Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bandaging 102

Well, most of you know how I feel about bandaging (scroll down to Bandaging 101 if you don't). I won't be modest. I do a fantastic job at bandaging, so I am somewhat of a bandage snob. I am tired of paying vets $20 or more for a mediocre bandaging job that I have to redo when I get home. To me, it seems that bandaging should be an easy skill for any vet or vet tech to master. If I am going to trust you to cut open my dog, lop off a toe, or stick needles into them, I would assume I can trust you to bandage. So here is my latest bandage gripe.

As you know, Stacker has a busted toe. Stephen and I felt it needed to be x-rayed. Our regular vet couldn't get us in quick enough, so we opted to go to a vet that could. If it was broken, there is a chance that enough calcification will occur to hold the toe in place. If it is dislocated, there is not much you can do to save it and amputation affords the dog the quickest recovery. The toe was not broken, but since it was a middle, weight bearing toe, Stephen wanted to approach it cautiously and get all the facts first. The vet also wanted to reduce swelling and take another x-ray a few days later.

In the meanwhile the vet put a splint on Stacker. I have never used a splint, so I left it to the expert and did not do any of the bandage changes myself.

Well, Stacker's second x-ray was completed and the splint was changed in the back room without giving Stephen the opportunity to see for himself. Lesson #1, ask to see the leg between bandage changes. You would not think this is necessary, but obviously it is. Vets love for you to drop your dog off for a bandage change. Don't. I would suggest making an appointment so you can witness the event.

The vet sought the opinion of a specialist who said if its not better in 2 weeks, it needs to be amputated. We were closing in on 2 weeks, so Stephen and I removed the splint ourselves for a look.

Not only was the toe not better, but his leg was swollen from toes to hock. Large patches of hair had been waxed off by the tape applied to his skin. AND he had a HORRIBLE rub spot. "Rub spot" is a complete understatement. The splint caused a wound so deep that we believe we can actually see the bone. Needless to say, we are upset about this. We paid $130 for expert bandaging/splinting and he was actually injured significantly from it. We will be asking for a refund.

The toe was removed Friday and I will be handling the bandages from here on out. His leg looks much better already. Kudos to Dr. Toby Carmichael who sent him home with a wrap after the amputation. I probably could have left his bandage for a couple of days, but my untrusting nature insisted that I redo it the next day. The wounds needed some air time anyway. So Dr. Toby gets a thumbs up for his wrap job.


Addie said...

I'm shocked at how bad his leg looked under that splint, and I hope you get that refund. It's just terrible!

I bet he'll feel a ton better in a few days, especially now that you're taking care of the bandages.


Maria Peters said...

What a rip. I have no idea what has happened to pride in workmanship. Glad to hear ol' Stacker's doing well.

Cynthia said...

Having had a dog who developed a rub wound between two toes while healing an adjacent toe, I can't leave a bandage on a greyhound foot for longer than two days. At that point the worry gets overwhelming and I have to take off the bandage & redo it. Needless to say, I go through a lot of bandaging supplies!

Hope Stacker recovers quickly.


Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Oh yeah... I forgot to complain about how bad he looked between the toes also. I don't understand why its not a well known fact that you should put cotton between the toes. Maybe vets can get away with bad bandaging jobs on labs, but thinned skinned, boney greyhounds expose their lack of skill.

He is looking better already. He's actually starting to put weight on that foot again.


Sientay L said...

My dogs had splints before. Our vet had always padded the area before securing the splint. She did it in front of us so we could see how it was done in case we needed to change it ourselves. I don't think I have ever not seen my hounds' injuries between bandage changes. Our vets have always done them in the exam room with us.
I really hate it when the vets would put tape directly in their skin and hair. It's so painful to get off. I'm glad Stacker is feeling better now. I really hope we don't have to amputate Dino's toe. His injury sounds similar to Stacker's. It may be better in the long-run, but I just don't think we can afford it right now.

BrittBeah said...

Jen sorry about the toe and new wound. Some people just don't do so well with the bandaging, it is a delicate art. You have to be able to get it secure enough so it doesn't fall off but loose enough so you get circulation.
Funny enough I was just having the cotton between the toes discussion yesterday at work. Everyone looked at me like I was nuts, I explained then they asked where I had learned about it. I first heard it from you Jen on Bandaging 101. Then the more greyhound medical sites I read the more I find it mentioned. I finally read it in one of my school texts the other day :) I'm a beliver.

Anna said...

Poor Stacker! Fire can feel for him (a little bit) due to the new spots on her tail that are left from poor bandaging!

We now have the "tube" that you suggested. However, we still have to tape at night.

We are hoping he is better soon!


greytblackdog said...

OMG. Poor stacker. Seka and he can have the wonder twin, three toed paw shake. I'm right there with you sister about the bandages. We had Seka's toe taken off at AU, but my local vet took care of it afterward. Their techs of course re-wrapped it every other day. The crappy job they did caused Seka a very long recovery (the 3 to 5 weeks turned into 8). I use cotton between the toes anytime I even put a sock on her foot. If I can see it, it will be padded.

Zan said...

Poor Stacker! Sounds like the "cure" was as bad as the problem. Makes me mad just reading about it!

My Sugar had one of her middle toes on her left fore paw amputated shortly after we got her - never caused he a problem.