NorthStar VETS Cool Case Patches

The team at NorthStar VETS is doing innovative and amazing things every day as they work to advance the level of care available to your pet. This series of posts highlights cool cases at NorthStar VETS and the types of things done to save pets and improve their quality of life. These are cases using innovative and cutting-edge medical techniques, and/or stories of pets beating the odds. Read the story below in the doctor’s own words about the case. This is the story of Patches, a patient of Dr. Laura Culbert of our Surgery team, and how she repaired this dog’s fractured elbow.

About Patches
Patches presented to the NorthStar VETS Emergency service with unknown trauma presumed to be a hit by car case. The one-year-old spayed female cat sustained chest trauma and a fracture of the left olecranon.

How things went for Patches
The chest trauma caused a mild pneumothorax (air in the chest cavity), a pneumomediastinum (air in the space between the lungs) and subcutaneous emphysema (air under the skin). She was also very anemic. Patches spent 2 days in ICU recovering from her chest trauma and building up her red blood cells. As soon as she was stable for anesthesia, she had her fracture repaired.

An olecranon fracture is a fracture of the proximal (upper) portion of the ulna. This type of fracture is categorized as an avulsion fracture. An avulsion fracture is a fracture of a bone that has a muscular tendon attached to the bone. In this case it was the triceps muscle tendon of insertion. The muscular attachment acts to pull the fractured bone away from the point of reduction. Therefore these fractures require surgical fixation for the bone to heal. The hardware that we utilize for the repair will counteract the force of the muscular pull on the bone. Dr. Culbert used a simple pin and wire to achieve this.

This repair is called a tension band fixation. The pin and the wire are placed in such a way that they counteract or neutralize the force of the muscular contraction of the triceps muscle. This causes the triceps muscle to stretch back to its normal length and allows the fracture to be reduced so that the bone can heal.

Patches will have to be very calm and quiet while she heals. She will have an X-ray at 6 weeks post-op and if the fracture is healed, she will be allowed normal activity.

Learn more about the Surgery service at NorthStar VETS

Laura Culbert, DVM, MS, DACVSLaura Culbert, DVM, MS, DACVS
Dr. Culbert has been part of the surgical team at NorthStar VETS since 2006. She received her veterinary degree from Cornell University in 1992, and completed an internship and surgical residency at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. She has conducted research in the areas of developmental biophysiology and muscular biochemistry, and her residency project focused on neurologic diseases in dogs and complications associated with steroid therapy. Dr. Culbert’s areas of interest in veterinary surgery include cardiothoracic surgery, oncologic surgery, plastic surgery and fracture repair, and she offers the tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) procedure for large dogs and cranial cruciate ligament repair. Dr. Culbert has worked with various rescue groups over the years including Greyhound, Australian Shepherd, Jack Russell Terrier, Golden Retriever and Boxer rescue.

The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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