Friday, October 31, 2008

Germ Killers

It's been a while since I posted. Calamity has had another x-ray & all of the holes & gaps have bridged with new bone growth. We hope it heals solid by winter.

We are going off the antibiotics as there have been no little flare ups of the sores that tell us it's trying to get out.

She runs & plays & goes out with the others. She's about as normal as she will ever be.

And the Rest Of The Story Is

Calamity got her splint off on Thursday...we hope & pray forever!! I was so afraid to post with glee again, look what happened the last time! Her x-rays looked pretty good, with some new bone filling all the 7 screw holes and the gaps that had remained.

Once again she is starting to toe touch and use her foot a bit. She tried to run Friday & screamed when she used her bad leg....Old Fart & I both froze on the insides, but she was fine.
Hopefully, we are nearing the end of this horrible journey we have been on with her & she will be fine for the rest of her life!!

One good thing is that I won't worry (as much) about osteo developing at the site of the metal as it is now gone.

She will be on antibiotics for a while. Her dressing under the splint was covered with the ooze of the infection. Her body goes through this little cycle of bubbling it out, healing and over again. I'm sure when that stops for a while we can quit the antibiotics.

Just When You Think It's safe

Guess I should contain my glee in the future.......

On Monday, Calamity's leg was swollen from the "fingers" to the elbow, very large. Old Fart & I soaked it in warm water many times & Dr. Shelley recomended we get her on an antibiotic. By Tuesday morning, the extremity of the swelling had diminished but the area of the break was still huge. Off to VSEC she went.

Dr Layton did x-rays & determined that the appliance must come out now but that it was Dr Reily's call to make. He would be in on Wednesday to read the x-rays & make the decision.
He called this morning and agreed that the appliance is holding the bacteria and if it doesn't come out, she will just never heal completely. He said her ulna is totally healed but the radius is not what he would call "clinically healed" yet. Probably due to the bacteria party that is in her leg.
She will remain on antibiotics to clear up whatever they can until Tuesday, when she will have the plate & screws removed. The bottom screw (the one that has given her the most trouble) will be sent off to culture the bacteria so we can get her on the proper one (s) to kill the bug. She could be on them for 3 months.

She will be back in a splint, hopefully for only 6 weeks this time. With the appliance gone, and the bacteria getting the boot, maybe the bone will heal faster now. That is the goal anyway. Hopefully she will be out of a splint in time for Abilene!!!

Here we go again.

Back To Work

After all this time, Calamity is well enough to donate blood again. She goes in to give her pint this afternoon.

The bottom screw in her appliance still tries to rub out and she gets little sores at the site of the break. We deal with each of those individually, mostly just a little EMT Gel & a good wrap & they heal.

She runs & walks & jumps again and seems to know when she should lead with her good leg. She walks on all 4 legs for the most part now.

Healed - Kinda

It's been so long since the night Calamity shreeked in pain & fear when she shattered her little leg. Today we got the best news ever - her ulna & radius have finally bridged with new bone growth!!!! It's not thick, dense bone yet, but it's bone that has bridged the break. FINALLY!!!!!!

It's not a pretty leg any more & she doesn't use it a lot but that all doesn't matter to me. She does use it once in a while, quite a bit of toe touching & some weight bearing. More use will come with time, I believe. I think she still has some numbness/nerve damage also as she places her foot down twisted under.

She'll continue to come to the track with me & get in mag boxes and whirlpool baths. I know they don't hurt her & they may even help her!

Really though....she is declared healed!!! YAYYYY!!!!

Healing Slowly

Now that Calamity has been out of her splint for almost 2 weeks, she seems to be getting the hang of it. She still walks 3-legged for the most part but is begining to use the leg a bit. She has learned to jump on & off of the bed and sofa and always leads with her good leg.

When I take my bath, she knows we will soak her leg after and seems to actually like it, after the first time! I'm sure the warm water feels as good on her as it does on my knees!
I massage her leg when I get a chance, usually a couple of times a day and her little toes are moving good now!

