Chopper’s journey is truly heart warming. We first met him when he was referred to Dr. Mitchell in October of 2015 and diagnosed with Angular Limb Deformity. This condition occurs when a pair of bones, such as the radius and ulnar bones (forearm bones) which sit side by side, grow at an abnormal rate relative to each other. In Chopper’s case this caused the leg to bend and rotate outwards, resulting in painful lameness. To straighten Chopper’s leg and allow him to walk normally, surgery was recommended. After consultation with his foster carer, Chopper was admitted to hospital for radiographs and surgery.
The surgical procedure involved two different processes. First our surgeon performed an ulnar ostectomy (cutting the ulna and removing a small bit of it) and a radial osteotomy (bone cut only). Second, the deformity was corrected and an external metal frame (external skeletal fixateur) placed to stabilise the bones whilst they healed. The external frame was bandaged to keep the pin tracts protected, and so that Chopper could not chew at or injure himself or the frame itself. Chopper was sent home with his foster carer, who was given instructions for strict rest inside for at least the first four weeks. He was permitted short walks, on lead only, for toileting and fresh air.
Chopper returned weekly to North Coast Veterinary Specialist and Referral Centre (NCVS) for bandage changes. It was during these return visits that Jaimi, one of our vet nurses, fell in love with him! She applied for adoption and once the process was completed, Chopper officially became a member of Jaimi’s menagerie. As frame was still in place at this time as the bones were still healing, it was critical that he was kept confined and rested. While Chopper relished the acquisition of his own couch, he was crated as required to restrict his movement. Luckily, he was an excellent patient who tolerated these restrictions very well, which no doubt assisted greatly in his recovery
After 6 weeks, Chopper’s x-rays showed that healing had progressed to the point where half the frame could be removed. At this stage he commenced and has continued with physiotherapy to help restore him to normal function. It was a very happy day when, at the end of January, radiographs revealed that Chopper’s bones had healed sufficiently and the final pins and pieces of the frame could be removed.
While still restricted in terms of exercise, he was able to gradually increase his walks to up to 15 minutes over the following weeks. Today Chopper, renamed Choppy by his adoring parents, is living a full and rich life. Pain free, with his leg fully healed, he regularly enjoys a good dash around the paddock with his sister, Chia. Typical of greyhounds, though, the rest of his happy hours are usually passed reclining on his comfy bed, surrounded by loving family members.