3 year old sable and white maleRequires expensive medical treatment in foster care







New to Rescue -- June 4, 2005!

Atlas is three-year-old intact sable male owner surrender with a broken leg that has healed incorrectly due to neglect - said to be financial constraints of the owners. At this time, we are unsure if the leg can be saved.

Atlas was said to have been hit by a truck in April breaking his front leg. His leg was cast at the time of the accident, but when the cast came off about a week after the accident, the owners did not have the money to bring him to the vet to have it re-cast. Therefore, Atlas has been without a cast for close to six weeks. Last week the owners contacted Minnesota Wisconsin Collie Rescue for help with this dog.

MWCR has just taken Atlas into foster and he has been seen by an orthopedic surgeon to assess his situation. Atlas will need surgery and rehab because the leg is broken in 2 areas. Without a cast for so long, the leg has begun to heal incorrectly and the muscles and tendons have begun to contract. The vet feels that with care and surgery he can be fixed and is hoping to save the leg.

Although the vet is giving MWCR a discount, it will require expensive treatment for this dog. MWCR has treated 5 collies for heartworm already this year and has another collie needing surgery for hip dysplasia.

Although obviously in a lot of pain, this Collie has a great personality and temperament.

Update – Friday, June 9

Atlas' broken leg was mended with a plate and 7 screws. The alignment looks very good and his leg will be almost normal length. A bone graft was harvested from Atlas' shoulder to aid in the stimulation of the mending process of the bone. One of the problems resulting from his leg having been broken for so long, is that the healing process of the bone has a tendency to shut down because the leg was not in a cast and the break was flexing. The flexing action at the break prevents the formation of calcium, which is what mends the break.

As a result, the body eventually gives up the attempt to heal the break The ends of the bone, where the marrow is located had already sealed up and Jeff (the vet) drilled holes to reopen the ends. Jeff said that he thinks the prognosis is good, and there is a pretty good chance that with the bone graft, the healing process will start and the break will mend. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that he is right! The fact that Atlas is a strong young dog is in his favor.

Poor guy is in a lot of pain today after surgery.

Update – Monday, June 13

Dr. Jeff is keeping Atlas for at least another day. Atlas threw up last night so Dr. Jeff did some blood work and Atlas' kidney output just doesn't look right. Dr. Jeff is adjusting the meds (pain killers and anti-biotics). When told that we were surprised to see the photos of Atlas without a cast, Dr. Jeff responded that it is because he's got that great big plate in there instead. Dr. Jeff says he'll put a soft cast/splint on the leg when Atlas comes into foster. At this point, he says Atlas doesn't do well in the Elizabethan collar (says he gets that "depressed collie" look that alot of us have seen in our own collies). But without the E collar, Atlas is a licker and just works and works on the sore spots. Dr. Jeff said he could even see some evidence of licking/sore spots left over from the original cast!

Oh, and Atlas is gradually learning to walk again on the leg, now that it is strengthened by the plate.

Update – June 21, 2005

Atlas is doing great!!! He seemed to have reached a turning point on Sunday. He started limping less and it appeared that the swelling went down quite a bit that day. I did try using cold compresses on him Friday and Saturday so I hope that helped him a little. He still has that strange, rolling gait. I think a major part of it is that his shoulder muscles adapted to his walking on the broken leg and now they need to strengthen and stretch out to regain a normal gait. (that's just my unprofessional opinion though).

Atlas goes back to the vet on Thursday for some updated X-rays and blood tests. So far, the worst part of Atlas' recovery is the medications. He gets antibiotics three times/day and then he gets two pills twice/day for his tummy troubles, with one of the pills being given a half hour before the other. As of Sunday (see, it WAS a turning point) Atlas caught on to the fact that I was hiding a pill inside those tasty pieces of cheese!

Atlas loves being groomed. His ruff is looking pretty fine but there's still plenty of mats left on his tummy. And this boy is a contortionist (I thought of calling him Houdini but it was like a stretch...pun intended). He sleeps in that typical collie way, with his back legs spread apart (my Sunny used to do that in his younger years). But then he'll roll his upper half over in the opposite direction. So I'll look down and there's Atlas' head facing the couch with his front legs resting against the couch, but his rear legs splayed out facing the fireplace in the opposite direction!  ("S"-position) And, boy, does he have a deep, almost pointy chest. It's not that he's thin...he's 80 lbs and about the same size as my Sunny who is slightly overweight at 73 lbs. But his sternum sticks out, it's very defined.

Update – July 5, 2005

Dr. Jeff did an x-ray of Atlas' leg on Friday and he said that the break is mending very, very well.  The plate will remain in Atlas' leg for approximately 6 months.  Dr. Jeff will remove the plate when the leg is 100% healed.  Dr. Jeff said that the range of motion on Atlas leg is very good and he is doing physical therapy to minimize adhesions and insure that Atlas recovers with as normal a use of his leg as possible.

I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful Collie Atlas is – a perfect gentleman!  He is very people oriented, laid back, and affectionate.  He gets along with all the other dogs and never makes any fuss.

And he seems to like water too.  I was down at the dock getting the boat ready for a ride.  3 Collies were at the shoreline playing and Atlas was watching from up on the hill.  Atlas hobbled on his leg down the hill and walked right over to the shoreline and right into the lake, and without any hesitation he proceeded to go wading up to his chest.

Update – July 20, 2005

Atlas continues to recover nicely. He visited the vet's office on 7/20 and made a point to greet everybody with a tail wag and a snuggle. His gait is almost normal now, as his shoulder muscles are regaining their strength. The tendons in his right leg are still very tight and he needs further therapy to loosen the tendons and regain more movement in his "wrist" area. I have some pain medication to give him when we over-do the activity and this particular med doesn't upset his tummy the way the other ones did.

Atlas is spending more time in the yard with the other collies and starting to play a little bit. But we still need to try to keep him quiet, if possible. Day by day he is resembling a normal, almost 3 year old collie.

Atlas makes it clear through his interaction with humans that he prefers younger, more active people. Things get a little boring for him in his foster home with the older dogs (and "mom" is no spring chicken either!). He has been getting his nose into various items lately when confined in the guest bedroom. And he loves the great outdoors, lying in the grass enjoying the sunshine and neighborhood noises.

The plate and pins will come out of his leg after 6 months, probably in early December? He also still needs to be neutered (but we don't talk about that in his presence).

So far $2,200 has been spent on Atlas’ medical treatments. $1,500 of that has come from donations! Atlas sends collie kisses to all his benefactors!