I did put her in a mag box Saturday morning & that seems to do a lot of good! I'll get her in there more when I get back out to the track.

Let's Try To Walk

After 14 LONG weeks...yes 14 weeks......Calamity is finally out of a splint and can begin to use her little leg once again!!!!

For the next 3 weeks she is on a lot of restrictions, out on lead, crated when alone, no jumping, ect. She can have whirlpool baths for exercise and a trainer at the track has offered to do this for her.

She puts her foot down a little & does some "touches", otherwise, she's mostly 3-legged, but I know that will change as the weeks go by.

She goes back for another x-ray in 3 weeks.

She can have her dental with the boys on Monday.

She has some pretty bad "wounds" from the tape on her leg holding the splint on, they are big, open, oozing & bleeding, so she is wrapped for that but it will heal with time.

It's A New Year

Calamity got a splint change today. Her sutures from all 3 incisions were removed & everything looked real good. Her leg did not look as raw & sore as it did last Friday overall.

She has a pretty bad "crater" now on her elbow that was just a pretty raw spot at prior splint changes. Dr. Layton tried to be creative & pad the splint so it doesn't rub so bad.

The foot between her pads is pretty raw now too from all the shedding & stuff that had drained down there during the last 6 weeks. Abby & I cleaned her foot real well & pulled out the hair that was gunked all between her toes.

All in all, I really did see some improvement from all of the prior visits. I do believe she's healing!!

No More Dailys

YAYYY!! We don't go back until next Friday!!!

Her leg looks like shit & probably always will, but it seems to be healing enough to satisfy both of her doctors!!!

The tension releasing incisions were open just slightly but Dr Layton said they were ok as long as the appliance's incision was covered. She cleaned her little swollen leg of the caked on ooze and they clipped her nails on her broken foot. She was so good, as she always is.

Dr. Layton thinks that at the 6 week mark, Dr Reiley will put her in a soft cast so she can begin to use her ankle and I guess that will help the healing.

I think we're getting better!!!

Today, Some Good News

Calamity had her dressing change today and Dr Layton decided that they will wait until Friday to look again!!! Almost a full week!!! I am excited!!

Her tension releasing incisions are much longer than I thought they would be, but they seem to be doing the trick right now, keeping the skin closed over the plate & screws. Doesn't matter how many cuts they make, getting her to heal is the goal.

Her poor little leg has so many red, irritated, almost open sores on it in a lot of areas. Her elbow is just about to open so Dr Layton made a doughnut for that, she has a doughnut over her wound site and the top of that little pad on the back of her leg is peeling off, so there is a doughnut pad there too!! Her little leg is irritated all over where the adhesive tape stirups have been, they are no longer there at all as there is no where to put them anymore.

I hope this week gives her skin time to heal as well as the incisions & her bone.

I just know we will get through this :-)

Hmmmm What Number Is this Surgery?

Tomorrow Calamity goes back to surgery again to do the procedure that was aborted on the 12th. They will make the tension releasing incisions & close the skin over the screws that the skin has not granulated over in the past 10 days.

The product Dr Layton used was a medicinal "sugar" along with an antibiotic impregnanted gauze. It helped some, but not enough. It's time to close this to reduce the risk of bacteria getting under the plate, causing more issues in the healing.

They are actually going to x-ray her also instead of waiting the full 6 weeks. I'm anxious to see how much the bone has healed as there was a pretty big gap of bone that will have to fill in.

Other than the daily splint changes, her spirit is great!

Finally - A Good Day

Some absolutely wonderful news here......!!!

Calamity has always barked & stomped her foot emphatically when she wanted something.

The Old Fart had a snack when he came home last night & I guess she demanded him to share (which he never does)! Now today he is eating a sandwich & she's demanding a bite!!! Barking & stomping.

She always begs, but has not demanded since this started.

I also bought 2 new dog beds last of her favorite things. She was so excited & went from bed to bed in glee.

She also picked up a toy today & tossed it in the air.

I know now she is back to her old self. Now....let the healing begin!!!

