Toetsie has been hit by a car

Toetsie has been hit by a car

On a quiet Thursday evening we went out with the dogs, a short walk before bed. That will only promote sleep in humans and animals - I thought. But then the nightmare came true for every dog owner: a cat walks across the street, Toetsie jerks away, follows the cat, hesitates for a moment before turning back, but is grabbed by a car on her way back.

Great panic until... She takes another breath and starts to whimper softly. What a relief. And then all the alarm bells go off: go to an animal hospital as soon as possible, get care as soon as possible, find a vet as quickly as possible... A neighbor who has seen everything remarks: “There are no open wounds, and no bones sticking out. . Then it will be all right!” But as an orthopedist, you know that's not necessarily a good sign...

Everything goes quickly: Toetsie is placed in the car, I barricade her so that she can move as little as possible and remains stable and flat. When we arrive at the veterinary clinic, the vital organs are tested, everything seems to be in order. There are indeed no wounds to be seen on the outside, but what is going on on the inside? X-rays are taken and then the verdict is hard: broken/splintered left pelvis.


Then we are faced with the hard choice: have Testie put to sleep or opt for a major operation where the outcome is not certain. There is no guarantee that the left leg can be saved. Can all nerves get back to normal? Can Toessie handle the surgery? For me there was only one answer: of course we go for the operation. Toetsie had to stay in the clinic for observation. First, the vets need to be sure that all vital organs are in order. The lungs in particular must be 100% in order before the operation is started.

After several hours full of adrenaline in which discussions are held and Toetsie is reassured, the longest night ever starts. Test alone at the veterinary clinic and me at home, awake in bed. And I don't think my family got much sleep either. A living room without Keys still felt eerily empty. Our Luna was already allowed to sleep with my daughter to make sure she didn't miss Toetsie too much at night.

Test is being operated on

Friday morning we received the redeeming phone call: Toetsie is doing well, is stable and can be operated on in the evening. The vet assistant on the phone informs me that Toetsie is even wagging his tail a bit. You could almost ask if she could hand the phone over to Toetsie! Fortunately, there is still time to visit her.

For example, Toetsie is taken to the operating table in the evening. It will be a long operation, we are waiting at home full of suspense. The corona crisis also plays a role as an extra stress factor: there is a lockdown in which we are no longer allowed to go out on the street after 12 pm. But at 11 o'clock we get the fantastic news that we can go get Toetsie because: the operation was successful. There is a whole puzzle, but everything is back together and more or less in place.

 Photo before surgery

 Photo after surgery



She can spend the night in our (well-heated) bedroom under the red lamp so that she can regain her temperature. It's going to be another long night of no sleep. My husband and I keep watch and listen to see if she's breathing and if she's breathing regularly... And glad we are when she starts crawling around in her crib at 5am. She can go down and outside and a first pee is a fact.

The infirmary is being furnished

Because sleeping upstairs (moving on the stairs) is not obvious, we decide to make an infirmary of our living room. Toetsie gets a cot in which she can lie comfortably flat, keep an eye on the room and still have enough rest. When we can watch television with the whole family (including the two dogs - Toetsie is watching from her bed) in the evening, that is a great relief.


We all take turns sleeping on the couch to keep watch over Toetsie. The whole family is involved in the rehabilitation process! This way we can also help Toetsie at night if she gets stuck because her self-reliance is still minimal.

Introducing the STA-op-assistance

The first days she is not allowed to support on the left leg, so she is brought outside with a standing aid so that we can support her optimally. Three to five times a day we put on the standing aid and go outside for a short walk.

As a result, Toetsie can move her hip joint, but there is no load on it. This is optimal for proper healing. Toetsie is not very active yet and prefers to sit outside in the sun. Although she does her best to walk short distances - with the support of the STA-op help. Luna is also involved in the rehabilitation process, so that she also feels useful. She misses her play-buddy, but soon understands that from now on she has to deal with Toetsie a bit more calmly.

In the sun it is also a good time to give Toetsie's back a massage. I massage the back, back muscles and legs regularly throughout the rehabilitation process. I do this to ensure optimal blood flow, so her back will certainly not get stuck. Toetsie visibly enjoys it and so do I.


It didn't always go smoothly with Toetsie, she became a bit lifeless, depressed, what did we do then?

- We took the car to a meadow and she was allowed to sniff around for 5' with the harness on
- We went to the woods by car and there she was allowed to sniff around for 5'

Sniffing around in strange places clearly made her happy and this motivated her to keep trying, to keep walking.

Extending: Prevention is better than cure

Slowly, Toetsie can also start walking inside without support. But not too long, we'll start with short pieces. She is allowed to undertake the steps from the kitchen back to her bed without support under a watchful eye. The muscles and nerves of her hind legs are of course still heavily damaged by the accident and the operation and because of this she slides out a lot. This can be dangerous, because it can cause part of the hip to shift or become loose. Fortunately, the rubber bones are a good solution for this problem:



Rehabilitation is going well, but we decide to buy a wheelchair anyway - just in case. A rear wheel wheelchair can ensure that the hind legs can move without putting weight on them. So this allows the movement to be stimulated without putting extra pressure on the operating area. So time to take her measurements:


Meanwhile, Toetsie is taking her (cautious) first steps outside alone:

Introducing the wheelchair

And then the wheelchair arrives, so we start wheelchair training. We already go outside and can already walk slightly longer pieces without overloading the hip.

More info about wheelchairs

Physiotherapy is started

And then it's time to go to the physiotherapist for dogs. Test could use some extra help to loosen up all the muscles and reactivate the hip muscles. This way we can give the rehabilitation process an extra boost. With exercises that we have to do at home, up stairs, down stairs, stimulating the hip muscles.


And then the last check during the rehabilitation: can Toetsie return/still swim? So we make an appointment for a swimming lesson in the swimming pool under supervision.

How are you now?

Everything is going well, Toetsie can walk again for about 45 minutes (in the past she could easily walk for 1 to 2 hours). We won't get any further and maybe we won't. Meanwhile Toetsie has also turned 12 years old and we have to take into account that she has become an 'older' dog.

When walking and trotting you see little deviation, but when she flies in an enthusiastic canter, her hind legs sometimes go in all directions. We say at home that she does a butterfly stroke with her hind legs.

We are no longer allowed to play intensely outside (with or without a ball). So we still consider her can and can't.


But so pleased that she is still there and can lie back on the couch with us in the evening. So this story definitely has a happy ending. You may also find the inspiration here not to give up (yet). In any case: if you need help with rehabilitation or if you want advice, be sure to contact me. I know how valuable those four-legged friends are to us.

Many thanks to Dierenkliniek-Venhei, Henk Pardon, Het Waterhof, Dhana Leemans, DAP-het Spoor, sports massage for dogs.
And of course my family, who ensured that Toetsie received and continues to receive the best care.

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