Sunday, July 31, 2011

It Starts With a Frisbee

As you know, Riley suffered a hock joint fracture.  The story begins last Tuesday when I had quickly worked the girls on weave poles and was finishing up with a game of fetch.  Riley had caught and returned her frisbee several times.  I am always so cautious about toe injuries since they are so common with greyhounds.  I like that I can throw the frisbee and the dogs often can catch it mid stride.  But while everyone else allows the frisbee to come down, Riley likes to go after it and jumps quite high to do so.

On our last throw, Riley jumped up to catch her frisbee and came down on her hind legs like she normally does.  There was nothing awkward about it except that I heard a "click".  No verbal complaints from Riley, but it was obviously very painful and she was not willing to bear any weight.

I saw that nothing was visibly broken.  I was hoping she would just walk out of it, but after giving her a minute there was no change.  I was pretty sure it had to be a fracture since I had heard the "click".  Damn it!

I loaded Riley into the van at 6:00 PM and called my vet to see if there was any chance of getting in that evening.  I was too late and my vet is off on Tuesdays anyway so it was worth waiting till morning.  However, I was on my way to my agility instructor's field to meet a new canine chiropractor. 

Dr. N gave Riley a quick "field" examination and declared that she thought it was a torn ACL in her knee.  I was very disappointed by this news as I would rather deal with a fracture (at least I thought I did) than a torn knee ligament.  Bones often heal quicker and easier than soft tissues.
 Can you find the bone chip?
For comparison sake, here is an x-ray of the uninjured hock joint.
The next morning, I took Riley to see my vet.  Dr. C followed me out to the parking lot to get Riley and in a 1 minute "parking lot" examination stated there was nothing wrong with Riley's knee, but that her hock was the source of the problem.  We took her inside for x-rays. 
The bone chip is inside the "V" point.

Riley was wonderful for x-rays.  Dr. C allowed me to help position her for each x-ray and to feed treats.  The x-rays exposed a bone chip in her hock and Dr. C felt it would require surgery.  He was not sure whether it should be screwed in or taken out so he referred me to an orthopedic specialist.