Satchmo's broken leg

Windpixie47

Post   » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:21 pm


The chewing is actually outside the splint area. He just had a splint change a couple of days ago--the rest of the leg looks great. I honestly think the last splint irritated him because they didn't put enough gauze on the top edge to keep it from chafing on the top edge. I also think they weren't so careful when they removed the paper tape, and I think they pulled out some of his hair. The scab didn't appear until after the last bandage change. They didn't use paper tape this time, thank goodness. His vet has been on vacation, so I'm hoping to see her again Friday. I may lobby for the rest of the healing without splinting. He's just such a baby and so darn frisky that I'm afraid he may re-injure himself. Any advice welcome!

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:26 pm


Um, that is the exact MO of a bandage problem. SO, that doesn't change a thing.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:23 pm


Ditto Josephine.

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gvstate01

Post   » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:25 pm


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Windpixie47

Post   » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:27 pm


So I called my vet's office and an exotics specialist 90 miles away. Neither got back to me, and I'm not sure I'd trust advice from the local one anyway. Is the best wisdom to wait until Thursday when my vet returns from vacation and ask for the splint to be removed?

I take your point about the risk of the splint--but there's risk to not splinting, too, right? Josephine, would you just remove it?

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:46 pm


Right. The easiest recovery is if the fracture was surgically repaired, either with a pin and/or external fixation. Or amputation. So, next best is splinting, but usually most people will minimally have the pet come back 1-2 times a week for follow-ups and with strict instructions to come in if anything changes. Self-mutilation is a change. Ideally, I would be the most comfortable if you had it rechecked today (or I guess we're into tomorrow now). If the bandage is constricting anything, a day is too long. Can you get a finger in it? Is there that much slack? Removing it altogether would be a last resort.... Well, I would do it, but I'm not a layperson and would not recommend a client do this at home. At this point, you are 100% at risk of undoing all the work you've already done with the callus. That would be bad, too.

Windpixie47

Post   » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:21 pm


The exotics vet called late last evening; she says there's waay more risk to removing the splint and that any infection can be dealt with. I will drive him down to her tomorrow (she's not open today). In the meantime, I have made four small cuts in the top of the splint to create gussets. I also dosed him with metacam last evening, and he is springing about alarmingly. Eating like, um, a pig, and chirping up a storm.

I talked to my sister about his behavior while she was watching him before the last splint change, and she believes (as I now do) that the last splint wore the hole in his skin/fur. The last splint had paper tape that stuck to his fur, and it was stiff enough to chafe. In looking at the degree of scabbing in 24 hours (no scab, just dried up a bit), the scab he picked off yesterday was at least 48 hours old. Possibly exacerbated when they removed the splint.

Since I swabbed it with colloidal silver last evening and cut the gussets, he hasn't touched the sore. So I now think the irritation was the scab getting itchy. I think he is feeling well enough to wait 24 hours for the exotics vet, and I have decided against taking him to the local vet today. I no longer have much confidence in the local vet!

Thanks for the input--I'll keep you posted...

Windpixie47

Post   » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:23 pm


Although experience will vary depending on the location and type of break, here's what I've learned now that I'm 3.5 weeks in to treating Satchmo's tib/fib fracture.

1.Not all splints are created equal: be persistent in getting one that is just large/tight enough to align the bone and provide support but not too big/tight to cause harm/discomfort. Splinting is as much art as science, and there is no method that results in a perfect splint every time. Last week I took Satchmo back three days in a row for do-overs until we got a splint that was comfortable for him.

2.Don't mess with success: Last week, the vet decided she wanted to do a splint change and an x-ray on Monday (yesterday). When she saw how well he was doing with the current splint, she recommended leaving things alone for a few more days. I absolutely should have made this decision myself, so thank goodness she came to the right conclusion.

3.Relentlessly advocate for your pig: When the second splint wore a hole in his skin, I assumed the worst—that he was self-mutilating. I later found out the techs had noted the sore in his chart and realized the splint caused it, but they failed to inform me. They also recommended taking him off pain reliever too early. Since then, I read them the riot act about not telling me about the sore (it is healed), and I negotiated a regular low dose of metacam I dispense (.05 ml—two drops—daily).

4.Listen to your pig: Satchmo told me when the splints weren't right, but it took me a while to figure out what he was saying. Fortunately, I heard him when he got a comfortable one!

Satchmo is doing really well. He has gained 37g in five days. He is completely back to normal personality. Last night he was doing wheelies around his pet store cage, and he even managed to jump up on his inverted cuddle cup to use it as a hammock (yikes). I changed things so he can't do that again, but I was glad to see him be his active, playful self! I'll post another update at the four-week mark.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:52 pm


Thanks for your advice! I hope future readers find your tips helpful.

