Who's this lampshade gamboling around the house?
She had surgery ten days ago. Two days before that, she started showing signs of pain again. Gamby had noticeable difficulty getting up and settling down, whining in pain at the effort. We also noticed that she painfully lifted her right hind leg up when walking, using only three legs to get around.
We've wanted to bring her to this new vet, recommended by the last vet we took her to for her vaccination jab. The recommended vet has done surgeries for similar conditions before. We've been wanting to take Gamby for a consultation to see what options there are to help her, but couldn't get an appointment earlier as he was on holiday.
Luckily we managed to get an appointment on Saturday, just as Gamby's condition started deteriorating. The vet examined Gamby and said her hips are bad and her back legs are deformed, possibly due to her hip. He needed an x-ray of her hips, so he knocked her out with a couple of jabs and sent her in for an x-ray. We then sat outside in the waiting room for the diagnosis - with a stoned Gamby, tongue lolling to avoid choking, at our feet sleeping at our feet. We got a LOT of pitiful looks from the other patrons because with her tongue out, Gamby did look kind of - erm - deceased.
The vet called us in and explained Gamby's x-ray. Her hips are very bad, her right hip more so. The thigh bone is not sitting in the hip socket correctly, instead its rubbing against the edge of the socket where there are a lot of nerves, hence the pain. He explained the surgery needed, using x-rays of another dog that had it done previously. The hip bone is cut in 3 places, and tied to a support that will help the bone grow into its correct position. This surgery is a 3-hour, major surgery and must be done when the puppy is between 5 - 10 months. Also, it costs quite a bit.
The vet also explained an alternative, to get her out of the pain. Another lesser surgery can be done, where the ball of the thigh bone is removed completely. The ball won't be rubbing against the hip socket anymore, and that's an instant pain reliever. The vet explained that Gamby will learn to use her leg muscles (in place of that bit of bone) to support herself and walk. This surgery is not suitable for heavier dogs though, they might not walk again because of the weight on the leg, but a husky is light and this type of surgery can be done. This surgery does not have a limited time-frame to must-do and the procedure takes about an hour. Also it costs one third of the other surgery.
The vet says we can go for the second option, especially as Gamby is in so much pain. He says that sometimes an x-ray can show hip dysplasia, but the dog does not show signs of pain, so that's ok as long as the dog is not suffering. But Gamby is obviously in much pain. He was holding Gamby's hips and legs while explaining this, and Gamby started to come around. Gamby whined and cried in pain, even through that haze of drug. The vet recommended we do surgery for the right hip first, as this was causing her the pain. After she has adjusted to her lack of ball bone and has built up muscle strength on her right side, we can come back in about 6 months time to do the other hip.
We were very impressed with the vet. We could see that he obviously loves dogs, and so does his staff. We were very happy at how they handled Gamby, soothing her like their own when she was injected for the knockout. We liked that the vet explained everything in detail, and did not push for the more expensive option. Instead he genuinely had the best interest of the dog in the treatment recommended. Also, he greeted all the other patrons like old friends. We decided to send Gamby for surgery, the second option.
The vet was done with surgery for the day (it was 4pm at that time), but he said he would do it that day, since its a short surgery, and Gamby was in pain. He'll also spay her since she'll already be under anesthetic. and at 6 months old its time for her to be spayed. We kissed Gamby good-bye and left her at the surgery.
We came back the next day and picked up this lampshade. We expected her to be fast asleep (Tagar was out for two whole days after she was spayed - that's an untold story yet), but we were pleasantly surprised with a smiling, tail-wagging Gamby. The vet took her out of the kennel and made her walk, which she did with no whine of pain at all. We were truly amazed. Gamby is not using her right hind leg still, but she's not yelping in pain, and that is a huge improvement. We could even touch her lower spine and back legs - something she never allowed us to before.
Oh. And the vet gave us the bone parts they took out of her. Gross.
For the next week the lampshade was gamboling around the house, knocking into doorways and furniture. Gamby was pretty annoyed at not being able to crawl under the bed, her favourite place in the room. At first she slept a lot, but as she gradually got her groove back she became more active, walking around with her lampshade. She was still using only 3 legs, but the vet said that will take time.
Gamby got a lot of attention, much to Tagar's annoyance. I hand feed her since her collar makes it hard to eat, and everytime I do jealous Tagar comes nosing, poking her head through seeking attention. We also pet Gamby a lot for being so strong, and Tagar comes running everytime, demanding her share of pets. Haha. Togo is not too bothered. He was like that when we first got Tagar, so I guess he's grown out of it.
This is the stitches. After about three days it started bleeding. We panicked of course, having so many bandages soaked with blood. We took her to the vet where they rebandaged her properly (you really need a good adhesive to stick to dense fur growing back). The vet says its normal, since the stitches are on a joint. Also its not all blood, its partly fluid from the new cavity.
Gamby back to have her stitches taken out. Its a testament of how wonderful the vet is - while he's taking out her stitches, Gamby was actually wagging her tail. Wow. Togo and Tagar start shaking in fear as soon as we reach their regular vet. What a difference! Gamby did not stop wagging her tail until we got back to the car.
Gamby is fine now. She's mighty pleased the collar has come off. She beginning to use her leg, to balance and also when she is walking slowly. When she gets excited she forgets and runs about on 3 legs (yes, she runs now). We're very happy that she is happy =)