Tell me I'm doing the right thing

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adele
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Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by adele »

I'm about to make an appointment to get Lola's left hind leg operation (ligament repair).

I want to get the operation because.
1) Some days its obvious to me that she has exercised to hard and her leg pains her.
2) I know the ligament is torn.
3) It'll probably have to be done some day so I figure better while she's young
4) Vet says without the operation arthritis may develop.

I don't want to get the operation because
1) Most days she is fine and you'd never know she had a problem with the leg
2) I could wait until the problem is more acute.
3) Vet says with the operation arthritis may develop.
4) I really don't want to spend another summer going through the recovery.

Mostly I want to do it so Lola could run for hours again like she used to. Then when its time to pick up the phone I think.. we're getting by without the operation... usually getting by without the operation.
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headtrip_honey
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by headtrip_honey »

I'd do it.

Although #4 in your "con" list really sucks (having to go through recovery), just think about how long the recovery will be when she's older and doesn't heal as well.

And 1 and 2 in your "con" list are more excuses, not reasons. If you KNOW something is wrong, get it fixed BEFORE it gets acute, and recovery will be faster.

I know these are hard decisions to make, but you're doing the right thing.
-Emily
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Canned Ice
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by Canned Ice »

That's a tough decision. I've been going through the same thing with Buckley (same leg, different reason). We're leaning towards "no" on surgery for now. I can only tell Buckley's leg hurts when he's played hard at daycare all day or after a long off-leash hike. He's obviously sore the night after a busy day but he's fine the next morning. He still walks weird on that leg but the ortho vet we consulted with at the vet school said it's normal with luxating patellas. He basically said until Buckley's knee dislocates several times a week or he is altering his activity level from the pain, let it be. Like Lola, arthritis is a very real possibility with or without surgery so I'm not considering the possibility of arthritis in my decision.

My friend is a vet and she summed it for me like this last year. (I may be paraphrasing in some places) "Tomorrow with dogs is never promised. You never know what will happen: cancer, ingestion of a toxin, being hit by a car, anything. So long as the knee isn't affecting his overall quality of life now or is guaranteed to severely affect his quality of life in the future, hold off on the surgery. You wouldn't want to deprive Buckley of his favorite time of year for a surgery that only *may* improve his quality of life years down the road. If you want to do the surgery prophylactically, do it in the winter time so he won't have to miss out on hiking and swimming. As long as his condition stays the same, a few months won't make a difference in the prognosis."

Granted, Buckley has luxating patellas and the surgery is different so while waiting doesn't seem to change the prognosis for Buckley, it may for Lola. I'm glad I did wait because Buckley has been doing better. We increased his time on leash (no cutting and dodging) and it seems to be strengthening his muscles and keeping his patella in place. He'll likely need surgery in the next couple of years but I'll take my friend's advice and schedule it for a less-fun time of year.
Buckley - I own this mountain.
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adele
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by adele »

Canned Ice wrote:I'll take my friend's advice and schedule it for a less-fun time of year.
Hey! :evil: Lola and I agree, winter is the more fun time of year :D Summer is hot and humid and the fields are full of nasty creatures. Winter is cold and you can run forever without getting overheated or bitten or even muddy! Yup. winter is better. :D But the real reason I can't do it in the winter is during recovery she can't walk on ice or on uneven ground. She certainly couldn't motor through 2 feet of snow. It has to be done in the summer. In fact, it could be postponed until June. Then when she's getting to the point where she thinks she's okay to run she'll be less inclined to move about because she's too hot.

And Emily, those aren't excuses... if she is getting by then perhaps we should make do with getting by.

I don't know, I keep changing my mind.
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headtrip_honey
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by headtrip_honey »

adele wrote:
Canned Ice wrote:I'll take my friend's advice and schedule it for a less-fun time of year.
And Emily, those aren't excuses... if she is getting by then perhaps we should make do with getting by.

I don't know, I keep changing my mind.
I didn't mean to sound snarky, so I apologize if I offended.

I guess I've just been through one too many situations with my own pets where we put things off because they were "getting by," and then it turned out it was too late, or the damage was more severe than we'd thought. Dogs are very good at not showing their pain. So even though to us they may seem fine, in reality they may not be. I just fear that Lola could, although she seems fine now, land poorly one day, and be laid up more severely than she is now.

So, again, apologies if I was bristly.

