Insert tape – Rewind – Repeat
Same story. Different angle.
We are one step closer to the end of this broken paw bone saga. It amazes me that something as innocuous as jumping off furniture can lead to a long, drawn out set of events. Breaking a toe bone was surprising enough. Requiring surgery to get Phoebe back on all fours was an even larger surprise. With that, I am not surprised about the latest twist in the story.
The surgery to remove the bone fragments went fine and we are on the homeward stretch. Total recovery time was expected to be about six weeks. The incision would heal a lot quicker, but the splint has to stay on a bit longer to allow the tendon that once held the bone to heal properly.
The good news is that Phoebe has far more freedom. The only restrictions are to avoid jumping and to keep her on a leash when we go outside. Other than that, she can walk freely about the house and do things at her own pace. The bad news is that the means for allowing the tendon to heal creates an environment ripe for bacteria growth.
Problem with Long-Term Splint / Bandage Wear
Last week, Phoebe started hobbling around and would not put any weight on it at all – walking, sitting or lying down. When the vet checked Phoebe’s paw, she saw that the surgery incision was infected. It was pretty much unavoidable since the wound was not given any time to dry. The vet prescribed Clavamox, increased the pain medication a bit, and increased the frequency of bandage changes to every three or four days.
It would be great to be able to change the bandage at home, but we need to be sure her foot it splinted in the proper position for healing the tendon. That means, we get to take Phoebe to the vet a few times a week.
At our last appointment, the infection was about 80% better, and the sutures are almost ready to come out. Still, she needs the splint for another three weeks or so. Before her surgery, we were able to keep Phoebe’s splint intact for over two weeks. It was a good thing because it meant that she was not overusing her foot. It was a bad thing because moisture between her toes built up and caused an infection between the toes.
Ahhhh – it is like a vicious cycle.
Still, we are on the homeward stretch. From now until the tendon is healed, we are just going to drop Phoebe off at the vet in the morning and pick her up in the afternoon. That will give the vet time to leave the splint off, give the foot some air and ideally result in an uneventful ending to this chapter of Phoebe’s life.
Is there a lesson here? Maybe, though nothing I have control over.
The only advice I can offer here is that if your dog ever needs a splint, be sure to get the bandage changed at least once a week, even if everything is in good shape. If your dog does not need a splint, then you can change it at home more frequently.
With any luck this will all be over soon and I can do the round-up list of the lessons we learned. I am sure that many good things came out of this experience I just don’t see them yet.