Corwen Dog Show Sept 2014

I was asked to judge at Corwen carnival dog show last month. A potential minefield as most of the competitors and their owners would be known to me.
The first class was ‘Puppy in Best Condition’. There were only 3 entrants in this and I felt there was a clear winner. I wanted to award joint 2nd place to the other two but the organisers said I should separate them into 2nd and 3rd. Unfortunately that meant in effect choosing one to come last. This made me feel guilty as the owner looked rather glum.
‘Adult in Best Condition’ was more straightforward as there were more entrants so nobody came last. ‘Most Obedient Dog’ was easier still to chose 1,2,3. I asked that the dogs  be made to sit first of all and then stay. One dog managed both, another just the sit, and the third could do neither so deserved to come last!
I tried to share out the prizes as much as possible. In fact every class had a different winner until the ‘Best in Show’ where only the previous class winners took part. A lovely Labrador in excellent condition was the victor.
One of my staff had been thinking of entering her dogs with her children, but decided not to when she found I was the judge. She realised there was no way they were going to win without causing a scandal in the town! ‘I’ll enter them in Bryneglwys show,’ she said, ‘they’ve got a proper judge there!’

Surgery

Feb 2013

I enjoy all forms of surgery as it involves using manual skills as well as my brain. Orthopaedic surgery involves the use of a drill, screws, screwdriver and metal pins, rather like carpentry. This month I dealt with a whippet which had escaped from the owner’s garden and been run over, sustaining a broken front leg.  The radius and ulna below the elbow had both broken and couldn’t be aligned so a plaster cast wasn’t a suitable method of stabilisation. In this case a rigid stainless steel plate about 1 cm wide by 10cm long by 3 mm thick with 4 screw holes along its length was attached along the length of the radius by 4 screws put through the plate into holes drilled through the bone, 2 each side of the fracture which had been pulled back into place during the operation. The patient can bear weight soon after such an operation and the fracture should heal in 6-8 weeks. Dogs and cats make good patients for such surgery because they have 3 other legs to do the work whilst the break mends.

One long term complication which can occur if the plate is not removed once the fracture has healed is weakening of the underlying bone because the plate is taking all the strain of day to day activity and the bone gets ‘lazy’. I could hardly believe it when less than a week after putting a plate in the one dog I had to remove an identical plate from another similar sized dog before problems occurred.

If only both dogs had come on the same day I could have taken the plate straight out of one into the other!!!