Is There an Inexpensive Way to Treat a Broken Foot?

We have a six-month-old Chihuahua puppy that jumped off the couch today and broke her foot. We lost our home and van two weeks ago...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Apr 11th 2008

We have a six-month-old Chihuahua puppy that jumped
off the couch today and broke her foot.
We lost our home and van two weeks ago because our six-
year-old child is in kidney failure. I don’t have
money right now and all the vets I have called
will not allow me to make payments. I have to
save Hopie–she is all our daughter has left.
Please help!!!! I am able to make monthly
payments. I just need someone to take me at my
word. I have called the SPCA, applied for CareCredit, and called
rescue organizations. I can’t seem to find any help. Our
daughter named this pup Hopie because she gave her
something to look forward too. My heart is
broken I don’t know what else to do.

Thank you so much.

Tampa, Florida

Wow. First, let me say that I am very sorry to hear that your daughter is ill. I am also sorry that you lost your house and van. Yours is truly a heartbreaking story.

There are still some options for Hopie. First, you can try contacting the veterinary school at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Some veterinary schools offer discounted services for people in need, especially if the case may be of educational benefit to veterinary students studying at the school. I scanned the school’s website and was not able to find any information about such a program. However, that does not mean that one doesn’t exist. You can try calling the school (contact information is on the website) and enquiring. I realize that getting to Gainesville from Tampa might be a challenge in your situation. However, if the university consents to treat Hopie, she will receive top-notch care.

If you are not able to receive treatment, all hope is not lost. Six-month-old puppies are incredible healers. If the fracture is not complicated or severe, there is a chance that Hopie’s injury may heal without splinting, casting, or surgery. The key to healing is strict activity restriction. This means crating her continuously (except for very brief trips to the bathroom and time spent resting calmly on laps) for about six weeks. If you elect this treatment plan, you should talk with your vet about pain management.

I must emphasize that the crating method described above is absolutely not the best option for Hopie. But if seeking high-level treatment is out of the question, it might work. I have known many puppies and kittens that healed nicely using this plan. With luck, perhaps Hopie will live up to her name.