Posted January 12, 2023

Playtime went awry for Max, an 8-week-old German Shepherd. He was accidentally trod on by his 80-pound big sister, Marley, while the two dogs frolicked together at home.

Max Gsd Broken Tibia
Max shortly before surgery at the MSU Veterinary Medical Center, after a playtime accident led to a fracture in his leg.

“Max had thought he was bigger than what he was,” says Katie Cole, Max’s owner. “He and Marley were playing, he tumbled under Marley, and as she was walking, she stepped on his leg.”

Cole immediately suspected a broken leg, which was confirmed by an x-ray at the MSU Veterinary Medical Center. Specifically, his right tibia had suffered a fracture.

“Due to the type of fracture Max sustained, surgery was recommended to stabilize the tibia to prevent further displacement while it healed and allow him a quicker return to function than bandaging would have provided,” says Dr. Danielle Marturello, the orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital who treated Max.

Marturello and the surgery team used a minimally invasive surgical method. Two small incisions were created in Max’s leg, which allowed a plate to be affixed. Fluoroscopy (a type of real-time, video x-ray) was used to confirm that the implant was placed appropriately, and the incisions were then sewn shut. After the procedure, further x-rays demonstrated that Max’s tibia had proper anatomical alignment and excellent positioning of the plate.

Max Recheck Web
Max and his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Danielle Marturello, at his one-week recheck appointment.

“The staff and doctor were amazing, and did a great job keeping us updated and in the loop with Max’s care,” says Cole.

Back to Puppy Playtime

Puppies are rambunctious, and Max is no exception. A puppy’s vigor can be a double-edged sword when it comes to injuries and illness; though it can aid in a fast and healthy recovery process, it also can make it easier for them to re-injure themselves.

When it was time for Max to return home, he was offered to leave bandage-less or to be given a light, supportive bandage to wear for a few days. “Due to his rambunctious nature, Max’s owner elected for the added support over the weekend,” says Marturello. “Max returned three days later for bandage removal.”

Fortunately, re-injury was not the case for Max. And thanks to the surgery being conducted minimally invasively (which means a quick healing of the incision sites), the prognosis for Max to return quickly to puppy playtime was excellent.

Max First Snow
Max, now a healthy juvenile dog, enjoys his first snowfall at home.

“Max was anticipated to heal within a week, as long as he was adequately activity-restricted,” says Marturello.

Activity restriction is important for recovery of orthopedic injuries. After a surgical procedure, puppies and young dogs especially need to be monitored to prevent running, jumping, and strenuous activity that could make it harder for them to heal. It’s also important for dogs to maintain a healthy body weight in the case of orthopedic injuries.

At his one-week-post-surgery appointment, Max was already able to walk and bounce around. In the time since then, he has grown quickly.

“Max is thriving,” says Cole. “He is about half a year old, and is 50 pounds. He is very vocal, and loves to play ball with Marley. He definitely loves being babied and cuddled; stomach and ear rubs are his favorite.”

Read Max's clinical case study here.

Categories: Happy Tails