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Arterial thrombosis after vehicular trauma and humeral fracture in a dog

Kristina M. DePaulaDepartment of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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Armelle M. deLaforcadeDepartment of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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Ryan G. KingDepartment of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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Holly HughsDepartment of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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Randy J. BoudrieauDepartment of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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Abstract

Case Description—A 3-year-old 19-kg (42-lb) spayed female mixed-breed dog was referred after being hit by a car. Injuries included pneumothorax, hemothorax, pulmonary contusions, a full-thickness axillary skin wound, and a grade I transverse fracture of the midshaft of the right humerus. Following patient stabilization, open reduction and internal fixation of the fracture were performed. The dog had weight-bearing lameness at the time of discharge. Eight days after fracture repair, the dog was reevaluated for acute onset of signs of pain and non–weight-bearing lameness in the right forelimb.

Clinical Findings—Physical examination findings in the right forelimb (knuckling and coolness, with absent digital pulses) were suggestive of a thrombus. Ultrasonography confirmed a right brachial artery thrombus with minimal blood flow to the affected limb.

Treatment and Outcome—Unfractionated heparin was administered via continuous IV infusion for the first 36 hours of hospitalization. Clopidogrel administration was also started at this time. During hospitalization, rapid clinical improvement occurred, and the dog was discharged 48 hours after admission. The transition to outpatient therapy was achieved by discontinuation of the unfractionated heparin infusion at 36 hours and beginning SC administration of dalteparin. Outpatient treatment with dalteparin and clopidogrel was continued. Repeated physical examination and ultrasonography 5 weeks later revealed resolution of the thrombus and normal blood flow to the limb. Anticoagulant administration was discontinued at that time.

Clinical Relevance—Thrombosis should be suspected in any dog with signs of acute pain after severe trauma or fracture repair, with or without concurrent lameness, that do not resolve with appropriate treatment. Restoration of blood flow to the affected limb after initiation of unfractionated heparin and clopidogrel administration followed by outpatient treatment with dalteparin and clopidogrel was achieved in this case.

Abstract

Case Description—A 3-year-old 19-kg (42-lb) spayed female mixed-breed dog was referred after being hit by a car. Injuries included pneumothorax, hemothorax, pulmonary contusions, a full-thickness axillary skin wound, and a grade I transverse fracture of the midshaft of the right humerus. Following patient stabilization, open reduction and internal fixation of the fracture were performed. The dog had weight-bearing lameness at the time of discharge. Eight days after fracture repair, the dog was reevaluated for acute onset of signs of pain and non–weight-bearing lameness in the right forelimb.

Clinical Findings—Physical examination findings in the right forelimb (knuckling and coolness, with absent digital pulses) were suggestive of a thrombus. Ultrasonography confirmed a right brachial artery thrombus with minimal blood flow to the affected limb.

Treatment and Outcome—Unfractionated heparin was administered via continuous IV infusion for the first 36 hours of hospitalization. Clopidogrel administration was also started at this time. During hospitalization, rapid clinical improvement occurred, and the dog was discharged 48 hours after admission. The transition to outpatient therapy was achieved by discontinuation of the unfractionated heparin infusion at 36 hours and beginning SC administration of dalteparin. Outpatient treatment with dalteparin and clopidogrel was continued. Repeated physical examination and ultrasonography 5 weeks later revealed resolution of the thrombus and normal blood flow to the limb. Anticoagulant administration was discontinued at that time.

Clinical Relevance—Thrombosis should be suspected in any dog with signs of acute pain after severe trauma or fracture repair, with or without concurrent lameness, that do not resolve with appropriate treatment. Restoration of blood flow to the affected limb after initiation of unfractionated heparin and clopidogrel administration followed by outpatient treatment with dalteparin and clopidogrel was achieved in this case.

Contributor Notes

Presented in poster form at the Veterinary Orthopedic Society Conference, Crested Butte, Colo, March 2012.

Address correspondence to Dr. deLaforcade (armelle.delaforcade@tufts.edu).