Eleven hours ago our 80 pound dog, Oscar, put both his front paws through a small pane of glass in a set of french doors which resulted in lacerations to the "back" of both front legs. Thankfully we were home and reacted quickly by summoning our neighbor who is an exotic pet veterinarian. She was able to wrap up both legs and call ahead to the ER vet. Even with this quick reaction Oscar still lost a lot of blood and did pretty serious damage to one of his legs. The ER vet was able to repair the severed (partially or completely, they did not provide specifics) muscle, tendon and artery and we were able to bring him home about six hours ago. Now what?
I asked about after care, rehabilitation, and what to expect but the ER vet was not very clear, nor informative. I had to ask leading questions and had no real vocabulary for this as I wasn't knowledgable about canine anatomy. The vet who operated on him told us that the bandages should stay on at least 24 hours but could come off after. We asked if we should keep him as immobilized as possible and she said he could walk if he tolerated it and not a lot else. I finally asked if this would affect his gait/ability to walk and she said "well yeah, this was a really serious injury. That's why it took so long. He severed a pretty significant artery as well as the muscle belly clear to the bone." She went on to say all sorts of really gross things about the amount of blood he was losing, etc.
Ultimately after getting Oscar home I realized that in the discharge paperwork we didn't even get any notes about the procedure. I started researching online and I can't find much about muscle/tendon/arterial severing in a front leg, but there's lots of stuff about hind legs. Lots of it sounds like the after care and rehabilitation is much more serious and lengthy than this ER vet was indicating. There's lots of talk about casts, splints and immobilizers and all our dog has is bandages!
Our plan is to call the regular vet in the morning and explain what happened and schedule a follow up visit, have the ER vet send over their notes and hopefully this will result in us having more knowledge by the afternoon but I'm completely stressed about the best way to care for him. He woke up whining three hours ago so we gave him one of the pain pills, which required food and water - lots of water, he drank tons of it. Then two hours ago he was whining again and I had to help him outside by slipping a belt around his chest to try to keep weight off his front legs. Of course that was a disaster and he wouldn't go while trussed up like that, but did eventually hobble off a few feet to do his business. Then I helped him back in the same way.
Have you experienced something similar with a dog? What was the prognosis? How did things turn out? If your dog is/was big and heavy how did you help him during the early stages? Any tips, thoughts, warnings we should be aware of?
Obligatory pics pic1
, and after his trip to the ER tonight: pic3