The pickles that puppies can get into: Why Labrador puppies ought to stick to playing with toilet rolls and not sprinklers!

6th April 2021

Bonnie abandoned playing with toilet rolls and needed to be rushed to us after having a fight with a garden sprinkler.

The curious 8 week old black labrador pup had jumped on top of the sprinkler and became trapped within the sprinkler’s mechanism.  By struggling to free herself, Bonnie renched her left front paw against the swing arm of the sprinkler which left her extremely painful.  

Bonnie’s owners immediately drove Bonnie to the practice where she was given pain relief and X-rayed.  The X-rays revealed that Bonnie had broken four of her metacarpal (toe) bones. 

The surgery required to achieve a complete heal was extremely specialised and needed referral.  Due to Bonnie’s small size and young age, it was extremely important that the surgical repair would enable the young pup’s bones to heal correctly, allowing for no gait abnormalities as she grew into an adult dog.

Bonnie was referred to a specialist orthopaedic team based at Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Laindon. 

On assessment by the surgical team, Bonnie needed 1.25mm diameter pins placed in three of the four broken bones.  The fourth was fractured in a different way and could be healed by way of a splinted bandage which would stay in place for 7 days.

Veronica Rodino Tilve, the surgical resident who had assisted with Bonnie’s operation, reported that Bonnie’s anaesthetic and surgery had gone extremely well.  Bonnie was kept over night at the veterinary specialists to keep her pain free and comfortable and she was discharged from hospital just four days after the injury had occurred with pain relief and aftercare instructions including strict cage rest for 8 weeks whilst the pinned fractures healed.  6 weeks later Bonnie was re-xrayed and assessment by the orthopaedic team showed the good news that the metacarpal fractures had fully healed.  The continued care instructions were that Bonnie could gently have her exercise increased across the following 4 weeks.

It was during this period of increased exercise that the owners noticed that Bonnie had begun limping.  Bonnie was re-examined by Southfields and it was discovered that one of the pins had moved slightly.  On discussion it was decided to remove this pin in case this was the cause of the lameness.  To do this Bonnie would however need a second anaesthetic.  This was a difficult decision for the owners but eventually it was decided that this would be the best chance for Bonnie to have a pain free future.  The pin was removed and again Bonnie coped very well with the anaesthetic much to the delight of the surgical team.  Since then Bonnie has moved from strength to strength and now races around as though nothing ever happened.