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"Max" - Cross Breed with Injured Achilles Tendon
Photo:
Max

It is always extremely satisfying when a difficult case goes well. It is even more satisfying after another veterinary practice has been unsuccessful and has given up.

Max came to me all the way from Derbyshire after sustaining a serious and debilitating injury to his Achilles tendon and consequently he was unable to walk or bear any weight on his leg without it collapsing.

The problem with tendon injuries is that they are fibrous and poorly vascularised (poor blood supply). Consequently, healing is slow and takes a long time before the damaged fibres can regain their strength.

The surgical trick in this instance is to use a metal screw to straighten the hock or ankle joint to alleviate any stress on the damaged fibres. By giving "mother nature" the time and opportunity to heal without stress the fibres can repair to a functional level. Without the screw, the tension on the fibres is too great and they stretch causing the limb to malfuncton.

Whilst the logic may appear quite straight forward the opportunity for post operative complications can be high. Screw bending, breakage or "pull out" are often reported. Fortunately, in this instance after approximately 12 weeks Max had his screw removed without experiencing any problems and has returned to chasing around the garden using all 4 legs.

Photo: Max lying down
X-ray: Attachmentn point for achilles tendon fibres connecting to the muscles

 

Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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