Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's a BBPP! *

My parents' puppy had to have one of his front legs amputated this week. He developed a limp in his right front leg which was not caused by a sprain, as was first suspected. While Mom was trying to encourage him to rest so that his ankle could heal, she noticed that his right front paw was quite a bit smaller than his left front paw -- to the point where if he was a person, he'd be wearing two different shoe sizes. The anti-inflammatory meds didn't reduce the limp, and so Mom took him back to the vet for X-rays. All six doctors in the office looked at the X-ray and couldn't make sense of it, so they emailed it to a specialist, who diagnosed him with a damaged growth plate in the limpy leg.

Because his lower leg bone hadn't grown right, it was short and curved and was rubbing against the long upper leg bone. The vet told Mom that her two options were to break and reset the short bone with a gap, hoping it would fill in as it healed and become long enough, or to take a piece out of the longer bone so that the two didn't rub together. With the second option, he'd always have a limp and would probably develop arthritis in his elbow. With either option, he'd have to be on restricted activity for up to eight weeks. I know several people with dogs who have had knee surgery and been on restricted activity for eight weeks, but all of those dogs were full-grown (instead of hyperactive 6-month-olds) and only pets (instead of sharing a home with a cat and another hyperactive dog).

Mom was worried that the only way she'd be able to keep Taran quiet would be to keep him crated most of the time and possibly sedated. She was afraid that he'd end up psychologically damaged from being locked away from his packmates for so long, and the surgeries weren't even guaranteed to work. So she decided to ask the vet if amputation would be a better option. Since Taran was more or less already operating on three legs because his limp was so bad, the vet agreed that he'd likely make a quick adjustment and a complete recovery. In fact, his stitches would come out after 10 days (which sounds crazy to me).

Taran went in for his surgery on Tuesday morning and walked out of the vet on his leash the next evening. Once he got home, he was right back to climbing up and down from the couch and bed, chewing on Maggie (the other dog, a Border Collie mix and Indy's BFF), and even taking the damn stairs. Have you ever heard of such a champ? But he does need to get some rest, and so Maggie was getting bored. Mom called to see if Mags could come over today and run around our backyard for a few hours with Indy, and of course we said yes.

And the aftermath of four hours of Maggie time, a trip to the pet store, and a hot dog at Sonic:

* Big Black Pooch Party

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