Italian Greyhounds/Clean front leg break -casting
Hi my sweet iggy, Thumbelina, fell sideways trying to get on the chaise lounge. She is 4 monts old. She broke her right front leg last Tuesday it is not a week yet. Took her within 20 minutes to vet. They put her to sleep X-rayed ~ Upper leg broken straight across no separation or shatter or fragments no where near growth plate. The vet casted the leg. It is a week now I confine her to crate or carry or she lays next to me or someone in the family. She was given metacam. She is happy and playful. My main concern is that I have read a lot of articles on the Internet and it seems everyone says a surgeon should have put a plate in her leg. My vet only mentioned surgeon if it involved the growth plate. The vet said we were lucky where Thumbelina broke her leg and the type of break so no surgical involvement. Was Thumbelina given the wrong treatment. I have to bring her into the vet weekly and the vet said 3 to 4 weeks in the cast. The vet will re X-ray at week 3. Today is Sunday it will be a week on Tuesday when we have a vet appointment tuesday morning of course I will ask these questions of my vet but I was hoping for an answer from you Thank you Poor thing she is teething as well but has the best disposition. Actually she is doing better than I am
I a very sorry to hear about your little girl and her leg break, unfortunately very common in this breed, particularly at this age.
Your vet is correct that not all breaks need plates, however, IG's typically are either plated or pinned when there is a break to ensure no movement of the bones while healing, their bones are so small that blood flow is very low causing healing to be extremely slow as well and the likelihood of a rebreak or not healing quickly enough is very real.
If you want a pin or a plate, then you need to request one and be prepared to find another vet because not all vets are able to do them, typically you need a specialist for a plate and sometimes for a pin as well.
A plate will allow your girl to be up and moving around freely in a couple weeks, a pin will be much longer, without either will be even more time for healing. I have only ever had one IG that didn't get a plate or a pin and healed but the leg didn't heal straight and the dog ended up with a limp.
The one thing that has me concerned about what your vet stated was the timing for casting. 3-4 weeks is totally unrealistic for this breed, the shortest time for a cast (with a pin) is 12 weeks, without is closer to 16 weeks. Then there is rehab, however long the dog is in the cast, count that much time of restricted activity after removing the cast for the time that the dog can reinjure or break the leg again because the muscles have to be built back up after the long period of inactivity. During this time, you will need to be just as cautious as when the dog is in the cast and need to do some type of limited activity therapy such as water therapy (large Jacuzzi bath or hot tub will work) with you holding the dog and letting them paddle the legs to begin working the muscles without pressure on the bone.
That is the largest concern I have with what your vet said, I would probably take her to a specialist ASAP for a second opinion on the pin/plate, someone that is very well versed in sighthounds. Also know that the cast will need to be changed regularly - usually weekly, more if it gets wet. So when you take them outside it needs to be wrapped in plastic wrap or your vet can give you an old IV bag that you can use as a sleeve to help keep it dry, if it gets wet then it will cause terrible sores underneath. Also, activity must be non-existent until completely healed because no matter how immobilizing the cast is, they can still twist their leg around a little bit an really mess things up. Walking on the cast will cause rubbing on the elbow and lower ankle - also causing sores which can get really infected because their skin is so thin. You want her not to walk anymore than absolutely necessary for the duration until she is done with physical therapy and you know the leg is stable for her to use it again.
I hope this helps, leg breaks are an unfortunate part of life with this lovely breed but proper care is essential and they will be back to normal in just a few months. Let me know if I can give you any other info.
Good luck and good thoughts coming your way to heal quickly Thumbelina...