Just wanted to say thanks to all of those who were so supportive about Pepper's surgery, but didn't want to hijack the What will you do w/ FC $$$ thread. Also, wanted to tell the story w/o boring to death any who don't want to read it (so fair warning, if your not interested stop here
About 5:30pm on Fri, Nov 9th my hubby was fixing something at the gate in front of our house & since it's fenced he had the dogs w/ him. A rabbit took off running and dogs being what they are gave chase. We didn't know but the fence had been damaged by weedeating and Pepper slipped out through the hole (her brothers too fat, thank goodness). A truck coming down the road tried to miss her, but...her back left leg was caught under by his back tire. Anyway, hubby carries her back to the house & I call our regular vet to see if they're still open. They were about to leave but said bring her in, of course we got caught in rush hour traffic, but they were great about waiting. After several x-rays we learn Pepper has no broken bones, but her hip is dislocated. We're thinking it could have been sooo much worse, so Keith (the vet) stitches her up, puts her hip back into place, puts her in a sling, loads her up w/ meds and keeps her over night.
Normally a dislocated hip isn't that big of a deal, most dogs start moving around on 3 legs while it heals, but Peps didn't respond. We literally had to pick her up and hold her so she could go potty. 5 days later it's back to the vet to remove the sling, more x-rays and we learn the tendons around the hip are damaged so badly it won't stay in joint. Plus, she's not moving like she should, so maybe we have some nerve damage. He can do a surgery called FHO, but doesn't want to until we see how extensive the nerve damage is going to be, we'll check her again in 5 days when we remove the stitches. Hubby is not really happy about the surgery (they shave the bone & move a muscle pad) and starts to research other options. He finds a place here in Dallas that offers 3 types of surgery, the FHO, and microfillament and a total hip replacement. So I take Peps in for a consult to see what they best type of surgery would be for her.
Surgeon comes out and looks at her and tells me she has extensive spinal cord damage - prolly from twisting and jerking when her leg was caught under the tire. I should leave her overnight and they'll do a MRI on her the next day. Normally they send the results off to be read, but while they have her under doing the MRI the vet calls, the damage is so extensive he can see it on the MRI himself - she has "traumatic disc herniation of T12-T13" and the debris is calcifying, so she's slowly losing all signals from that point on. In about 2-3 months she will probably become totally paralyzed in her hind quarters and have complete loss of bladder and bowel control. He can operate & would rather do it while now while she's under, but he's still only giving us a 70% chance cause its been 2 weeks since the injury.
Of course we say operate. So he does, and 4 days later when we bring her home, we can already see a dramatic difference. She's now able to help us get her up to potty, and she can even "walk" as long as someone supports her back legs. Vet says give her a full 6 weeks to heal, then we'll go in and do something about the hip (still out of socket). Meanwhile, we have her in physical therapy where they do things like make her walk on pillows (so she has to lift up her feet), step over progressively higher barriers, and my personal favorite, have here walk in a underwater treadmill (they fill it up to her shoulder height and turn it on). In that 6 weeks, she learns to walk on 3 legs, balance herself, even go potty w/o any support. At this point, hubby & I are thrilled w/ where she is and would happy even if she never made more progress.
Now it's time to look at the hip. Because its been so long (2 mos now), the surgery is VERY extensive - Deep Gluteal FHO - they have to shave off a larger portion of the bone, and the hip will probably always ride high. Three weeks recovery time and basically learning to walk again. But every day she gets a little better, she's now actually walking instead of hopping. She has a limp, and will probably always have one, but as the muscles in the bad leg strengthen she gets better & better. Funny thing is, she runs better than she walks (cause both legs move together when running). As soon as it warms up some, we're going to take her swimming as much as possible to help strengthen it even more.
So if I haven't bored you to tears by now - LOL - That my darlings is how one can spend $6,587.63 on one dog.