"Hedgehog" - Broken Leg
I was walking into Hinckley town centre last week intending to watch one of the football internationals at a local hostelry when my phone beeped indicating I had received a message. Such is the situation with modern technology that no matter where you are and even when "off duty" someone can find you out.
A very good friend and veterinary colleague from Gloucestershire had contacted me for some advice. The patient in question was a young hedgehog who had been handed into one of the specialist wildlife centres where my colleague worked. It was clear from the x-rays that the patient had fractured his humerus or upper arm. The dilemma was whether anything surgical could be done to allow the patient to make a sufficiently good recovery to be released back into the wild.
The first rule of surgery is "Do no harm!" The main problem with this patient was that the list of potential complications was extensive. To contemplate a surgical repair was likely to reduce his chances of survival compared to allowing the broken bones to heal naturally without any intervention. Consider the unique problem of avoiding further damage to the affected limb if it were studded with metal pins as the patient attempted to curl it's body into a tight ball. Since the patient was a juvenile the potential for rapid bone healing was great. Additionally the bone ends were reasonably alligned with some impaction lending to inherent stability.
My advice. . . as I marvelled at the technology that allows these images to materialise in front of me as I sipped my pint. . . was do nothing! It turned out to be the only thing I marvelled at that evening as the football was rather disappointing
BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS