Several of our clients at Royal City Animal Hospital have been asking about the “contraption” that Teya has on her back leg. As you may remember, she had surgery a while ago to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon. (In horses, this injury is referred to as a “bowed tendon”.) In order to allow the tendon to heal after surgery there must be minimal extension or flexion of her ankle. The best way to achieve this is to use an “external fixation device” affectionately referred to as an Ex-Fix!
As you can see from the picture, an Ex-Fix is a series of pins that go through the bone in her lower leg. The pins are joined together by rods that are outside her leg (i.e. “external” as opposed to an “internal” fixation where there would be a metal plate such as that used in a fracture repair.) This allows the hock (ankle) to be held in relative flexion so that there is only a small amount of tension on the weakened tendon. Her knees and her hips are fully mobile so that she can still walk, run, jump, scratch herself etc. Of course, she is not supposed to be doing any running, or jumping, but sometimes it is hard to stop her!
Although the Ex-Fix looks ungainly Teya has tolerated it very well and it has actually allowed her much more freedom than a splint or a cast, which would immobilize the whole leg. There aren’t the problems with pressure sores, moisture and frequent bandages changes that you have with a splint or a cast.
The other big advantage with an Ex-Fix is that it can be adjusted to allow more or less flexion or extension as healing progresses. She saw her surgeon at the referral hospital yesterday and she was very pleased with the way the leg is healing. Our next recheck is in a month, at which time adjustments may be made to change the angle of the hock.
Unfortunately, this type of injury requires a long recovery period (usually 6 – 8 months). Once the Ex-Fix has been removed (hopefully in another 8 weeks) we’ll start her rehabilitation; our goal is that she can resume training this spring! We hope she makes a full recovery so that she can get back to retrieving which is what she loves to do most of all!!
|Royal City Animal Hospital: Teya|