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Pet in the Spotlight – Jax


UPDATE:  Two months have passed since Jax sustained his injuries and surgical repair.   We are quite happy to report that he is up walking, playing, and acting like a relatively normal young dog.  He will still need continued rest and substantial follow up care to assess his healing fractures yet he is doing incredibly well.  Here are videos of Jax at his most recent visit:

Jax is a handsome 6 month old male heeler mix.  We met Jax in early September, after he had been hit by a car.  Fortunately, Jax did not have any internal or immediately life threatening injuries.  Unfortunately, every limb in his body was broken or fractured.  This poor guy’s injuries included a total of 7 FRACTURES:

  1. LEFT FORLIMB:  A comminuted (broken into many pieces) fracture of the left humerus.
  2. RIGHT FORELIMB:  A comminuted fracture of the right radius and ulna (forearm).
  3. RIGHT HINDLIMB:  An open (bones protruding through skin) highly communited fracture of the right tibia (shin bone).  A growth plate fracture of the right femur (thigh bone).
  4. LEFT HINDLIMB:  A comminuted fracture of the tibia (shin bone).  A comminuted fracture of the left femur (thigh bone).

Literally without a limb to stand on, Jax was in need of multiple orthopedic surgeries to give him the chance for a functional life.  Many of his fractures were complex, requiring an experienced surgeon to repair them.  Repair would take multiple surgeries and a team committed to provide pain relief, rehabilitation, and TLC 24 hours a day/7 days a week for several weeks.  Although this is something our hospital is equipped to provide, the total cost of providing this care is significant and would be cost prohibitive for many families.

After a long conversation with Dr. Smith, our orthopedic surgeon, Jax’s family thought long and hard about what they wanted to do, and eventually decided to  pursue treatment.  This was an enormous financial and emotional commitment to make, without any guarantee of a normal dog.

Jax had a total of two surgeries, each lasting 6-7 hours.  The goals of the surgery were to stabilize all of the fractures so that Jax could bear weight and walk on his legs as his fractures healed.  During the first long surgery, Dr. Smith repaired both of Jax’s forelimbs.  The next day, he performed a second lengthy surgery to repair the four fractures in his hindlimbs.  The repairs consisted of multiple bone plates, pins, and screws.  Below are pictures of the fractures before and after fixation.

Right forelimb:


Left forelimb:


Right hindlimb:


Left hindlimb:


Hardware in Jax’s hindlimbs after fixation:


After both surgeries were completed, the long process of rehabilitation and recovery began.  At first, he was very immobile and had both an intravenous and urinary catheter.  His pain management and basic daily care was demanding.  He had laser therapy daily and for the first several weeks, he had to be supported with a sling.  As he healed, he became stronger and was able to do more of the things a “normal” dog does.  After over a month of extensive care at our hospital, he finally went home to heal with his family.

Jax was extremely fortunate to have a family as committed as his willing to pursue treatment.  All of us at Best Friends Animal Hospital have come to love Jax – he truly is a special dog.  We were fortunate to be able to do what we are most passionate about – returning a healthy, healing pet to his family.