Surgery and physio help Skip recover from life-threatening car accident

Davies Veterinary Specialists

Orthopaedics, Physiotherapy, Soft Tissue Surgery

1st September 2020

Skip jumps back to health after car crash causes multiple life-threatening injuries

Skip, a Jack Russell terrier and Chihuahua cross, suffered a multitude of fractures and soft tissue injuries when he was hit by a car. After an initial assessment at his local vet, he was rushed to Davies, as it was apparent he needed complex care in order to recover. Our multi-disciplinary care approach enabled clinicians from many departments to work together to get Skip back on his feet.

Initial assessment reveals multiple injuries

Despite being in a very bad way when he was admitted, Skip became a favourite with the veterinary team from day one: “Despite the extent of his injuries Skip was consistently affectionate and a pleasure to treat,” said Orthopaedics and Soft Tissue Surgery Resident Rufus Hammerton. “He was clearly a very brave little dog and we were all rooting for him to survive.”

After initial assessment and stabilisation, an ultrasound scan of Skip’s abdomen led to a diagnosis of a uroabdomen. A urinary tract study identified a tear in his proximal urethra as the cause of the leak and a urinary catheter was placed so Skip could pass urine during hospitalisation. While he was under anaesthesia, radiographs were taken of Skip’s pelvis to assess the extent of his orthopaedic injuries.

“Radiographs revealed multiple pelvic fractures and dislocation of the right sacroiliac joint that connects the pelvis to the spine’’ said Rufus.

Davies Veterinary Specialists xray of skip's fractured pelvis

An X-ray image of Skip’s injuries.

Fluoroscopy used to guide implant placement

Skip had a screw placed from the right hip bone to the sacrum under fluoroscopic guidance to stabilise his right sacroiliac joint. He also had a locking plate applied to the left hip bone to stabilise the fracture of the body of his left ilium. “Intraoperative fluoroscopy is essentially real-time radiography that can be used in operating theatre to guide the placement of surgical implants in anatomical areas, where extreme accuracy is needed to avoid potentially disastrous complications due to misplaced implants,” explained Rufus.

Davies Veterinary Specialists xray of skip's fractured pelvis following surgery

An X-ray image showing the screw and locking plate in place.

Physiotherapy helps get Skip walking again

Skip recovered well from the surgery and was hospitalised for a week to receive supportive therapy and give his urethra the opportunity to heal conservatively. This week included a vast amount of input from the Davies Therapy and Fitness Centre. They routinely assessed him and started an exercise programme to get him back on his feet. The nurses worked tirelessly 24 hours a day to care for Skip and keep him comfortable.

A week later a study of Skip’s lower urinary tract was repeated. “If the tear was still present, we planned to take him to theatre to surgically repair it,” said Rufus, “but fortunately, the rupture had sealed; we removed the catheter and he was able to pass urine normally.”

Ten days post-surgery Skip was able to walk again and was ready to be discharged.

Davies Veterinary Specialists Skip recovers from orthopaedic surgery

Skip recovering from surgery at Davies

Combined approach leads to great outcome

“Without the combined approach and expertise from each of the Soft Tissue, Orthopaedics, Anaesthesia and Therapy and Fitness Departments we would not have been able to achieve such a great outcome for Skip,” said Rufus.

“Throughout the entire process, Skip remained very happy and loving. The nurses worked very intensively with him and they formed a strong bond, which no doubt helped his recovery. I sent the owners daily photo updates as we could not allow them to see him due to COVID restrictions. They are thrilled to have him home and he is convalescing well.’’

Rufus and the team have routinely kept in contact with Skip’s owners and referring vets to ensure he continues to progress along his road to full health. Skip has attended physiotherapy sessions at Davies in order to accelerate his recovery and get him back to running around the park as soon as possible.

Davies Veterinary Specialists Surgeon Rufus Hammerton and Skip

Resident Rufus Hammerton and Skip

Click here to find out more about our multi-disciplinary approach to patient care.

Click here to read Vet Times’ article on Skip’s story.

Davies Veterinary Specialists Skip article in Vet Times


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