Saturday, April 10, 2010

Poor Pup

Well, I started this blog after inspiration from Tammy @ Fairlight Farms. I purchased our starter flock from her, and I really thought my first blog would be about my sheep... and the waiting, waiting and more waiting for my 2 ewes to lamb for the first time. But, oh no! This blog is to be about my poor pup, Brim. He's our 2 year old LGD, more of a ranch dog really seeing as our farm is small, and he usually sleeps in the front yard instead of a pasture. AND, he's a loving, gentle teddy bear with everyone, except the cat... he's just not a big fan of cats.

Anyhow, back to the "poor pup" part. Easter Sunday Brim came limping onto our back porch where our girls were playing. My heart sank. Not putting weight on his front left paw, some apparent swelling about 1/3 of the way up his ulnar/radius bones. Uh-oh... hope, pray, please... I checked him over.. just hoping to find a cut, a burr, torn toenail. Nope. Alright, it's Sunday, and we were just getting ready to go over to family's for Easter slash nephew's Birthday party. At this point I'm really hoping that it's a sprain, and when I get home I'm going to find him putting some weight on that foot. No such luck. Once we were home I put the kids to bed and ran outside to check on Brim. He came hobbling up to me, whimpering. Not good. I gave him some Etogesic, the pain killer I give to my old Golden Retriever for his arthritis, petted him for awhile as he lay on his dog bed on the front porch and instructed him to take it easy for the night. Yeah, I "instructed" him. He's one of those really smart dogs with almost human eyes, that just seems to understand what I say or want most of the time. In the morning, he was laying on the front porch patiently waiting for me to fix him. So, off to the vet we went.

X-rays show broken ulnar and radius. How could this happen to us again? Our other dog, Liberty, broke the exact same bones last year. Seriously?? After casting, recasting, recasting yet again, and lots of recoup time, she healed... not perfectly, but she does very well as a house dog/backyard guard. Check out the pic, does it look vaguely familiar? Like a mirror image. Ugh.

O.k., so the vet thinks casting could be a good option. I leave him there so the kids and I can go home and get some sort of containment setup for Brim, seeing as he was born outside on a sheep farm and has never been couped up anywhere... he absolutely refused to come inside, even during extreme hot or cold weather. Before we even got home, the vet called me with bad news. He said he couldn't get the bones to line up and stay, not well enough for an active, working outdoor dog. He recommended another veterinarian who has done a lot of surgical pinning. My husband and I agreed that Brim is not ready for retirement, so we called the other vet. He recommended yet another vet who does plate and screw surgery. You see, an external fixeter was our first option to casting. Apparently, pins go through the leg in several places and protrude. This makes it very challenging in a large, active dog like Brim during recovery because it's so easy for them to "whack" the pins against just about anything. And with that much force it could put us back to square one. He was also concerned that as Brim starts to heal he might get away from us (he must be always contained or walked on leash during recovery) and rebreak leg. So, after meeting with the 3rd vet, we plan to have surgery on Brim's leg this coming Tuesday. He will insert one or two plates onto the outside of the leg and drill 6 screws into the bone. If all goes well, his bones will heal in 6 - 8 weeks. He can resume regular lifestyle at that point, but the plate will stay on another 2 or 3 months for added support while his leg strengthens. So, now we wait. He has a splint and bandages on for support and protection until surgery day. This of course must remain dry, and he must remain inactive. The first night we put him in an extra large metal cage. By morning, he was out, on his own of course. The second night he was put into the garage... by morning.... yep, he was out again. Friggin' Houdini! Alright, after rebandaging (due to wet wrap), he was then put into our small enclosed, but well ventilated sheep stock trailer. Woo hoo! We have found the answer. During the day he is happy to sleep in the cool shade of our enclosed patio, and at night, or during rain, or if we have to leave the house for awhile, he sleeps in the trailer. You're never prepared for these types of things until they happen, right?

Well, my hubby's at work, the kids are clamoring for my attention, and there are more eggs in the barn to collect. My next post will either be about Brim or lambs! Should we bet which one will be first? I'm betting Brim, but who knows? My ewes just aren't saying. :)


  1. Hi Kim,
    Welcome to blog land! Your blog looks spiffy, but I'm sorry to hear of the terrible troubles of Brim. How in the world on these big dogs doing that? Goodness. I sure hope that the surgery and recoup. go smoothly for all of you. That dandy little sheep/goat trailer would be just the trick!

  2. Tammy, I guess I didn't say how they did it. Well, I just don't know. We have a lot of ditches and holes, etc. around here. It's suspected that both of them were running and tripped up in ditches. Liberty no longer has free run, due to neighbors' calves she was trying to play with. And Brim, well, after all of this is done he will be confined to the 1.5 acres the sheep and chickens are within, hopefully. We plan to fortify our fencing. This should keep everybody out of trouble, we hope. :)

  3. Tammy, by the way. Check out Pixie's color. Still think iset and not shaela?

  4. Love your blog, sis. So nice to have our own little country farmer in this burb family. Love you all!

  5. Kim,
    This is so awesome! I love that you are sharing the country adventures with all us city folk!
    Love you!
    Aunt Pam

  6. Steph & Pam, thanks for checkin' out the blog. Aunt P., do you miss living in the country?