Wednesday, December 31, 2008

River Update - the bionic dog

I've noticed that this blog gets quite a bit of traffic headed not to the baby pages, but to the dog pages. And I thought I'd just post an update.

In '07, our dog River had her first TPLO surgery. That's right, I said first. She was running around the dog park, not even excessive running or jumping or whatever, no falling, nothing to indicate she had injured herself. We noticed some slight limping on her rear leg, with a strange clicking noise whenever she would walk around. After about a week, we realized she was getting a tiny bit worse every day, and took her to the vet. The clicking was essentially her patella (kneecap) clacking against her tibia.

She had the surgery, and we spent a lot of money at a holistic vet doing doggy therapy in the hopes that she would have a speedy recovery. A fast recovery is essential after a TPLO surgery. Due to the fact that after the surgery, a dog places nearly all of her weight constantly on the opposite leg, once a TPLO is done on the first leg there is a 60% chance she will need a TPLO on the other leg as well.

In January '08, almost a year after we noticed the symptoms the first time, River got off her leash during a walk and ran. We caught her right away, but not before the damage was done. This time, the limping was more severe, and the clacking louder. This time, she seemed to be in constant pain, instead of the intermittent limping we witnessed the first time around. We knew right away what had happened. We took her straight to the surgical vet (the Hope Center), bypassing our own vet completely. And $3K later, River had another TPLO surgery.

This time, we decided not to do the rehab. At that point, it was cost prohibitive for us, and we did not really feel that it had made that much of a difference. Watching her heal the second time nearly as quickly and as well as she had the first time, I do not regret forgoing the rehab.

We are coming up on January '09. River runs and plays and jumps, but she's not going through a metal detector anytime soon. She does not show any outward signs of being any different from our other dog.

She is no longer in pain, and for that I am eternally thankful.

We were blessed with the ability to afford such expensive care for our pet, but still needed help. We used Care First - a program that is essentially a credit card that can be used only for medical reasons at selected health care providers, which included the Hope Center. We were able to use the 3 month, no interest plan, and were able to budget the payments to have it paid off in time.

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