A long way from home; a long road to recovery.
One fine Saturday at the start of March, James and his dog Tilly, a 4 year old terrier-whippet cross, set out in the car from mid Wales to visit James’ sister in Birmingham. On arrival, Tilly was taken out of the car to relieve herself. Two large and powerful dogs which happened to be passing, pulled their leads out of the hands of the child who was holding them and set upon Tilly. James rushed her into the nearest vets, which happened to be us.
It was immediately apparent that Tilly’s injuries were pretty severe. There were many many bite wounds and severe bruising along both of her front legs, under her chest and abdomen and into her thighs also. Mercifully, her neck had been spared and none of the bites had penetrated her chest or abdomen, which would probably have been fatal.
However, she was completely unable to bear weight on either front leg; her left leg had an obvious break with the broken bone end protruding through the skin. She was immediately admitted for pain relief, to splint the leg, to clean the wounds and to take X-rays to establish the full extent of the injuries.
The X-rays revealed that the reason she was unable to stand on either of her front legs was that there was also break in her right elbow, a small but vital piece of bone to which the triceps tendon (at the back of the elbow) attaches having been broken off too. Thankfully, Tilly was an amazingly calm patient.
Despite her dreadful injuries, she seemed to realize that we were trying to help her and never even lifted a lip to us, even though she must have been extremely sore. Having sustained such injuries, she was certainly not going to be in any state to be transported back to Wales for treatment, so it was decided to allow her the rest of the weekend to recover from the worst of her trauma before giving her an anaesthetic. On the Monday, we repaired the left leg using a metal plate and screws; the elbow was repaired using a screw and wire the following day, as we felt that trying to repair both legs at the same time would have needed a dangerously long anaesthetic.
After a couple of further nights’ convalescence with James’ sister, Tilly was finally ready for the trip home. James kept us updated on her progress, e-mailing photos of Tilly and also the follow-up X-rays taken by her own vets so that we knew how she was getting on.
There were no major complications and we understand she continued to be a model patient.
Now, finally, in July, she is able to walk up to 3-4 miles per day.