The Severely Abused Chihuahua-Pom
by Dr William Carlisle
Honey was maintained on IV fluid therapy with her pain medications being slowly and continuously infused into her vein for the first four days of her post-op period. As her appetite improved, she was transitioned to oral medications and during the next week the Kenosha Animal Hospital would be her new home. She continued to act fractious and untrusting with our staff if she needed to be handled; but during her recovery from anesthesia, I held her closely - and whenever I had an extra moment, I would talk to her – sensing that she was beginning to understand that we were trying to help her.
As much as everything seemed to be moving in the right direction, there were a few set-backs.
First, as soon as I viewed Honey’s post-op radiographs, my heart sank. While I was pleased with the fracture repair and alignment of both femurs, the location of the patellas (knee caps) along with the curvature of the upper portion of the tibias had me very concerned. They had the classic radiographic appearance of an orthopedic condition known as Medial Patellar Luxation (MPL). Honey was born with a genetic defect that causes an abnormal conformation of her knees that would eventually require surgery. Her right knee was a Grade IV/IV (with IV being the worst) and her left knee was a Grade III/IV - which could complicate her ability to properly use her hind legs at any time, especially after having major surgery as she had.
Second, when I realized that her owner had lied and Honey suffered at least three separate fractures, her ribs in late November or early in December, her left femur around the end of December and her right femur the night before she was brought to the clinic, I notified the Kenosha Police Department to report a possible animal abuse case. I know a lot of police officers and hold them and our police department in the highest regard. Unfortunately, whether dealing with animal or child abuse cases, unless there is a witness to the crime willing to come forward or the suspect confesses, it can be nearly impossible to prosecute. As they investigated the case, they were not able to find any witnesses and the people continued to lie.
The police were able to track down Honey’s first owner who had given Honey up to a new home. Honey had at least one other home before ending up with the people who brought her to the Kenosha Animal Hospital. We were initially told Honey was about a year and a half old but her actual date of birth is October 6, 2010, making her nearly four years old. Her bones will still heal well, but not as fast as if she was younger.
Third, once Honey started to stand and walk, I noted that she did not have any use of her left hind leg, despite her nerves appearing normal during surgery. She would knuckle over on her toes whenever she tried to place weight on it. Restricting her movement was becoming an issue as well and I’ll elaborate more in the next part coming in the next few weeks.
The most disturbing thing was when Honey would begin to fall asleep and enter the REM dream phase, she would start to cry and struggle, quickly escalating into screams of pain as if someone was beating her. At first it was difficult for me to comfort her out of the night terrors, but eventually she would respond to my voice and wake up. This would continue on in the weeks to come.
To be continued…