Windpixie47

Post   » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:04 pm


Precisely four weeks post-injury, Satchmo's leg is now splint free. While this should be entirely blissful, it's actually painful! He has some inflamed skin that is very tender to the touch, and his ankle joint is very stiff and painful. Even the knee is a bit stiff from disuse. The x-ray looked pretty good (lots of new bone, no fracture margins visible), and so the vet believes the splint will cause more harm than good from here out.

He is on one week of severely restricted movement, so I now have him in a little carrier that is about 12x16 inches. Even so, he is trying to move around some, and I keep hearing him squeal in pain when he tweaks the ankle. This is quite distressing, because the vet said to eliminate the metacam to keep him from feeling too good and using his leg. I had been giving him .05 ml (two drops) up until a couple of days ago when he didn't seem to need it anymore. I just gave him one drop of metacam, in an effort to balance between feeling too good and too miserable. I held him with all pressure off the leg (kind of on his back) for about an hour, which seemed to help. He fell asleep briefly, even tho he normally hates being held that way. I am also putting a hot rice bag near him. Tomorrow I am supposed to begin very passive and gentle therapy on the ankle and knee.

Any advice on walking the pain/activity line would be welcome.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:59 pm


Poor little guy. That's an interesting idea (pain so he doesn't walk) but I agree with trying to relieve most of the pain. Thing is, he won't eat if he's in pain. I think you are trying to find a reasonable balance between the two. Glad to hear the break has mostly healed.

Windpixie47

Post   » Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:29 pm


48 hours post-splint:

The first day and a half, Satchmo was miserable and very confused about what to do with his leg. He was quiet the whole time and ate minimally. I did give him almost a full dose of metacam about 12 hours post-splint--he was just too miserable for words.

Last evening, he started chirping as much as usual, and he is moving about, expressing interest in escaping his confines. He now rests weight on the injured ankle. The first day I couldn't touch his knee or ankle without his protests. This morning in therapy (!), I worked the knee 20 times and the ankle 10. He did not cry out, although he was skeptical, especially about the ankle. I am more interested in the knee at this point, because that is above the injury and is only stiff because of the splint. His skin lesions are healing rapidly. Today he has not needed any metacam, and he is eating to make up for lost time. It is still too soon to tell how normally he will be able to use his leg. He sure is cheerful despite all he's been through!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:46 pm


You are a great caretaker! I hope he feels back to his old self soon!

Windpixie47

Post   » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:22 pm


6 weeks post injury, 2 weeks post-splint:

We have gradually been working on restoring full range of motion in the following increments: 5 days post-splint in tiny carrier (no use); 4 additional days in pet store cage (little use); 5 days in C&C cage with no loft or impediments (regular use, but light impact). No floor time yet.

Since 48 or so hours post-splint, Satch has been very cheerful, very hungry, and very normal--no need for metacam. He hasn't seemed to be in pain at all since. At first, he had a marked limp/drag. It was as if he needed to re-learn how to use his leg. He was walking much as he did while he was wearing the splint. I attempted to work his joints, but he would often strong arm me, resisting bending altogether. But when I wasn't messing with him, he would sometimes "forget" the leg was injured, and I'd catch him using it almost normally. So when he's relaxed or excited, he's more inclined to use the leg normally, and when he's conscious, he is more inclined to limp. Odd, but that's what I observe. I don't think we will know exactly how this will resolve until more time has passed. He's getting more and more active, and last night he was doing wheelies in the cage. So even if he never regains normal range of motion, I am quite certain he is enjoying life a great deal. He has not quite reached 700g, but he's close.

In terms of his personality, he is more and more affectionate. He is full of kisses! In my own mind, I think it's because he's grateful for the care. He greets us first thing in the morning, whenever we come home from work, and he gets the most excited when both of us are home. All my other pigs have been much more aloof. I don't know if he would have been this closely bonded with us without the injury, but it's nice to speculate about a silver lining. Hope Satchmo's experience helps another injured piggy down the road--but then, we both wish for no accidents, ever!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:17 pm


Aw, he sounds like a honey! Glad to hear things continue to progress well!

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:16 am


Wonderful news. Thank you for your careful updates of this thread. I've no doubt it will be very valuable to others in the future.

Windpixie47

Post   » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:56 pm


Four months post injury:

I started Satchmo on floor time about nine weeks post injury I figured I err on the side of caution. He had begun to be rather restless in his quarters--that's a bit of an understatement. His leg still seemed rather stiff and worked at an odd angle. I tried giving him my own brand of therapy, but he objected. I gave up. The first time on the floor, he was so stunned that he just sat there. I don't think he really could take in his freedom for one thing, and I think he was just a bit overwhelmed by the idea that he could use his leg. After an hour, I picked him up without his having moved much. The second day was a different story. He was about 10 feet away before I ever really let him go! His gait is a little odd, but he hasn't stopped dancing since!

C Cole-Chakotay

Post   » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:23 pm


That's great! I'm glad Satchmo is much better.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:46 pm


Wonderful news. Thanks for the update.

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