Puppy has a broken leg, has to be crated for another 3 weeks… Help

  • Hi,
    my little boy was trodden on and broke his ulna and radius. He's had surgery, had a plate pinned in and is wearing a splint for another week. For the entire period (4 weeks total), he has to be crated with less than 70 minutes total short leash slow walking a day.

    The major problem is, he was being eased into crate training and was good for 30 minutes or so. He is now being put in there for most of the day and he hates it. He chews on the bars and hurts his teeth, we've tried preventing this by lining it with aviary mesh, but despite me saying "we're over engineering it!", he's ripping it down faster than we can repair it…

    Does anyone have any suggestions? We're trying to mentally entertain him, but he just doesn't want to pay attention, all he wants to do is run (good that he's not in pain anymore, but it's so hard containing him). We give him kongs, pigs ears, bones, we wrestle with him lightly on the bed and take him to pee hourly. He still whinges and self harms...

  • Why do you have to keep him crated? Can he sit by you and you can watch him for most of the day? There was another dog on here a month ago with a broken leg, maybe you can find those posts and see if there is any info or advise in there you can use?

  • Thank you for your reply. I am fortunately at home quite a bit for the healing period, so we do sit with him as much as possible. It's just that he has zero pain and is wanting to jump off my lap and run around like a puppy does, so crating him at least ensured he wouldn't hurt himself. Even with 2 square meters of floor space, he'll manage to get a few gallops in and circle around like a loon.

    The resolve we've arrived at is to ask our vet about mild sedatives. He has been given 20 days worth of ACP. Today is the first day of using them and he looks to be doing well, not knocked out, just relaxed and a bit sleepy.

    Was that Nui? I'll have a read through, but I don't think it was so much an advice thread since his owner works at a vet.

  • maybe some nosework training to occupy his brain?

  • Thanks Agile, I hadn't come across nosework before, but I think it is definitely something he could manage. We've been hiding treats already, but it'll be cool to go through some structured routines to track progress.

  • yes, i think the key is to tire him w/o lots of physical demands. a trainer friend of mine highly recommended this course for nosework:

  • Thanks again Agile, I'm giving the sample course a run at night when the ACP tablets wear off.

    It sounds like Nui has a bit more common sense than Taco! I think a lot of the concern for Taco's surgeon comes from Taco being so small, he's all legs at the moment and they're very thin. Also, if the healing process doesn't go smoothly, it could result in malformed growth - especially since the fractures are so close to his growth plates. Whereas a fully grown B is more likely to just need longer with the splint.

    That said, we have softened our approach to crating, he usually lays down on the floor if we're just hanging around which is better than him flipping out in the crate. And you're right that locking him up will make a B hate the crate… Hopefully we can make good on any crate trauma this fracture might have caused him - He starts an obedience course and private lessons next month.

  • try this too:


    i really think every dog should be at least started on this program. just sort of modify the tasks for the space you have. (i'm not sure what space Dr overall was using - basketball court??) I always used a down instead of a sit. It really is nice. Years later, I use my mat in Z's freestyle class when we are doing exercises w/o the dog. Just put her on her mat and she's pretty good about just staying there, knows her job and where she's supposed to be. And it helped so much in doing a start line stay in agility training and helped in teaching her front crosses, etc.

    of course things like kongs and long lasting chews work too. could you freeze treats in ice cubes? Z! enjoys watching her football team with her daddy, so that kills a few hours on sunday. She usually is in the room i'm in, but last Sunday she did NOT want to help me do quilting and sat in the TV room watching her football team. Today she helped me play with fabric as her team played on the evening schedule. You can see her suited up here:

    notice the toe nails - now THAT'S dedication! And on sundays she's an ORANGE and white basenji.

  • Sorry to drag up an old thread. I thought I would give a little update on Taco. He had to be kept in his splint for about 5 weeks and then slowly eased into normal walking with just the plate.

    It has now been 4 1/2 months or so since I first asked for help. His bones have healed but because he was kept dormant for so long his muscles on his broken side are severely depleted compared to his left side. His toes are flatter and sit lower as the tendons are lax, this gives him a limp. The surgeon who performed his surgery checked him over recently and said that maybe his right leg is shorter than his left, but I think it is more to do with the lax toes.

    I am hopeful that within a year or so his muscles will be even and his tendons tight. For anyone who searches these forums looking for advice, I would strongly advise against dramatic surgery and other options that incapacitate your dog to the point of major muscle atrophy. The ACP was very effective. (This isn't to criticise the care Taco was given, it was a difficult decision and given the lasting effects I feel we made have chosen the wrong path).

  • How old was he when he broke the leg? And if under 9 month to a year, it is most likely that the broken leg will be shorter than the other one… this is due to the fact that the growth plate in that leg close too early due to the surgery. I doubt that the toes will return to normal either....

    I had that happen with my Maggii when she broke her leg in two places at 5 months and had a plate put in, however in her case since we still wanted to show her, she was put in a 1/2 cast, one that cradled the leg from the back and was like a spoon where the foot was. Toes were basically visable and so maintained their arch because she could still move them. However, her growth plate in that leg closed 2 weeks after the surgery and then she needed another surgery to re-open the grow plate.

  • Hi Tanza, Taco was just under 4 months old when it happened. The surgeon said that damage to the growth plate would only occur if the pin went through the plate, which post-op x-rays showed they did not. Though as I said above, she did suggest that a damaged growth plate may nonetheless be the cause of his limp. It's hard to tell without further x-rays, something we may do down the track.

    Since writing the above I have noticed small improvements in Taco, I guess he's having a final growth spurt (being >8 months old now). Whether he gets to a stage where he has no limp or not, I guess only time will tell. But I think his foot is improving as is his shoulder musculature - his foreleg particularly has a lot of catching up to do compared to his other one, so I hold out hope he'll continue to build up and tighten up his foot.

    Yesterday at the dog park he kept pace with an Italian Greyhound for a few short bursts, so I guess he's not too invalid.

    Edit: I just had a look at your website, it looks like Maggii has no lasting damage either! Beautiful girl 🙂

  • Maggii did not have any lasting damage…. she lived with the plate in her lower front leg her entire life with no effects either in the show ring or on the lure coursing field. However.... had we not had the second surgery for the growth plate, that would not have been the case. Glad to hear that he is doing well

  • Hrrrm, our surgeon didn't even offer re-opening the growth plate, so I guess it's not an option. Probably too old. She did mention that dogs can have up to 20% or so leg length difference and have only a slight disability. Whereas humans can be severely disabled with 6% difference. So I guess, she's saying it's not a big deal.

  • The surgery to reopen the growth plate was 2 wks after the first surgery. We had x-rays 4 times in those two weeks to keep an eye on the growth plate condition. Her surgeon said that usually if the growth plate is going to close early, it will happen usually within 2 wks of the trauma

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