My poor little five month old puppy has suffered a serious injury. She was misdiagnosed and her condition has gone four weeks without proper treatment. It just breaks my heart when I look into her big brown trusting eyes. I failed her.
Her story of mishap begins on the very first day of our RV holiday. We had only traveled three hours and we were in Syracuse, NY at a Camping World. The motor home needed some work done (new tires, install a TV antenna, repairs to our awning). The nice staff at Camping World invited all of us (dogs included) to come into their store while we waited.
Molly the Irish Wolfhound is always very well-behaved. She draws crowds and loves the attention. No trouble there, but my five month old Brittany Spaniel is a different story. Libby is a very active girl at the best of time. After being cooped up in the motor home for four hours she was over due to run and create havoc. All around us were expensive displays of two million dollar motor homes. I could not risk her pulling on her leash and upsetting the merchandising. My solution was to put Libby inside a shopping cart and push her quietly down the store aisles, while I shopped and killed time. Big mistake!
Everything was under control for some time. I drooled over the sexy high gloss million dollar rigs with their outdoor patio TVs, BBQs and frigs. I browsed through their guide books, picked up some cute Christmas cards and admired their kitchen ware and camping supplies. I should have known better. Libby suddenly made her move. She sprang up in the air, cleared the sides of her cart and landed on the store floor. Unfortunately, she landed on her boney little knee.
I only saw a black and white quick blur out of the corner of my eye. What did register was the resulting cry of pain. Poor Libby was in trouble. Her loud wails immediately brought the staff running. She was in distress. Libby couldn’t even stand at first One extremely kind cashier quickly phoned her husband. He was a vet technician. Within minutes he arrived and gave Libby a quick examination. He recommended we take Libby to an emergency vet clinic, just five minutes away.
Again good people helped us. The veterinarian at the 24 hour clinic felt Libby’s knee. It looked like she had torn her ligaments. Surgery would probably be required but the vet explained if Libby didn’t move (except to go out to the bathroom on a leash the whole time) we could hold off returning for the surgery. Libby was prescribed anti-inflammatory, pain-killer and cold compresses on her knee to reduce the swelling. This vet faxed her report over to our home vet.
What a little trooper. Libby was the perfect patient. The RV trip was also the ideal way for Libby to recuperate. She was tethered into her seat while we drove. She spent her day quiet and sleeping as we continued with our trip.
Each day Libby improved a little bit. She wanted to run and climb, all the while keeping her weight off the poor knee. Her back left leg kind of hung there, unused. She didn’t seem to be in pain. Gradually, day by day we gave her a bit more freedom until on the second week I stopped carrying her in and out of the RV. She was killing my back. We gave her a longer leash and let her play and run a bit more. Boy, she was fast on three legs!
After three and a half weeks we were home and we took Libby to see our own vet. It was explained to us that Libby’s situation was a bit more complicated than we had first imagined. Libby is still a growing puppy. She had bone plates in her knee that were still developing. If surgery was possible they would be attaching a new artificial ligament via a pin but the challenge was that it might not fit after one year of continued growth. We scheduled Libby to come back, be put under anesthetic and to have a full set of x-rays completed.
Imagine our surprise to learn that the x-rays revealed the ligaments looked fine. It was her knee bone that was scattered. Again with the concerns that she was still growing, our local vet explained that his staff was not qualified to fix this mess. A specialist has been recommended.
It is a roller-coaster of emotions. Libby came home last night a bit groggy, in pain and distrustful. Her body is a little more twisted and she is holding her leg well off the ground. Warren has driven into Toronto today to hand deliver her set of x-rays to the specialist. We now wait to hear his prognosis.
We have only had this little personality for three months but she has certainly imbedded herself into our family. Something has to be done but how far will we go. How much money are we prepared to spend? Can she be fixed for under a thousand dollars? Our vet warned us that surgery with a specialist can run in excess of six thousand dollars!.. That is out of the question. Can she be stabilized and we leave her happy, healthy but with a limp?