as you did previously will have a good impact on her emotional outlook. She could very well be emotionally scarred from her experience to a degree that there are permanent setbacks, but I think at least most of them can be overcome with time and patience.

 

Perhaps a crate with the door propped open and a blanket over it would provide an alternative safe place for her that she would accept. I wouldn't push too much if she's against it though - that would be counterproductive in this situation.

 

I would reassure her but not coddle her, and work on building her confidence level back up again. I have a feeling you will know what to do.

 

I hope ALL of her wounds heal as fully as possible. Love and hugs from my home to yours.

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