>Tough Day on Mt. Oliver

>Well, I hate to be a downer here after everyone else’s great looking trips from the last few days, but I had a trip in the mountains Wednesday that didn’t go too well. Ever since I took up backcountry skiing I’ve had one fear that has always lurked in the back of my mind. You get a few miles back in the deep snow, and there is always that nagging voice in the back of your head that says “what would happen if someone got injured here”? I got the chance to find out, but in a way I would never have expected.

I played hooky from work with a group of friends to go ski Mt. Oliver near Teton Pass. We yo-yo’ed a few laps on a run called Oliver Twist and had a most excellent day. We skinned back up to the ridge line over looking the Diving Board run and started back down though the thick trees towards the trail head. About halfway down, my dog, Kodi, zigged when he should have zagged and took a ski in the back of the leg. Lots of blood and yelping, but it really didn’t look too bad. We bandaged him up, and he was able to struggle through the deep snow on three legs back to the truck. I was very relieved when I saw he could walk on his own, because carrying him out would have been epic.

After we got back into town, I took him to the vet to get what I thought would be a few stitches. The vet looked at the laceration and said his Achilles tendon was cut. It turns out that repair of that is a very specialized surgery and nobody in IF can do it. He recommend Dr. Acker in Sun Valley who is pretty much THE orthopedic vet in Idaho. He also said that for this type of injury, surgery must be done within 24-48 hours to have any hope of success. As it was Wednesday night, the clock was ticking to get the surgery done before the weekend.

We called Dr. Acker’s emergency number, and were told that he was out of town for the rest of the week, but he could do the surgery Monday or Tuesday. Rats, dead end there. That stared a series of more and more frantic phone calls to various vets in Salt Lake, where finally we hooked up with Dr. Bagley at Cottonwood Animal Hospital and got the surgery scheduled for 9 am the next morning. So after about 3 hours of sleep, I got up at 4 am and headed out with Kodi. I picked my father-in-law Don in Pocatello, who graciously volunteered to ride down with me to help out.

Dr. Bagley is a highly regarded surgeon, and he has done a lot of this type of surgery. He had even just done one for the vet technician’s dog and it had gone very well. Kodi’s damage was pretty severe, but the surgery went well and the prognosis is good. The surgeon decided to keep him overnight, so Don when home on the shuttle bus and I stayed in SLC. The people at Cottonwood were excellent and they let me come in after hours to spend some time with Kodi before putting him down for the night. Then I headed back to my hotel for a beer and bed.

Kodi is at home now. He seems comfortable and not in any pain. He still doesn’t quite know what to do with the cast on his leg, but he’s figuring things out. He’s going to miss the rest of the ski season, but he should be back to normal by mountain biking season.

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5 responses to “>Tough Day on Mt. Oliver

  1. >Bummer, I know how easy it is for this to happen.Our Charlie and I had a collision up to Targhee earlier this season. After much blood and worry we left the vet with 7 stitches in her front leg. She healed fast and no trace of wound to be seen now.Hope it goes equally well for Kodi!!

  2. >As you know, our dog Trigger had a similiar injury a few years back. He was running beside me on a cattrack after a pre-season run at Targhee; what I thought was an inconsequential bump with my ski edge turned out to be lacerations of his front and back legs and a nearly severed tendon on his front one. He was fixed up by our local vet, Dr. Rhonda but he also missed most of that ski season. I am thankful you were able to find a good vet and get Kodi on the mend!

  3. >The surgeon said that skiing injuries are really common in dogs. Typically it's the flexor tendons in the foot that get it, and those aren't too hard to fix. A complete severing of the Achilles is much more rare and severe.

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