Success Stories

Photo: Korea

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Korea, a seven-year-old Labrador Retriever, was an active dog when she came to the VMTH in 2010 with a lameness due to an injury sustained while on a hunting trip with her owner. Upon physical exam, she was diagnosed with a torn Achilles tendon from the calcaneus (heel) bone. UC Davis orthopedic surgeons determined that surgical reattachment of the ruptured tendon was necessary. Following successful reattachment of the tendon using fiberwire, Korea was fitted with a custom splint to support her leg during recovery. After approximately six weeks in the splint, she was allowed to slowly return to normal weight-bearing use of her leg. Today, Korea has returned to hunting with her owner and enjoyed her best year yet this past season.

Photo: Gia

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Gia, a three-year-old Italian Greyhound, presented to the VMTH in 2012 with a fracture in her right, front leg. Having previously experienced five fracture repairs of the leg, Gia’s treatment plan included several options, one of which being amputation. Not wanting to remove her leg, Gia’s owner chose to allow UC Davis surgeons to try using bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) to fill the fractures and loss of bone. After removing the damaged bone area, a scaffold saturated with the BMP was placed in the gap to stimulate bone growth from both ends. Gia was then placed on strict “bed rest” to allow the new bone to grow and the fracture to heal. X-rays at three weeks indicated successful replacement of the scaffold with bone particles. At six weeks, significant bone growth was indicated. By 10-12 weeks, Gia was able to bear weight on the limb and was walking again. Known for their small, fragile frames, Italian Greyhounds are easily susceptible to fractures. Later that year, Gia fractured her left, front leg that had also been repaired and never healed properly. She received the same BMP treatment to successfully repair that leg, as well.