Monday, June 23, 2008
Born Under a Bad Sign
I strongly believe that when you bring an animal into your home you have an obligation to give it the best life possible. Usually this is an easy thing to do with dogs. You give them good food, lots of love, a bit of discipline and they are very happy. But, every one in awhile, there is a dog who needs much more. George must have been born under a bad sign because this poor guy has almost no luck at all. His first owner had trouble keeping him from running away and when he was only about six months old he was hit by a car. The accident dislocated his hip and did some minor damage to his spine. Two weeks ago, when he under anesthesia to be neutered, I asked the vet to check his hip because he seemed to limp on it sometimes. She said it looked fine.
Well, it wasn't fine. Friday night he dislocated it while scratching himself. The femur just popped right out of the hip socket. It was terrible. He panicked and started screaming. I ran out to help him and he attacked me. He bit me five times before we finally restrained him. I wrapped him in a towel and Zane muzzled him with a sock, then we rushed him to the vet. The poor little dog didn't stop crying even after three shots for pain. They had to knock him out in order to get an xray. They were able to manipulate his hip and pop the bone back in but he needs surgery in order to prevent a repeat of this. The question is: What kind of surgery?
We have four options. The first and fourth were immediately discarded because I'm not willing to put the dog to sleep and we just can't afford a $5000 artificial hip. Another option is a surgery that will remove the top of the femur bone so that it doesn't fit into the hip joint anymore. This procedure should relieve his pain but will take several months of physical therapy, which will require me to manipulate the hip three times a day. This is painful. George bites when he's in pain so it could be painful for both of us. The final option is to amputate the leg. At first thought this seems like a bad option but there are some good reasons for going with this. The first is that he will heal much quicker from an amputation... about 2 weeks rather than 8.. and it will completely relieve his pain.
The pain is what worries me the most because we have little kids in and out of the house and we can't have a dog that might bite if touched the wrong way. As much as I love the dog I will not take the risk of him chomping on one of the neighbor kids.
And we are leaving Thursday for a two week vacation. We have a big decision to make and have to make it quickly...