These people Love Her

The surgical techs cut & colored a candy cane and a string of colored christmas lights out of co-flex so it sticks to her green colored splint & looks so cute!!!

She sports a festive holiday splint!

Those people really love her.

Just Kidding

They (Drs Layton & Reiley) took Calamity into surgery where they were going to make 2 small "tension releasing" incisions, where they could then pull the skin over the screws to close the wound. When they cut her splint off on the surgery table, they looked at her wound & decided it was begining to granulate at the edges (a good sign, meaning the antibiotics are finally working!) and making 2 more incisions might only create a new opening for a different bacteria to enter. So they decided on a different course of treatment.

Dr Layton (the soft tissue specialist) has had a lot of luck with a topical product & an antibiotic impregnanted gauze combination, so they opted for that course of treatment right now. She still needs daily dressing changes.

Dr Reiley also got another confirmation of a different bacteria growing on her culture, so added a sulfa drug to her antibiotic cocktail. The culture has grown all it can now & we are taking the appropriate antibiotics.

I saw the wound today at dressing time & the edges are actually looking much better than they have, but the screws are still visable well, the bottom 2 anyway. I'm not sure how they will deal with that situation in the future weeks, I'll ask Dr Reiley tomorrow as he is her orthopod. I'm sure the skin can not completely granulate over those screws.

All in all, the wound looks better & we feel better. It's still going to be a long heal & more procedures may need to be done, but I actually see heaing and don't feel like every day is "groundhog day" anymore. :-)

More Doctors To Heal

We now have a soft tissue specialist in the mix with her orthopedist, Dr. Candy Layton. She's a good one. We have had her before on another greyhound, Runz when he had LARYNGEAL PARALYSIS. She did his surgery & he lived happily another 2 years.

She will do surgery on Calamity along with Dr. Reiley on Calamity's incision that will not close.



Calamity is now off of the cephilaxin/cipro antibiotic combo and now on ampicillin as the initial report of the culture showed that is what she needed.

Her wound was opened even more yesterday and she has started licking it again today, so I imagine Dr Reiley will need to close it once again when he sees her tomorrow.

I hope the ampicillin takes hold of whatever it is that will not let her heal.

I just feel that as long as this wound will not close, we are still at stage 1 in her healing process.
Her spirit is slipping away & I keep thinking of things to bring the sparkle back in her eye. Yesterday morning she got to watch Morgan poop and that made her very happy! She would have been happier if she could have chased him down as he dropped his last turd!! LOL!! But just seeing him pooping seemed to make her happy. I think she misses her pack. I will try to take her out with them a couple times a day, but keeping a tight hold on her.

I know she misses running. She was out alone this morning, she peed and then pooped & trotted back to me with a sparkle in her eye & zest in her step. She'll be so happy when she can run again. I guess we never realize just how much running means to these greyhounds until we take it from them.

Calamity! Stop Licking!

The Old Fart called me at work to tell me Calamity will not stop licking her splint right over the break. This is one of the signs we were told to watch for so call to the vet's is now a visit to the vet. I get someone to do the last afternoon turn-out at the kennel and take her in so they can see what's up.

Upon opening the splint we all see a shiny screw top staring us in the face! The skin is compromised where the bone came out of her and having a difficult time healing. They must now go in & do a second surgery to try to close this up. There is also some pussy looking stuff present, so they will put a drain in to drain it & take a culture to see what type of bacteria we are dealing with. I can only imagine what is in the dirty soil of our backyard!

They take her into surgery, I meet some friends at a restruant/bar. We wait the couple of hours it takes them to repair her skin. I'm drained.

They call & say I can pick her up after she has a hour or so to wake up. We will know the rusults of the culture in a few days.

I get her, she's groggy & just wants to go home. I now have instructions to bring her back daily to check the drainage. When it slows down, they will pull the drain out.

Ahhhh To Be Home

Calamity is home. She's resting in the bedroom as she could not get comfortable in the crate The Old Fart set up in the living room.

