Fudgesicle, a.k.a. Fudgie, is the latest dog to come into the retired racing greyhound adoption program of Kindred Spirits Greyhound Adoption, Inc. (KGSA) based in Clinton, N.Y. Fudgie, a two year old fawn male greyhound, arrived in Clinton after traveling almost 1100 miles from an Alabama racetrack kennel. Clinton is located about an hour from Syracuse, and serves greyhound adoptive and foster families from the Syracuse suburbs east to Utica.
Fudgie was surrendered by his Alabama trainer after he broke his right rear leg. According to Kari Swanson-Massa’s articles written for the Summer 2010 issue of Celebrating Greyhounds magazine and for Chicago’s Midwest Greyhound Adoption’s reference libray, as many as 95% of track injuries are right rear leg breaks. Surgical repair of a broken rear leg can cost thousands of dollars. Supervised aftercare that can include six months or more of physical therapy follows the veterinary care. The amount of vet care and monitoring needed to help a dog recover from a broken leg is so expensive and intense that trainers often euthanize greyhounds at the track if no rescue group can take the dogs right away.
When KGSA co-Executive Director Cindy Siddon heard through rescue contacts about Fudgie’s condition, she agreed that KGSA would take him and supervise his care. That launched his 1100 mile journey from Alabama to upstate N.Y. for long-term veterinary care and rehabilitation. KGSA won’t place Fudgie or any other dog with a broken leg until the injury is completely healed, which can take months. While the dogs recover, adoption groups like KGSA need community support to defray the costs of providing care and foster families to provide temporary homes for the recovering dogs.
Readers who would like to donate to Fudgie’s care can contribute to KGSA via the Paypal link on the group’s donation page. Local readers can also donate on Dec. 24 at the KGSA gift-wrap table at Barnes & Noble in New Hartford, during store hours. KGSA will staff the Barnes & Noble gift wrap table on Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store is located in Consumers Square Plaza, New Hartford.
In central New York, rescue groups are fortunate that several veterinary orthopedic surgical specialists run practices here or at the Veterinary School at Cornell University in Ithaca. KGSA is working with veterinary orthopedic surgical specialist Paul Bookbinder, DVM DAFCS, from Upstate Veterinary Surgical in Canastota, who evaluated Fudgie’s injury on Dec. 21. KGSA also regularly works with adoption groups in Florida associated with southern tracks to rehome the racers those tracks retire.
All nine bones in Fudgie’s right rear ankle shattered when his leg was broken. At the evaluation, KGSA learned that the extent of the injury could be addressed with a complex surgery, or that the two-year-old dog’s youth might help him heal with a less intrusive treatment plan.
On Dec. 21, Dr. Bookbinder gave Fudgie a new soft cast and a treatment plan that includes a prescription for six weeks of crate rest and careful, on-leash exercise. The soft cast is changed out several times during this period. The break is x-rayed and healing evaluated at each cast change. Once the cast is removed, physical therapy and structured walking, hydrotherapy and controlled exercise can help the injured greyound recover full use of the injured leg.
KSGA volunteers and foster homes work, one dog at a time, to bring retired racing greyhounds to safe homes in central New York after their racing careers end. The Greyhound Underground Railroad, a coalition of groups and individuals who do emergency transport for retired racers, helped provide some of the nine people who worked together to move Fudgie north. Local trainer and greyhound breeder Kathy Helmke transported Fudgie on the final leg of his trip from Virginia to New York. East Coast Greyhound Transport, Grey2K and the Grapehounds Wine Tour all donated funds to help move Fudgie to the treatment available in central New York.
The physics of Greyhound racing are similar to thoroughbred horse racing, where creatures with slender legs and heavier bodies run at speed on a hard surfaced circular course. The stress of racing fast at that angle causes dangerous right rear leg stress fractures, which require time, patience and money to heal correctly. Fudgie is one dog who will get a second chance in central New York, and the care and rehabilitation he needs for his broken leg.
Follow Fudgie’s progress on the Kindred Spirits Greyhound Adoption Facebook page.
Readers can contribute on the KGSA website. Donate via check or PayPal to Fudgie’s care.
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