Posted By: Greg - Vet

Daisy's Journey from Roadside Tragedy to Triumph

At Shepton and Wells Vets, we often find ourselves at the forefront of emergency care, and sadly, road traffic accidents involving pets are not uncommon. In this challenging scenario, our commitment to comprehensive care and advanced medical interventions is exemplified.

Unfortunately, pets involved in road traffic accidents (RTAs) are a fairly common emergency that tend to be presented to the veterinary practice. The majority of the animals affected are cats, due to their small size and wandering nature. However, occasionally dogs are also involved in collisions with vehicles on the roads – and often major, dramatic injuries result, often including extensive wounds and broken bones. This was exactly the case with Daisy the American bulldog who had a severe, deep wound affecting most of her back leg, and a broken bone in her foot – her injuries were so severe she took over 6 weeks to fully recover.

Daisy the two-year-old dog was out on a walk with her owner when all of a sudden, she was involved in a collision with a van travelling at high speed. The force knocked her onto the road surface and caused her to be dragged along the tarmac after a wheel had been driven over her. Daisy’s owner immediately rushed her to the vets one lunchtime where she was found to be in quite a state of shock and bleeding from a significant wound to the inside of her lower right back leg – so severe that much of her skin had been removed by the incident. The damage was so deep that her muscles were traumatised and a broken bone was on show – this is known as an ‘open’ fracture. This type of wound is known as a ‘degloving’ injury and can also be seen when a motorcyclist falls off their bike in a traffic accident. Her wound and underlying musculature was heavily contaminated with material from the road surface. Understandably at the time she was brought in she could not walk and was panting heavily.

Daisy was lucky to be alive given the size and speed of the van, but her leg was in serious jeopardy – such a severe injury would often warrant amputation, however her owners wanted to save her leg in whatever way possible. Initially, Daisy was given immediate pain relief and fluid therapy to stabilise her current shock from the accident. When she was a little more comfortable, X-rays were taken, and her wound was cleaned. Amazingly, X-rays of her back leg, hips and spine only showed the one broken bone that could already be seen – a metatarsal (foot) bone. This was also not a weight-bearing bone which meant that repair of this fracture was not crucial to her recovery – so surprisingly good news!

A strong painkiller intravenous infusion was started as her wound was initially covered with a dressing by the veterinary nurses. This dressing was impregnated with manuka honey to draw out the impurities from her heavily contaminated wound, and alongside these antibiotics were started, initially a ‘strong’ intravenous version. Vets, nurses, and owners would have to wait and see how the wound responded in the coming days to daily dressings, to determine the next move and the outcome of the wound, and her leg – surgery was not possible initially due to the level of contamination and the sheer size of the wound.

Daisy was hospitalised overnight, continuing her pain relief infusion and her dressing was changed the following day by the veterinary nurses whilst under sedation, with her wound being checked by the vet. After 24 hours, her wound was looking a lot healthier. It was then redressed in a similar fashion. Within 48 hours, Daisy started using the leg well, became bright and back to her normal self, and developed a good appetite. At this point, she could be discharged home overnight, before returning to continue her daily dressing changes.

After 5 days, Daisy’s wound was progressing as well as could be hoped for, and the style of her dressings was changed, with nurse dressing changes reduced to every other day frequency. Slowly, but surely, her wound started to ‘granulate’ – showing signs of healing and shrinking down in size. A longer-term plan could then be made for her wound going forward – whilst it was presumed initially that surgery or even amputation may be required, as she was healing so well, this was not going to be necessary anymore, and several more weeks of dressing changes were all she needed to make a full recovery.

Eventually, Daisy finished her antibiotic course and then painkillers, and when she started to chew her dressing off, it was time to leave her wound ‘free to the air’. The broken fragment of bone was removed whilst under her final sedated dressing change, and with the bandage off and this fragment extracted, her wound healed even faster. Come the 6 weeks mark, all Daisy had to show for her ordeal was a small scab – amazing progress due to a dedicated veterinary nursing team and from a very brave and tolerant dog!

- Vet Greg

Daisy's remarkable recovery stands testament to the collaborative efforts of our veterinary team, devoted nursing staff, and Daisy's resilient spirit. At Shepton and Wells Vets, we continue to strive for excellence in veterinary care, ensuring that every pet receives the attention and expertise they deserve, even in the face of life-altering incidents. Daisy's journey is a beacon of hope, demonstrating the impact of skilled care on the path to recovery.

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