Three-month-old Bulldog puppy Chica arrived at the practice in 2017. After having her for only one day, Sean and Andrea discovered that she had a serious elbow fracture resulting from an accident, requiring urgent surgical repair. The intricate process involved accurately realigning the joint fragments and gently placing screws into the soft bone, with a tiny margin for error of only 1mm, in order to avoid significant osteoarthritis. We catch up with Sean and Andrea three years later to find out how Chica is still ‘top dog’ in their household.

Their Story

It is incredibly common as puppies are so playful and wiggly, and whilst having a cuddle she fell out of Sean's arms and landed awkwardly on her leg. The couple were devastated it had happened so soon after introducing her to their family and have brought her to the Fitzpatrick team to receive the best possible care to get her back to being a puppy.

The Problem

Resident Padraig Egan saw Chica and her family and reviewed the x-ray images. He explained that the fracture ran through the elbow joint and because Chica was still growing, it wasn't a simple repair. Padraig further explained that because the fracture goes across a growth plate it had the potential to alter the shape of her elbow as she grew, so it was important to manage the fracture repair carefully.


Professor Noel Fitzpatrick and Padraig operated on Chica together. The surgery requires pinpoint accuracy. They put a screw through the side part of the fracture to hold it in position and then they put a screw across the broken part of the joint. The bone was really soft due to Chica's puppy bones which presented the team an additional challenging factor in the surgery. The surgery went according to plan and Chica went through to recovery to receive care from the staff and endless cuddles.

She is like a normal puppy now - she’s a really friendly dog, she loves going to the park, she is sometimes a bit lazy, but if there are other dogs around she likes chasing them and playing!


Three days after the surgery and Chica made excellent progress and could go home to continue to heal. Noel explained to Sean and Andrea that there was still a chance that she could grow abnormally because one of the screws needed for the repair touched a growth plate, but there was also a good chance she would grow perfectly normally as she becomes an adult.