Thursday, June 16, 2011

Time Out

Dang greyhound toes!  It seems inevitable that all of my greyhounds must suffer at least one toe injury per lifetime.  I hope this is Riley's only time.  In the above photo, it is the toe on the far right.  The bright side is that this is the only time it has just been a sprain.  Jessie, Travis, Katie, and Reagan's toe injuries were all dislocations with torn collateral ligaments.

I was a newbie with Jessie and treated it conservatively.  On its own, a greyhound toe never constructs enough scar tissue to make up for lost ligaments.  I eventually had to amputate it.

Travis' toe dislocation came next.  I had learned from my last mistake and took him to Auburn University immediately to see Dr. Rob Gillette, the head of the Sports Medicine Department of the vet school and huge greyhound fan.  He employed an old track trick of injecting the toe with a schleroising agent that stimulates scar tissue to form.  The toe is splinted for a short period of time and then the dog is worked hard a couple of times to break up the scar tissue and ensure that the toe is not set too rigid.  We had to do this twice, but ultimately Travis' toe held up perfectly for the rest of his life.

Katie dislocated her toe at the age of ten. Since she was older, retired, and neurological, I did not want to fool with splints or long recoveries as it would not have worked well for Katie.  I had it amputated immediately and she bounced back as expected.  If she had been several years younger, it probably would have been a big mistake as her toes were giving her all sorts of problems near the end, but luckily the amputation worked well for the last two years of her life.

Reagan's dislocated toe required surgery which my vet just happens to have a specialized interest in greyhounds, orthopedic surgery, and toes.  Most small animal vets would never attempt to sew collateral ligaments back together, but that is exactly what Dr. Toby did for Reagan.

Waiting for the vet is much better with a bully stick.

So my adventure in greyhound toes brings me full circle and we are going to go the conservative route with Riley.  Her toe joints are intact, tight, and have normal range of motion.  The only hint of something wrong was some swelling and a little pain at the P1/P2 joint (the main knuckle).  Dr. Toby says to give her 4 - 6 weeks off from tight turns and weaving.  He said it was fine to work her in straight lines so it sounds like a lot of walking, hiking, jogging, and biking over the next few weeks.  I am glad that I can keep her muscles fit while the toe heals.

Remember to keep toe nails short!

11 comments:

Mad Red Hare said...

Sorry about the toes. We have more than our fair share of toe woes. Good luck!

Angela said...

Poor Riley's toe! Maybe Seven was having a premonition of Riley's injury when she thought she had a sore paw, LOL.

Hiking Hounds said...

Ouch, poor girl. I'm glad it is just a sprain though. I bet she'll heal up great!

gyeong said...

Luckily, it's just a sprain. Sounds like you'll still be getting plenty of exercise. So far only Stanley has had a broken toe. 6 weeks of splints and walking on leash to go potty is no fun for anyone. We clip and Dremel nails every 1-2 weeks.

houndstooth said...

Toe nails are a never ending battle at our house! I hope Riley has a quick recovery. Is there anything you can do for her after she's recovered to help keep her from reinjuring it, besides keeping the nails short? I know people put things on some dog's feet to keep them from pulling dew claws and to support their ankles, but those poor toes sure need some help!

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

I hope to never have a toe injury here. Although, perhaps Summit has already had his toe injury in his younger days. He was one enlarged toe that was x-rayed. Hopefully this is Riley's one and only toe woe.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Oh geez - sorry to hear this. Sounds just like what Walter and I did for the last 6 weeks. Hope this little down time will pass quickly and she'll be as good as new afterwards.

Mr.Mischief said...

Guh...so far Oberon hasn't had a nail problem, but Guinness routinely broke dew claws off about three or four times a year, and the last year and a half of his life he developed SLO-surgery was needed to remove his claws to the bone, and after that they all came back twisty and corkscrewed...yecht.

What Remains Now said...

Jennifer,

I popped over from Tales and Tails and my mouth is hanging open reading your awesome posts. I posted on Wednesday about how proud I was of myself that I took my two Greyhounds, Freedom and Casper, out for a walk all by myself. Perhaps I should set the bar higher! I'm glad I found your blog and look forward to following along.

Hiking Hounds said...

I just wanted to let you know you've been given an Inspiration Award. Stop by to see it.

I hope Riley's toe is started to feel better.

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

It's lucky for Riley that you own her, I probably wouldn't have noticed anything wrong unless she was limping badly. I envy her lovely short nails. I wish I was brave enough to use a dremel on Beryl's nails and do them weekly as that's what they need, rather than being done by a friend every 3 or 4 weeks. They never get any shorter.

I hope Riley's recovery goes smoothly and is permanent:)