When I went to pick her up she is sporting a nifty soft splint. Her leg is wrapped with cast padding and then a hard splint is applied to the back part of her leg to keep it stable. The entire thing is then held together with layers of vet wrap. She's hobbling today.

She is on 2 different antibiotics. I need to keep a good check on her temperature to keep ahead of any infections that may start. She did spike a bit of a temperature & my vet friend suggested I add a dose of Metacam, which is an NASID and should reduce the fever.

She is going outside on a lead to keep her calm & not try to run.

Let the healing begin!

Let's Fix it


I went to meet with the surgeon at 9AM. They brought Calamity to me & we went to an exam room to meet Dr. Reiley. H eplaced her x-rays on the lighted board & he talked about the 3 different ways he can repair her leg. He will not know what route he will take until he gets in there to see the condition of the bones. He still does not believe the bones have cancer in them. He said he will be able to tell when the screws go into the bone.

Calamity is ready for surgery & so is he. I spend a few more minutes with her & send her off to get her leg fixed. I drive home with tears in my eyes.

Calamity had been in surgery for about 4 hours. I called (at the 3.5 hour mark) & the sugery tech told me they had some trouble with the fracture & it should be another 30-40 minutes. She said she was doing very well with the anesthesia & was stable.

At 5:30 I got a call from Dr Reiley about Calamity's surgery. This morning, he had mapped out a few ways to fix her with what little bone he had left above the "wrist" to work with. He could not go the best route he had planned becuase what he though was an overlapping of the bone on the initial x-ray was actually yet another fracture (hairline type, I guess) so he did not have enough solid bone to place screws. So he went with plan b. This plan did allow him to place a plate & 7 screws to hold her together but instead of a soft cast, like he wanted her in, she will have to remain in a splint until she is healed and will need some pt after she heals.

He said it was a very tramatic fracture......I know he is an orthepedic doctor but I have to wonder how many tramatic fractures he sees compared to Dr Smith..LOL!!

She will have her sutures in for 2 weeks before her next check up and I will have to take her temp twice daily to watch for any infection along with 2 different types of antibiotics she will get daily.

She can come home tomorrow. Yayyy!! I miss her.

What To Give Thanks For?


I visited with Calamity twice today, the first visit was terrible & left me very upset. She was so "stoned" that she didn't know who I was. She was like a spook, looking for somewhere to dart to to get away from me. She was very dry & her tummy was gurgling very badly. They were trying to get her to eat something so they could give her oral antibiotics. She did not want to eat.

The evening visit was much better. She had come down from the dose of morphene (that had been give at 9AM) and knew who I was as soon as I walked in. She wanted me to take her home.

My best friend (who is also a vet), Shelley stopped on her way to the track and became her advocate, healthwise. Thank God Calamity has her Auntie Shelley looking out for her! Shelley took over & noticed that she needed her bowls elevated. As soon as that was accomplished, Calamity drank almost her whole pan of water! She acted like she wanted to eat but maybe her tummy was sick from the oral antibiotic, Shelley made 2 suggestions to the vet on duty, either place her catheter and give an injectable one or put something to calm her tummy on board so she will feel good enough to eat. An order for reglan was issued. Thank God for Shelley!!!

We took her out to go potty & she dropped & went as almost as soon as she hit the grass.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

The Shattered World


Tonight, while running in the backyard, our greyhound Calamity broke (shattered) her right front leg. It was an open fracture & very bloody & scarey. She stood in the middle of the yard shreiking in pain.

I carried her to the steps when I stablized it as best I could with what wraps I have on hand. I got her in the house where I began to make calls for someone to help get us to the emergency vet where she is a blood donor.

They wasted no time getting pain medications in her. Before they took her x-rays, I prayed it was not bone cancer as we had just lost one to that less than a month ago. They took x-rays & determined it is not osteo, but a very bad break. Her radius & ulna are shattered into many small pieces.

The fracture was splinted and she was on morphene with a fentanal patch, as well as antibiotics when we left.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so nothing will be done other than to keep her comfortable. A suegeon will see her on Friday & determine what can be done for her.