Northern Dogs Project: Update and DNA Test for Gracie
So I took Gracie to the orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion about her broken leg. From my vet’s x-rays, you could see that the bone had snapped -- basically in the middle of the thigh bone -- and knit back together over the past few months (although not at the normal angle). Referral clinics are neat because you know the cases in the waiting room are extraordinary – torn ligaments, deformed limbs, heart conditions, neurological issues, etc. I was interested in what the surgeon said but Gracie was just excited to make friends with the other dogs around her. She now weighs in at a whopping 33 pounds, certainly up from the skin and bones of her street days. She passed time by playing with the yellow lab to our right who was in for a torn cruciate.
The clinic staff filed over to ask “what kind of dog is she?!” I don’t know if they say that to everyone but Gracie does tend to get raves wherever she goes so I’ll assume they don’t gush over everyone. I was telling one of the vet techs about Gracie when she said, “You run the Northern Dogs Project! My best friend went north with you…. And remember Boxie?!” she asked excitedly. I am, she did (Lori was actually the first vet tech with the project), and absolutely I remember Boxie – who wouldn’t?! (she’s actually from the same community as Gracie -- check back to read about Boxie’s story).
We were just wrapping up our trip down memory lane when Gracie’s doctor called us in. I bid adieu and headed into the examination room to hear Gracie’s prognosis. I didn’t want her to say that we should re-break the leg and set it properly because that kind of recovery is tough and long. The surgeon clipped up the x-rays and stood back, oooohing and aaaahing at what she saw. It’s not graphic like the shattered femur that came south a few years ago but it’s an interesting case because normally a vet would have set the fracture rather than the break being left to heal on its own.
She explained the break. If you look down at your thigh, imagine your thigh bone breaking out the front of your leg. That’s how Gracie’s leg broke. The white areas on the x-rays showed calcified bone and the grey area in the middle showed bone that was basically in the process of calcifying. She said that Gracie’s body was doing a fine job of healing itself and that if you x-rayed the leg in a few months, the grey area would be white = strong bone.
Because no growth plates were involved, she thought Gracie’s leg may even catch up in length to the other one. All in all, nothing to do but keep her relatively quiet (easier said than done) and let her body continue to heal itself. And, yes, because so many people have asked I did send her DNA in. I’m taking bets on her lineage so feel free to let me know what she looks like to you (other than Great Canadian Mutt).
For more information about the International Fund for Animal Welfare efforts to help dogs and cats around the world visit http://www.ifaw.org