If summer is too hot for Lola, seems like a perfect time for surgery anyway.
-Emily
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Hunter (RIP 09.16.04-02.28.09), Lizzy, Bree and Jack

Cindy
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by Cindy »

Tough call for sure, but here's one way of looking at it. What's the worst that can happen? The partially torn knee will blow out completely and she'll have to get it fixed right away. That could happen next week or in July or 3 years from now - there's no way to tell. I know we went at least a year (maybe 2) before having Annie's second leg repaired. It was the same situation with a partial tear and her limping off and on. We waited until winter because we knew she'd be less frustrated being house bound and I didn't have to worry about ice/snow when she could start walking around. Not sure if this helps but I know you'll make a good decision. And at least you KNOW what's wrong with her leg unlike the last time when you went forever before getting a good diagnosis.
Kayla RIP 10/2/15, Pippa, and Layla
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adele
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by adele »

Emily, no apology necessary. There was nothing the least bit snarky in what you said.
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AuntieMom
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by AuntieMom »

Has the vet given you an idea if Lola’s pain is constant or intermittent? Dogs hide pain so well, I would be afraid of just trusting what Lola shows you. You could ask the vet "if this were your dog, when would you get the surgery?"

I agree age could affect her recovery. I have had two foot surgeries, same kind of surgery by the same doctor. The surgeries were on opposite feet about ten years apart. The first one healed great and is better than new, the second one still gives me problems.
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adele
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by adele »

Yes, it is a way better situation than before and because this is the vet that finally found and fixed the problem on her right leg, I do trust her. Its funny, I have asked the "if this was your dog" question... The vet recommends it. (The vet has just finished repairing the second ligament on her own dog.) It is a hard decision. This is just one of those times when I really wish I could talk with my dog. I am leaning towards going ahead with it while Lola is young.
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Cindy
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by Cindy »

adele wrote: I am leaning towards going ahead with it while Lola is young.
I wouldn't argue with your decision, whichever way you decide. But I did want to throw out the reminder that Annie was 9 when the first knee was done and 11/12 with the 2nd one. Both healed beautifully and she was good as new when the recovery period was over. I'm sure Lola will be fine ..... I'm more worried about you!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Kayla RIP 10/2/15, Pippa, and Layla
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adele
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by adele »

Cindy wrote: I'm more worried about you!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
HeeHee, so am I! I'm going to need lots of support and treats. However, I won't be walking my dog much so won't be earning my treats. Its a serious problem.
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adele
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by adele »

While getting Lola's eye checked we talked about pros and cons of getting her leg fixed. The vet is definitely pro (and I don't think its just to make money). She says the operation is simpler and faster if all she needs to do is stabilize the joint. Apparently its better to get the joint in place before before its inflamed (which would happen if we waited until it tears completely) and before arthritis develops. There are no guarantees but the vet believes that in Lola's case she would be able to run freely and without any pain after the operation. That's important to me because running gives Lola more happiness than anything else (even food). So, I guess in May we're going to do it (and my stomach is tied even further into knots :roll:).
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Cindy
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by Cindy »

Lola will be fine, I'm just positive. Sounds like some good reasons to do it sooner rather than later and she's so young - she needs to be healthy and bale to run for many more years. Now, if you can just get that eye healed!
Kayla RIP 10/2/15, Pippa, and Layla
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AuntieMom
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by AuntieMom »

adele wrote:There are no guarantees but the vet believes that in Lola's case she would be able to run freely and without any pain after the operation. That's important to me because running gives Lola more happiness than anything else (even food). So, I guess in May we're going to do it (and my stomach is tied even further into knots :roll:).
Lola loves to run, your vet recommends surgery, you are doing the right thing.
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DonnaP
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Re: Tell me I'm doing the right thing

Post by DonnaP »

If diet, supplements, etc haven't helped and she still is having issues, I personally would have the operation - esp. if the vet recommended it (if it were her dog)

I have a wonderful vet who lays out all the options, but when I peg her down as to what "she would do" she has always been candid with me and has actually talked me out of having George's hind knee operated on - and he is doing fine - a bit tired and achy on occasion after a long day running/wrestling with his little sister (a non-stop field ESS puppy) - an occasional dog aspirin helps. I give him glucosomine/chondroitan (sp) supplements - that really helped my older guy who just passed - he went from being a gimpy 3-legged guy to running/playing with our britt when we adopted him as a pup.

To me, it has never been about the money, it has always been about the comfort of my guys - I can always find the money (credit cards :roll: ), but I will never be as lucky as I am to have my pups happy and healthy and loving life so I do what I can do to keep them that way
Proud mom of George (adopted thru ABR in April 2003) and Bentley (adopted thru New England English Springer Rescue in March 1999, RIP 7-23-2009 - my forever boyfriend and protector who started it all)

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