Poor Lame Pooch Part 2
May 14, 2015 11:06 AM   Subscribe

A few weeks ago our pooch tore his ACL according to his vet. I asked this question. We have been following all the advice given. We were doing ok. Today I let him out back while I was bringing in the groceries and heard the yelp. Now his other leg is busted too I think. I have more questions.

We were doing the conservative management thing. He has been on glucosamine and the pain killers that the vet prescribed. We have tried crating him, but he always seems more stiff and sore when we let him out. Is that normal? I hate not crating him though because my toddler loves his doggie and must hug him, much to doggie's dismay. Pooch always gets up and walks away, which I don't think is helping.
Now that the second leg is injured I am really not sure what to do. He is holding up the other leg and to sit down he basically swings both hind legs on either side of his torso and eases down. This just happened about 20 minuted ago. He is resting now. Maybe it will turn out to not be so bad, but I need to be realistic just in case.
As I had said in the other question, we can not get him the $4000 (for one leg) surgery. I imagine the cost would go up even more with 2 legs. I don't even know if they could do 2 at once, but that is irrelevant. Please don't suggest Care credit or any of those options. We have our second child due in 2 months and will have a whole set of bills for the birth and baby that we will be trying to pay as well.
I hate to consider putting an otherwise healthy 5 year old dog to sleep, but I do not want him suffering through a miserable life of pain and lameness. This is NOT a decision that will be made hastily or lightly. Please give me some anecdotes, alternatives, ideas and anything that can help us navigate this crappy situation.
posted by MayNicholas to Pets & Animals (5 answers total)
I'm so sorry for your poor dog, but I have to say--you don't need anecdotes, alternatives, or ideas, you first need a vet to give you a proper diagnosis. And I know you feel bad about it but it needs saying, for future reference for you and for anyone else reading this: conservative management means keeping him on a short leash when he's not otherwise confined.
posted by HotToddy at 11:21 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]

I hate to consider putting an otherwise healthy 5 year old dog to sleep

Well, otherwise healthy except that his hind legs don't work. You have a toddler and a baby on the way, you need to consider what is best for your whole family. Go to the vet, get a diagnosis and, if it's something you can't handle financially or in terms of care, consider relinquishing him or putting him down. It's a painful decision but doing so will not make you a bad person.
posted by kate blank at 11:46 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

Your first step, as noted upthread, is to get some clear information from the veterinarian. IIRC from your earlier question, the $4K quote was for a specialist. Regular vets do the same surgery all the time and for a lot less money. Our beloved Westie just went through the surgery two months ago and is recovering extremely well. So figure out how much it will cost, then perhaps consider GoFundMe or a similar crowdfunding mechanism. I know nothing about how they work, but I hear all the time about people using them to pay for emergencies like dog surgeries. Hell, I've contributed to some of them myself. What dog lover could resist kicking in $5 or $10 to help out? I get to feel warm and fuzzy for just a few bucks. If you can reach out to 100 or 1000 people like me, your problem is solved. And a beautiful pup like yours can resume living his wonderful life.
posted by DrGail at 1:41 PM on May 14, 2015

My anecdote is that my beloved dog (now deceased, unrelated) dog tore both dog-ACLs within a year when she was about 10. The orthopedic specialist would only do the repairs separately because she was considered elderly at the time.

She seemed similarly in pain at the time of her injuries, but got better relatively quickly.

We did not do the surgery. She was on half a Rimadyl morning and evening with an excellent quality of life for nearly five more years. (She eventually died with cancer.)

If your dog's pain cannot be similarly managed, and you do not or cannot do the surgery, I would not judge you for putting your dog to sleep for an instant. Our dog was in considerable pain from cancer by the time I made the euthanasia appointment, and we were relieved that she was no longer in pain, but we were very sad.

I wish the best for you.
posted by purpleclover at 1:53 PM on May 14, 2015

Response by poster: Just thought I would come back and update. Vet checked both legs. The most recent injury is not a full tear and has the possibility to heal. The other leg is still definitely torn. With rest and confinement we should be able to get him back to at least 75%. He will always have a hop, but it won't be a death sentence. We will wean him off pain meds in a couple of months and see how he feels. If he seems to still need them, then he will get them. The vet will also check him for Lyme disease, just in case, but doesn't think that is the case. So, good news in the end! As long as he remains happy to be here and not in pain, we are happy with that.
posted by MayNicholas at 9:05 AM on May 19, 2015

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