As vet nurses we are so lucky to be part of the journeys of our inspirational patients and their dedicated humans. The handsome Boris, who is only just over 1 year old, is such a character. We first met him on a trip up to Cairns back in 2018, but his story began months before this in Sydney.
In May 2018 Boris, a lovely 6 month old Wolfhound x Greyhound was found limping alone in the streets. It was suspected that he had been hit by a car as he was non-weight bearing on a very badly damaged hind leg. He was taken into the Kirrawee Vet Hospital for stabilization and treatment and with the hope of finding his owners. In the time that Boris was being treated by the clinic, no one came forward to claim him, or to take financial responsibility for his ongoing treatment. It was feared that he would lose his leg so the staff at the clinic decided to send out a plea to the public for donations. If his leg was to be saved it required the expertise of a specialist orthopaedic surgeon. The alternative to fracture repair was amputation.
In a show of amazing generosity, members of the public raised the money and the surgical procedure to save his leg was performed.
Boris began rehabilitation with the nurses and vets at Kirrawee where he stayed for about 3 months and was advertised on their Facebook page in hopes of finding him a forever home.
In the amazing way that social media spreads stories far and wide, Leanne, a vet nurse over 2,000km away to the north, saw the post. She had worked at Kirrawee but moved with her husband and fur babies to Cairns. Their hearts went out to him and they decided they could offer him a good life in Far North Queensland. Leanne was aware that due to the extreme trauma sustained in his accident and complexity of Boris’s surgical procedure, there was a good chance he could experience ongoing problems with that leg.
Although Boris settled into his new life up north very quickly, he was still lame on the leg and when it came time to remove the pins, it was discovered that the bone was very spongy and delicate.
Boris never complained about pain and loved to run around his large new tropical garden. His owners were concerned that he would further injure his leg and might even risk losing it if his condition did not improve. And as luck would have it, that day came sooner than expected. In the middle of a typical exuberant frolic in the garden, Boris stopped suddenly and yelped, held his leg up and would not put any weight on it.
Leanne immediately took him in to her workplace at Beachside Vets in Cairns. Radiographs revealed a luxating patella (a common condition in smaller dogs) which may have been exacerbated by the trauma he sustained in romping around following the earlier fracture repair.
Dr Richard Mitchell travels from North Coast Veterinary Specialist & Referral Centre on the Sunshine Coast and visits Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton on a regular basis to consult with clients and to perform specialist surgical procedures. It was at one of Dr Mitchell’s visits to Cairns that Leanne made an appointment for consultation and where we first met Boris! Following Dr Mitchell’s examination and assessment of Boris, it was recommended that he required a surgical procedure to remedy a luxating patella.
Dr Richard Mitchell was quietly confident we could give Boris a more comfortable life, and plans were made to fly Boris down to the Sunshine Coast where he could have surgery and around the clock recovery care. And mum had a little holiday also!
Dr. Mitchell performed a minimally invasive stifle arthroscopy and medial patella luxation correction on Boris’s left hind leg. Following this Boris stayed in hospital with us for 3 days, resting and diligently eating his way through our bedding. No one could resist his shaggy face and soulful eyes, though, so all was forgiven. His hospital stay was full cuddles and laughs and every one of the nurses fell absolutely in love with him!
Upon his return home to Cairns, Boris was crated and was very restricted in his activities for the first 4 weeks. No beach walks were allowed so he went for beach “drives” instead. While he was not allowed to play with his canine and human friends, he at least got to see them down by the shore. His dedicated owners were diligent with his rehabilitation program, and he gradually built up his strength over the following weeks. On our most recent trip to Cairns in January 2019 we saw Boris for his 6wk post op check and he is recovering beautifully. He has regained full use of the leg and is now able to sit without the need of swinging his sore leg under him.
Boris is back to beach walks, on the esplanade only, no sand yet and is loving his swims. His life has completely turned around. Full of energy and a real zest for life, Boris brings such joy to both his loving owners and everyone he meets. We can’t wait to see him again on our next trip up north!