Save Claire's Leg
Rescuers, family, and friends, let's unite to help save this poor abandoned girl!
Claire is a 7 month old black lab pup who was picked up off the side of the highway in Arkansas after being hit by a car and left for dead overnight. Everyone else on the highway just drove by, ignoring her. I slammed on my brakes and loaded her into the back of my car. A gracious vet was on standby for when we reached Kansas City. She was covered head to toe in ticks and needs treated for ehrlichiosis. She has two fractures in one leg and a dislocated hip in the other. Because of the trauma to both legs, there is uncertainty if she can support herself if we just amputate the mangled leg. As a black puppy, with medical issues, we don't know if she'll ever be adoptable, but I can't just leave her writhing in pain at a vet's office until a miracle happens. The longer we wait, the more risk she's at of losing the leg altogether, or worse yet, euthanasia. Hoping to get her to Columbia's MU Vet Center, but I can't do it alone. Or I'll take any ortho vet that can work out a personal payment plan.
Claire's xrays show extensive leg damage and three pelvic fractures, hence why amputation isn't the best option. At the very least she needs pelvic plates. They also show that she's been shot with some type of pellet gun in the rear end. From the healing and wound types, every vet I've talked to has said the same thing....rural Arkansas, chasing cattle, shot, dumped, hit by a car, and left for dead. She also has some bilateral eye trauma, but God only knows from what. She has detached lenses in both eyes and a cloud over one. Could be abuse. Could be from a car impact. Could be from a gun.
I'm not giving up on her. I just can't.
After visiting with MU's Veterinary Teaching Hospital......SHE'S HAVING SURGERY FIRST THING IN THE MORNING!!! All intentions are to save her leg, then with some cage rest and TLC (no problem there!), her pelvis should heal on its own. She will have arthritis at a young age, but anything is better than the pain she is in now. It was so sad to see her wheeled off on a gurney, but she'll have a new life starting tomorrow. She's getting pretty good at scooting into my. lap, and I can't wait to bring her home. She'll spend 4 or 5 days in ICU, and then back to Kansas City for physical therapy, continuing vet work, and treatment for her other issues.
I'm headed back to Columbia today. Claire's surgery was more complicated than anyone expected. The knee fracture was an easy fix, but there were actually two fractures at the neck of the femur and it took a lot more time to align everything so that both growth plates have the best chance at healing. The radiologist also found a small fracture in her spine and it's unknown if it will have any effect on her ability to potty or have feeling in her back legs. MU's Dr. Cook is still very hopeful that she'll make a complete recovery. I'll post more pictures when I see her this afternoon.
Claire is on her way home! She's already trying to stand up on her own. She's still very wobbly but her progress is AMAZING! Dr. Cook said its the worst femur fracture he's ever worked on. Hearing all of this makes Tim and I very scared and happy at the same time. Claire truly is the closest thing to a miracle I've ever seen. Thank you again to all of our supporters.
We are on our way back to Mizzou. Claire did fantastic yesterday during physical therapy, but today isn't going so well. She's barely letting us touch her leg without trying to get up or crying. We also started to see some drainage out of her knee incision. I'm probably just being over-protecttive, overly-worrisome, but I'd rather make the drive for her sake, even if it's just to go over the flexion exercises again. That's why they are the professionals. Her physical therapy is a two-person job, and unfortunately with my hand injuries, I can't hold the tough girl down!
Always go with a gut feeling. I have not such good news to report after going to MU. Claire's been rehospitalized and just to be sure nothing had displaced, Dr. Cook ran another set of xrays. The original fractures in the right femur look great, but there's another break at the knee which needs pinned immediately. In the acetabulum on the left (the area in the pelvis that the head of the femur sits into), we knew there was a small break, but now that fracture has completely broken through and also needs to be surgically repaired. She also has to have her pelvis plated back together in the middle since the left leg is now so much more unstable. Our cost has doubled. My heart has broken. I cried the entire two hour drive home. It's either more surgery or....I don't want to think about it. Not after coming this far. Claire is having surgery first thing in the morning. I'm confident Dr. Cook will do everything he's capable of to save my little girl. I don't want to be selfish and I don't know if I'm making the right decision, but I do know that after all this....I can't stop trying. I can't let her down. She crawled out to the road for a reason. She had hope. And that's changed my life.
Claire is sedated on morphine, but pulled through her lengthy surgery like a champ. Synopsis: left acetabular fracture was plated and fixed with screws, second right knee fracture was pinned and plated for stability, the head and neck of the right femur were taken out (FHO) since they weren't setting properly, and her pelvis was wired back together down the middle. She'll be in the hospital for a week+, but that's where right she needs to be. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support and prayers. Every single one of you. Where there's a will, there's a way.
Claire was given yesterday as a rest day to help her recover from such big surgeries in a short amount of time. Today, her physical therapy starts again full force. She was sedated and had more xrays taken. So far, everything looks great. While she was asleep, they did flexion exercises to keep her muscles from getting too tight. She'll do more this evening and we'll see how she does with just pain meds. Claire still is carrying all of her weight on her front legs, so we have an extremely long ways to go for her to relearn how to use her back legs. I'm praying and begging God everyday for her to pull through. The staff at MU said she's getting up an turning circles in her crate (like she did here at home) and pushes all of her blankets around until they are just right. Then buries her face in them. At least she still has a sense of humor and is in good spirits. We only have 5 days left, so please keep spreading the word!
Claire didn't even cry today during physical therapy!!! And she's carrying a very small amount of weight on her back legs!! I hope I can see her sometime this week (ride-along volunteers welcome). Everyone at MU says she's doing great and should be coming home late this week! Two days left......keep her story going!
Claire's condition hasn't changed, but with such trauma, she's already making a miraculous recovery. I have to remind myself we're only one week out from her last surgery. We were hoping she'd come home this week, but to be safe, it'll be at least this weekend or early next week before we move her back home again. Today, LabMed approved a grant for $400 and very special person on their board matched it out of the goodness of his heart. Thank you so much, every single one of you who shared Claire's story, reposted online, told a friend, donated, prayed, all of it. You all remind me that there is still good in the world, even after witnessing such horrific indifference to an animal. Today is the last day of this fundraiser, but another day in Claire's life you've saved. Thank you, again.
Please help us help her lead a normal life! And spread the word. All funds will go directly to this little girl's veterinary care. All your help is appreciated. Big HUGE shout out to LabMed and United Animal Nations' LifeLine grant program for reaching out to us!! And thank you to the PetCo Foundation for all the coming post-surgery items!
If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation, please mark it for Claire and send to:
Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 498
Leavenworth, KS 66048
Direct donations can be called in for Claire Early to:
MU Veterinary Teaching Hospital at (573) 882-7821 OR
Arrowhead Veterinary Services at (816) 353-5675
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