Greyhounds. A name associated with speed and agility. They are known to reach impressive speeds of 40-45 miles per hour, making them the Ferrari’s of the dog world. Yet, beyond their grace and speed, they have a sweet, mild nature and the honor of being nicknamed the “40 mile per hour couch potato.” Unfortunately, society continues to exploit these gentle creatures for gambling and profit, testing their capabilities to the limit, oftentimes, with grim consequences.
For Highland, it would be racing which sealed his fate, on March 10, 2016. At the tender age of two, he sustained a horrific compound fracture to his left leg and shoulder. No longer able to make a profit, he was relinquished by his owner to track personnel. They, in turn, contacted Rhonda at The Greyhound Adoption Center in California, informing her of Highland’s severe injury and profuse bleeding. More serious, however, was the impact the injury had on his heart. It caused Highland to go into cardiac arrest. He was revived while on the way to the VCA Animal Specialty Group, in San Diego, California where Dr. Seth Wegner was waiting to receive Highland to begin the immediate life-saving treatment he needed. He was placed on medication for his extreme pain and sedated to restrict his movement. His wounds were bandaged and he was on the fast track for next day surgery.
Doctors repaired his distal humerus (elbow joint) and shoulder. The fracture was stabilized using a plate, four screws and two pins. Staples were then used to close the incision. The limb was treated with Game-Ready cold compression and a Spica splint. The recovery from this extremely difficult surgery was hard for Highland. He required continued pain management and the bandage changes kept him in the hospital for an extended period of time. On March 31, 2016, doctors needed to perform a second surgery to replace loose pins. A soft bandage and Spica splint were replaced. Future surgical recommendations for Highland may include the removal of one pin and/or plate and screw, but will be based on evidence of infection or implant irritation. Due to the hardware required to repair his leg, he became a candidate for water therapy, which helped to relieve stiffness. Highland’s long hospital stay, coupled with difficult surgeries and rehabilitation, brought his services to almost $14,000.00. The Greyhound Adoption Center reached out to The Ian Somerhalder Foundation for assistance. ISF responded with a medical grant to help offset this huge financial burden.
Five weeks after his second surgery, doctors were happy to see Highland recovering well. He was bearing weight on the limb and appeared comfortable. Osteoarthritis will be a long term concern, due to the nature of the fracture and limited range of motion, but will be monitored as needed.
On February 5, 2017 Highland met his new family. During a meet and greet, he was introduced to Rufus, who was adopted by this family in January of 2014, from The Greyhound Adoption Center. He was happy and eager to meet Rufus and they knew Highland would be a perfect addition to their family.
Highland’s story doesn’t end here. He went on to become a sponsor dog to end the exploitation and mistreatment of animals for industry profit and greed. His amazing story of recovery is a testament of all those who work tirelessly to protect and save lives of all animals.
Written by Judy Paolercio
Edited by Bob Stone