Patrick Jones, DVM
I was sitting in the house one morning trying to get motivated to comb my hair and go to work when my phone rang. It was my receptionist.
“Doctor Jones, you’d better come out here.”
My morning commute is about 30 feet. I left the house and walked over to the clinic to see what was up. What I saw was a young chocolate lab with the most grizzly wound I have ever seen in twenty years of veterinary practice.
“Max” had been riding in the back of his owner’s pick up. He was tied up, which is a good thing, but he had too much rope...bad thing. He had just enough rope to go over the side of the truck bed and hang there.
Being a 5 month old lab with limited brain function (it is a well-established scientific fact that the labrador brain does not begin to operate until the age of two) over the side of the truck bed he went.
The owner who was slightly “over lubricated” did not notice Max’s predicament. The poor dog’s back leg got tangled up with the truck’s tire. It was a long time before the inebriated owner noticed. When he did notice, he rushed Max...home...so he could wait three or four days before going to the vet.
By the time I saw Max he was in real trouble. All the flesh and 1/4 of the bone on the inside of his leg between knee and ankle was gone. The remaining bone was completely flat as if someone had taken a large belt sander to the leg. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Max also had a fever of 106 degrees and was septic.
When I pinched the end of Max’s toe, he weakly pulled up the leg. He had some other significant nerve deficits...couldn’t tell whether his foot was upside down or right side up, but the fact that he pulled it away gave me hope that there was enough functional wiring to keep him from dragging the leg.
I told the owner what the cost and commitment would be to try to save Max and he elected to give him to me and go away. He is currently enjoying the hospitality of the State of Idaho for serial DUI.
Now, in a case like this, modern medicine has two solutions, amputation or euthanasia. The tissue loss was just too extensive for any sort of surgical solution or grafting. Because of previous successes with similar wounds, I was convinced that we could make a difference with herbs.
After 48 hours, Max’s temperature was still 106 degrees and he was fading. The infected bone was getting the best of him and the IV antibiotics were doing nothing. I switched antibiotics. After another 24 hours Max was worse and his fever was still above 106.
OK, I thought, time to turn up the heat.
I discontinued the antibiotics and went right to the source of the problem, the sheered off, infected bone. I took some powdered goldenseal and Calendula, made a paste with water, and rubbed it into the exposed bone marrow. I then wrapped it in the poultice again and increased the frequency of Immune Support and infection formulas to every two hours. I also added straight Echinacea at a rate of 1 tsp every two hours. Within 12 hours Max’s fever was gone and he was eating. I have seen a lot of miracles in my practice over the years but this turn-around was absolutely astounding to me.
Now that the infection was under control, it was time to get Max’s wound healed. The poultice contains a number of herbs that accelerate cell division and speed healing but I wanted to do more so I added Bone, Tissue and Cartilage Support. This is a new formula I had worked up only a few months before meeting Max. Like the poultice, it contains herbs to aid and accelerate wound and bone healing but it is given orally and does its work from the inside out.
As shown in the pictures, the results speak for themselves. After two months of daily herbal therapy, Max now has full use of his completly healed leg. The only evidence of his injury is a scar running up the inside of his leg. He runs, jumps and plays with best of them and all nerve functions are completely normal. He was adopted and has a wonderful new home.
Even after all these years, the power of herbs the body's ability to heal continue to astound me. I've had several similar wound cases over the years but none of the others had bone loss exposing the marrow and none of the others had the systemic sepsis. This case was truly amazing for me to watch.
Below are a few photos of Max's progress.
They are pretty graphic but hang in there...they get better. :)
Day 1: Note the flatness of the bone surface. The periosteum (outer bone layer) was completely gone exposing the marrow.
Day 1: This is the other side of the same leg. Skin is missing from about 1/3 of this side.
Poultice application directly on wound. The poultice was applied daily. After about 2 weeks I started going 12 hours on, 12 hours off. I wrapped it with gauze and vet wrap.
Day 6: Wound is already granulating (the lumpy appearance) this usally starts at about 10-14 days.
Day 14: Wound starting to contract over bone.
Day 16: Wound contraction and filling continues
Day 30: Bone completely covered
Day 45: Just waiting for skin and hair now.
Day 60: Almost done. Max has full use of the leg. 2 weeks later wound is completely closed and looks like the white scar on his ankle all the way up.
Max's adoption day! On his way to a new home.
Happy, healthy and still dumb as ever! :)
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Some folks asked about how the poultices were prepared. I just add the powdered herbs to water and make a thick paste. This paste is put directly onto the wound and wrapped. The next day the poultice is removed, the goo wiped off (lots of goo on these) and the poultice replaced.
Poultice can be applied directly to the wound if the patient isn't wiggly.
Otherwise, spread it on 4x4 gauze pads and slap the pads on (herbs to wound) and wrap while he's licking the techincian's face.
Then wrap lightly with gauze...
Then some more gauze...
Then some cotton padding...
Then a bit more gauze...after all this is a labrador!
Then some vetwrap (comes in many colors).
The wrapping musn't be too tight obviously. With humans one needn't do so much wrapping as humans rarely chew off their bandages. :)
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