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Dr. Susan
Dr. Susan, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  7 years of clinical experience with specialty in veterinary pain management, urology, and geriatrics
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I have an Irish Wolfhound/German Shepard mix. She is a rescue

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I have an Irish Wolfhound/German Shepard mix. She is a rescue dog and we believe she is 12 to 13 years old.
She has a broken femur. Took her to vet 2 days ago and confirmed with x-rays. Vet says break is not first time and bone is brittle/honey-combed probably due to some cancerous type deteriation. Vet recommended putting her down.
We believed previous breaks were minor since she only limped for a few days and then seemed fully recovered. We just assumed hip dysplasia due to her breed. This break appears to be more serious due to her discomfort/pain. She is a good, healthy dog and in very good spirits and we would like her to continue as long as she is healthy and in good spirits but we need to immobilize the leg to let it heal and then-after to assure she does not break it again.
Is there a brace that can be applied that will immobilize the leg both during the healing process and then after? What about a Schroeder-Thomas brace?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Susan replied 2 years ago.

I understand your thoughts, but there are some problems with your ideas:

 

First, there really is no such thing as a minor broken bone. If she broke her femur previously, she would be completely non-weight bearing. She would not limp for a few days and then recover. It is much more likely that these episodes were due to joint disease/hip dysplasia/aggravation of an injury etc.

 

Second, a pathologic fracture (one due to loss of bone integrity from a tumor) will NOT heal. Our only option for a leg like this is amputation. Before considering this, I strongly recommend x-ray of her chest to look for evidence of metastasis, or spread of the cancer.

 

Good luck.

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I can accept your response and advice however it did not address the feasibility of applying some sort of a brace to imobilize the leg. I have read a little about the Schroeder-Thomas brace/splint and if this would help to immobilize the leg and prevent her from further injury then it could be a short term solution that we could implement for the remaining days/weeks/months of her life and avoid the pain of reinjury.

 

Would this brace or something similar be feasible? Any idea what it might cost? Would it be something that I could apply and remove whenever needed?

Expert:  Dr. Susan replied 2 years ago.

I understand. A Schroeder Thomas would be the only feasible option to stabilize a femoral fracture. However, more often than not, these are not placed correctly, and they do long term damage. We generally see contracture of the quadriceps muscles as one of the big setbacks from an ST splint.

 

If you are simply trying to keep the fracture from moving a great deal while you plan to amputate or just monitor quality of life, this may be a reasonable option. Just know that this will not be a situation where we are hoping for fracture healing.

 

I hope that helps.

 

Dr. Susan, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4493
Experience: 7 years of clinical experience with specialty in veterinary pain management, urology, and geriatrics
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