Otis is a two year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was admitted to Cogges Veterinary Surgery after being hit by a car.
He was in a lot of pain, his back legs were rigid and extended, and he was unable to stand. Fortunately his breathing and circulatory systems seemed normal. He was given intravenous fluids for shock, and plenty of pain relief.
The next morning Otis was looking much happier and was now able to stand. Unfortunately, he was still not able to bear any weight on his left front leg, and was dragging it on the ground when he walked.
We sedated him for x-rays as we were concerned a fractured bone may be the cause. The x-rays showed no signs of damage to the bones of the limbs, spine or pelvis. This meant that the cause of the forelimb lameness was likely to be damage to the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a nerve junction located in the axilla or armpit. Trauma to this area can result in temporary or permanent loss of function in the forelimbs.
As Otis was bright and comfortable we sent him home with pain relief and instructions to rest. We hoped that with time, the function would return to his leg.
Unfortunately a week later Otis was still dragging his front leg. Although it did not seem to be painful, it would soon be traumatised by being scuffed along the ground, so our only option was to amputate it. Although this sounds drastic, young healthy animals adapt very well to life as a tripod!
Otis had his whole front leg including the scapula (shoulderblade) removed under general anaesthetic. He spent another night in Cogges recovering, then went home the next day with more pain relief.
The wound healed well; his sutures were removed just before Christmas.
His owner reports that Otis is doing really well!