- Porter, an eight-year-old Alaskan Malamute/Great Dane mix, loves to run and play in the woods, but it got him in trouble when he landed wrong and broke all the ligaments in his wrist.
- The surgery was successful, and after some time rehabilitating, Porter was back to his spunky self.
- Two years later, Porter broke his wrist again in the same area. This time the injury healed with a cast so no surgery was necessary.
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Diagnosis: Torn ligaments
Claims covered: $9,919 | Healthy Paws paid: $7,927
Coverage options: $250 deductible | Reimbursement: 90%
Having an athletic and adventuresome dog is fun, but it also means they might be prone to accidents.
That is the case with Porter, an eight-year-old Alaskan Malamute/Great Dane mix who loves to go camping and play in the woods near his home in Laramie, Wyo.
“One day (in 2020), when we were setting up camp in the mountains, he chased after a pesky squirrel and tried to jump a ditch. He landed on the far side of the ditch and snapped every ligament in his right front wrist,” said his pet parent Alexa.
Porter couldn’t put weight on his leg, and Alexa had to carry the 90-pound pooch to her car some distance away and up a hill. She believes the adrenaline from her worry about Porter gave her the strength.
“I luckily had some generic pain meds for him in the first aid kit, so I gave him some and rushed down the mountain and to the vet clinic,” she said.
The vets x-rayed him to see if there was a break, but nothing showed up because ligament injuries are not visible on an x-ray. The vet prescribed more pain medication, and they put a splint on his injured leg.
When it was time to change the bandage, Alexa saw that his wrist was moving in an unnatural way, from side to side. She went back to the vet for an ultrasound, which revealed extensive damage to his wrist. He had ruptured the lateral and collateral ligaments.
Porter needed surgery right away, and Alexa found an orthopedic specialist who could get him in the same day. The surgeon placed a plate and 11 screws to stabilize his wrist. The surgery was successful, however, Porter still faced a long recovery.
A long recovery from wrist surgery
Poor Porter had to be locked in a “playpen” all the time so he wouldn’t jump on the couch or run around. He had to take eight pills a day. He was in a cast for eight weeks, then started hydrotherapy and short walks to get him moving again.
“We called the pen his castle and put lots of comfy beds and toys in there with him. When he was finally allowed to go on short walks, he wanted to run and play, so it was a struggle to take his rehab slowly. He felt better, but his injury wasn’t totally healed,” Alexa said.
He will never be able to flex his foot again but was otherwise back to normal after a few months. Two years on, he still does swim therapy regularly. Now he can move around without any visible pain.
“He wrestles with his brother Loki and loves to go on walks. He will get sore occasionally if he works really hard – like when we go snowshoeing and he and his brothers run all day. He also gets sore if he has to miss one of his hydrotherapy sessions,” Alexa said.
Another broken wrist for Porter
Two years after the first surgery, Porter, now eight years old, broke his leg again in February. The leg fractured right near the implanted plate from the first injury.
“He was at work with my husband Fred, and when he was let out to go home, there was a stray cat, which he obviously had to chase. It was icy in the parking lot, and he slipped and fell on his bad leg,” Alexa said.
The vet set his leg in a cast and fortunately, the injury healed quickly, so a second surgery wasn’t necessary. Once the cast came off, Porter recovered with just some hydrotherapy.
“He was not in pain and liked to use his cast as a club to hit people with,” Alexa joked.
How pet insurance helped
Alexa enrolled Porter in Healthy Paws pet insurance about a year after adopting him. He was an accident-prone puppy and had already suffered two lacerations that had to be stitched up. The emergency visits were pretty spendy, and Alexa decided he might need insurance as a big dog prone to injury.
“We were so lucky we had Healthy Paws to support Porter through his difficult [and expensive] surgery and rehab. Porter is a part of our family and has been since he was 10 weeks old. It would have been devastating to have to choose between the surgery and more permanent options,” Alexa said. “Thank you Healthy Paws for being there for Porter and making our choice easy when he hurt himself (repeatedly).”