Most people will recognise how expensive orthopaedic fracture
repair operations can be - £750-£2000! But few
will perhaps appreciate that there are a number of disorders
which require the surgeon to break the leg first before
then repairing it!
"Tilly's" owners were referred to me from Leamington
spa by their own vet who was concerned at the twisted appearance
of her front leg. Despite being a Jack Russell which are
tradionally known for their peculiarly shaped forelimbs,
"Tilly's" left front leg was exceptionally rotated
outwards (carpus valgus).
After she had been fully evaluated and radiographed it
was clear that she had a marked growth deformity, (premature
distal ulnar physis closure). Her right front leg was 2
cm longer than the other.
Unfortunately, for "Tilly" there are 2 long bones
in the front leg which should grow in unison. If one stops
growing, as was the ulna in this case, then the other bone,
the radius, continues to grow. Restricted by the bone which
has stopped growing, the radius continues to grow in the
only direction available, which is outwards. Additionally
and most importantly this has a severely adverse effect
on the elbow joint causing stretching, pain and inflammation.
Surgical repair involves breaking both bones. The ulna
needs to be broken to free up the elbow joint. The radius
is also broken in an attempt to untwist the leg which is
held with pins and clamps for 6 weeks to allow repair.
Despite having to pay me to break "Tilly's" leg
both owner and patient have been exemplary in their post
operative care and recovery. Consequently, we are hopeful
that "Tilly's" elbow will recover sufficiently
to continue her active life relatively pain free!