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"Molly" - Dalmatian with Central Tarsal Fracture

Photo: Molly, head only.



At some time or another we may all have fantasised about being someone else. David Attenborough tends to be my personal choice although occasionally Sean Connery and Kenny Dalgleish have featured! I have been unaware until now that this was ever a consideration with our domestic pets.

"Molly" the Dalmatian was presented to me by one of my colleagues with an acute onset severe lameness affecting her right hindleg. It was immediately apparent by the degree of pain and swelling in the region of her hock that she had injured herself quite seriously.


Radiographs were taken in order to clarify the nature of the problem. It became quite clear that she had fractured her central tarsal bone (a small but significant bone in her ankle). This is a rare injury which is almost exclusively seen in the racing greyhound.

Because racing tracks are run in an anti-clockwise direction the leg affected is always the left hindleg. The driving, twisting action from being on the outside arc of the track can on occasion cause sufficient force to shatter this central bone as it is crushed by its surrounding boney structures. For most racing dogs that injury spells the end of their career and unfortunately for some dogs an inability to perform may have more serious repercussions than just retirement.

Luckily for Molly she happens to be in the possesion of owners who were prepared to nurse her through the intricate surgery and prolonged aftercare that was required. Currently, the stainless steel screw in her ankle is holding well, the soft tissue damage is now healed and since Molly has no further aspirations on being a racing greyhound, retirement is far from her mind!

Coveting another's talents or lifestyle is one thing but Molly and I now draw the line at replicating their misery or mishap.....................sshplendid, Mish Moneypenny!


Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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