Why Miko needs your help today

Miko’s Story
deformed-limbMiko is a handsome, young German Shepherd owned by a 4th year college student from Rutgers University. When Miko was very young, about 2 months of age, he sustained a right radius and ulna fracture that was managed conservatively in a splint bandage by his local veterinarian. The fracture healed, but the growth plates were damaged and closed down prematurely, leaving Miko with an obvious and painful angular limb deformity. This deformity is characterized by severe angulation and shortening of the limb as shown.

The cost of Miko’s care for the original fracture management was in the thousands and Miko’s owner had to cover the bills with a student loan. He eventually came to NorthStar VETS and this is what happened next.

fixator-ringDr. Laura Culbert, one of the board-certified veterinary surgeons at NorthStar VETS, examined Miko in December of 2012. He had an orthopedic assessment and it was determined that the only thing that could be done was to surgically correct the angle of the bone and make the bone grow to “catch up” to his normal limb. This procedure is very complicated and expensive. It is referred to as a corrective osteotomy and distraction osteogenesis. It is accomplished by cutting the bones, straightening the leg, applying a ring fixator that is held in the bone with pins, and then the cut bones are distracted very slowly to grow bone. Miko’s owner was given an estimate and he was left with the task of finding funds to pay for Miko’s surgery. Miko’s owner was able to raise some money for Miko and then received a grant from Vet-I-Care to cover approximately 75 percent of the cost of the repair. Surgery was done on 1/25/13 by Dr. Culbert. Everything went well. The bones were straightened and then started to grow new bone to get the effected limb to match his unaffected side.

Miko-in-backyardThis is Miko in his back yard with the ring fixator on and bandaged. As you can see he is an active, playful puppy.

Things were going very well but approximately 7 weeks after the original surgery it was discovered that Miko was not growing bone fast enough. The fixator had to be removed and a large bone plate and screws had to be applied in order to hold the bones together. Miko also needed a bone graft to stimulate active bone growth.

This worked very well. Within a few weeks, Miko was home playing in his yard with a straight leg and no splint.

About 6 weeks post plating, Miko developed a draining tract at the surgery site. This indicated infection or implant loosening. He was treated with antibiotics and he did get better, but the draining tracts returned. On 6/26/13, Miko had another surgery to remove the plate and screws. Miko-German-ShepherdThe great thing at this point was that the bone had filled in well and the leg was strong. The plate and screws were removed so that all would eventually heal. Miko was seen on 7/3/13 and looked great. He will be in a splint bandage for another few weeks, but he should be on his way to a complete recovery.

How you can help
Because Miko encountered complications that required two subsequent surgeries after the first, the cost to repair this deformity is more than originally expected. With all of the help that Vet-I-Care and Northstar Vets has given Miko’s owner, he still has a need. If you can help Miko and his owner get back to a more normal existence and help them with this debt, they would be forever grateful. If you would like to make a donation directly for Miko, please contact Eileen Schuck at NorthStar VETS at eschuck@northstarvets.com or at 609-259-8300.

Laura Culbert, DVM, DACVSLaura Culbert, DVM, DACVS
Dr. Laura Culbert has been part of the surgical team at NorthStar VETS since 2006. She received her veterinary degree from Cornell University in 1992. From there she 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. Her resident project focused on neurologic diseases in dogs and complications associated with steroid therapy. Dr. Culbert’s areas of interest in veterinary surgery include, but are not limited to, cardiothoracic surgery, oncologic surgery, plastic surgery and fracture repair. In addition to her many talents, 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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