In this Waggy Tale we meet Lynne and her 10-year-old Blue Brindle Whippet, Merlin.
Merlin has been a part of Lynne’s family since he was just 8 weeks old and is big brother to 6-year-old Whippet Skye.
‘He enjoys nothing better than running free, which is just what he was doing on Friday 23rd February 2018. He was really enjoying doing laps along with 9 other Whippets, he suddenly pulled up short and held up his right hind leg.’
‘We initially thought he had pulled a muscle which is quite a common thing. He did not cry when we massaged it and so after returning home we continued to manipulate it gently, again he was stoic and did not complain.’
‘24 hours later we began to be concerned, he was hopping and in obvious distress. We contacted our Vet, but it was switched through to an emergency service approximately 20 miles away. It was around 5pm by the time we reached the vet, at first glance the vet thought he had broken his knee and needed to do X-rays. We left him feeling anxious and beating ourselves up because we had waited. They managed to X-ray him under sedation, so he didn’t have to have an anesthetic.’
‘They rang us back about 8.30pm with good and bad news. The good news was he hadn’t broken his knee, the bad was he’d ruptured his Cruciate Ligament and torn both knee ligaments. They gave him pain relief and advised us we would probably need an Orthopedic Specialist to repair the damage.’ Explains Lynne.
Lynne took Merlin to his regular vet, who confirmed the emergency vet’s diagnosis. Luckily for Merlin, his regular vet specialised in cruciate repairs.
Merlin was operated on and the surgery went well. The vet called Lynne shortly after to explain that he had pinned Merlin’s knee and although he had initially wanted to try and repair the Cruciate with Merlin’s own tissue, this hadn’t been possible, so the wire technique was used.
‘Merlin remained at the surgery overnight, so they could ensure he was pain free. It was a very long 24 hours without him. He came home the next day, and although he was looking very sorry for himself, he did not make a sound and continued to be very brave.’
‘We put a puppy pen up to confine him and ensure he rested. He was happy to stay there, and we thought he would be eating like normal within a couple of days. However, we struggled to get him to eat anything at all, both Whippets are raw fed, but he would not touch any of it, not even fresh cooked chicken or the smelliest of dog food. It was difficult getting his pain medication down him because he wasn’t eating.’ Explains Lynne.
Lynne took Merlin back to the Vet a few days later for a checkup. The Vet was very pleased with Merlin’s recovery but needed him to eat to ensure his muscles had chance to build again. Lynne eventually coaxed Merlin into eating Pate, and he was soon back to his normal self, eating anything served.
‘We were concerned about the cost as although we had a Buddies Pet Insurance policy, Merlin is over 9 years old, so we thought the process of claiming may be difficult. The claim was straight forward and dealt with swiftly.’
‘His scar was large due to both injuries, however 8weeks later and it’s hardly visible. Our Vet did an amazing job and Merlin’s stitches came out 10 days after the surgery.’
‘His recovery is ongoing and will be slow. The first 4-5 weeks he continued to hop on three legs, but gradually he has started to walk on four legs. He will however still hop if he wants to go at any speed. We are building his own exercise up gradually and he will not have free running for some time yet. He is having Hydro Therapy, and this is beginning to strengthen his leg and build muscle.’ Adds Lynne.