|Lady is a beautiful six month old puppy with a shattered femur (long bone in her right rear leg). She was dropped at a vets to be euthanized by the morons who kept her outside, with no fencing at all, to come and go as she pleased. No one seems to know...or aren't saying...just how this occurred. All that we know is that her leg took a pretty good whack.
Lady wound up at a shelter at which the veterinarian generously offered to do surgery believing, based on the X-rays, that it was a straight forward procedure. The surgery and the fracture turned out to be far more serious and complex than realized and was less than successful. They were considering immediate amputation.
Enter SWGSR; "Not so fast," we said. Lady cannot have an additional surgery for at least 48 hours. Her radiographs have been reviewed and we will transfer her to a top orthopedic specialist on Monday for a big, hopefully leg saving 2nd surgery. We cannot yet speak to whether or not this will be a fix, only that we will give her the best chance that we can. And it will be costly.
She must stay in the hospital for a day or so for observation and IV pain meds then go home with Nicki, our Tucson rep in order to stay close to her surgeon due to the high risk of infection. In the event all goes well next week, Lady will head to her recovery foster home in Gilbert, close to our local orthopedist and foster Mom Darlene, to embark on the long journey of healing and rehab.
Then, somewhere down the line, this poor baby will be spayed...she has already been vaccinated and microchipped.
Times are tough, we know. We're hoping that some more fortunate will be able to contribute to Lady's care. If you are able to help, pleaseOur sweet little Lady's progress will be chronicled here on her page. THANKS!
UPDATE 5/2: Our Tucson rep, who has been visiting Lady several times a day, felt that our little girl needed very close, round-the-clock monitoring so early today she was moved to the 24-hour emergency facility where Nicki works. There's a possibility that Lady might not be strong or healthy enough for her surgery on Monday; her blood work was normal but slightly anemic, so we'll have to wait and see.
Lady stopped vomiting once her previous meds were withdrawn which upset her tummy. She is now on strictly IV fluidS and IV antibiotics, nothing oral and doing better. Everyone involved in her care has fallen head over heels for this cutie.
Please send your prayers and good thoughts Lady's way.
UPDATE: Our special Angel will be transferred to the orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday morning for a 2nd, hopefully leg-saving surgery in the afternoon. We're holding our breath.....
UPDATE 5/6: Lady's surgery was scheduled for 3pm yesterday but as luck would have it, an emergency broken back took priority so her three-hour surgery concluded at 10:30PM last night. She tolerated the very extensive procedure well; the pin (the tip of which was making contact with her sciatic nerve) was removed as her bone had given way on one side. There were also bone fragments from the original injury removed from a pocket. She had also suffered considerable muscle damage along with two nerves that had to be reunited. She has a 6-screw plate and her surgeon is "hopeful."
That said, there is always a chance of failure. Should that occur, he made it clear that there are no options other than amputation. Lady's post-op protocol will be challenging; she must use the leg in order to maintain and build the muscle she needs to save her leg; on the other hand, she cannot do anything that will jeopardize its' stability and well, she's a puppy. It will definitely be a balancing act for her caretakers.
Job one is getting her to eat; her nutrition to date has been primarily intravenous, save for the boiled chicken Nicki brought her over the weekend. Her vet seems to think that her inappetence was pain related and expects a huge improvement by today...we'll see. She's gotta eat to heal.
We wish to thank everyone for their support. We might have to hospitalize Lady for the next 10 days at a minimum of $500 per day, plus the surgeon, plus her ICU stay, plus meds and supplements; we're looking at close to $10,000 in expenses, so the need is still great.
We will update Lady's progress as often as we can. THANKS and BLESS YOU!
QUICK UPDATE MAY 6th: LADY IS DOING GREAT!: Surgeon wanted to keep her all day so our staff member Nicki picked Lady up at 7PM tonight and both are headed home...for now. Vet could not have been more pleased with how she is doing and how good her attitude is; despite all of the traumatic surgery, she is obviously in far less pain than she was....let's hope she is ready to chow down.
UPDATE 5/7: After conferring at length with her surgeon, the concensus is that Lady needs to stay in Tucson with 24-hour watchful eyes. She's feeling so much better that it's already difficult to keep her as quiet as she needs to be. She will be in hospital boarding for 10 days, until her post-op vet visit on Monday. May 18th, as Nicki will be out of town next week.
Here's Nicki's 1st night foster report:
"Lordy, lordy, lordy. We now have a GSD puppy on our hands. One with zero training, or manners but what a personality!
Lady came in here full of curiosity, no fear. I would be shocked if she has ever been in a car or a house. She has explored every inch of the house, many times. :)
She was initially defensive with my boys, big shock. Hair up, lunging (quite a feat with a recently fixed fracture and wearing a lamp shade). Had her in the den in a crate while we "decompressed". Lady would bark if the boys came near the crate so they made themselves scarce. At bedtime we tried the X pen with a bed in it but she was having non of that. She decided that she could crawl out over the top. So the crate came into the bedroom.
She was a bit vocal at first but settled in. At about 1am I took her out and she urinated. Yeaaaaa. Back in the crate, a bit of whining and barking then back to sleep. She stayed quiet until we got up @ 5:30. Urinated again, barked and lunged at the boys again then decided that they are OK. She really wants to run and play and jump and frisk around. So sorry miss, still on leash. I do take the e-collar off when she is out of the crate and she absolutely has to have it, she really wants to chew her incision. There's almost no swelling, there is NO redness, no drainage, it looks great.
Long discussion with Dr. Warfield and the consensus is that she should stay at Pima while we are gone. He feels that cage rest for the first 10-14 days could only be beneficial to her. I will find out today what the charges will be.
The surgery site looks great, the post surgery x-rays while horrific in one sense, are a complete marvel in another. TK did an amazing job putting this baby back together again.
As far as recovery goes, well that is not completely clear. Lots depends on her. TK thinks that the first 3 weeks are the critical weeks. She must have leash/crate restrictions the entire time. Any type of slip or blow the area could cause the plate to fail. He feels that complete bone recovery is going to be at least 12 weeks and longer to build the muscle.
Water therapy would greatly enhance full muscle and range of motion. And of course, there is always the temperament issue. TK fully understands the need to socialize this girl and feels as long as it is under supervised conditions, it would be fine.
I am taking her to work with me today and at some point I will get some new pictures"
UPDATE 5/13: We've been checking on our gal daily while she is being nurtured and monitored on a 24 hour basis by our friends at Pima Pet Clinic; she's doing very well.
She did drain a copious amount of fluid several days ago, which we were told to expect, and that was the end of any drainage from her incision. She is able to toe touch and squat, something she couldn't do before and does not appear to be in much pain. Lady is, after all, an untrained puppy so she can be a handful and does not take kindly to confinement, however, her techs say that she has the routine down pat and she lets everyone know when her afternoon walk time arrives. She's eating like a little pony. We are very eager to see what her surgeon has to say on Monday when Lady has her first post-op visit and next update. Her Tucson foster Mom will return from her trip and hopefully take her back home for the weekend.
UPDATE 5/18: We are devastated; Lady's repair failed despite heroic efforts by everyone. There simply is not sufficient intact bone left in her little puppy leg to support any hardware. Not only was the severity of her injury a factor but the fact that her owners did not seek medical attention for some time after resulted in additional damage. Lady's leg will be amputated on May 19th after which she will go home with a staff member and learn how to be a tripod. The sad part is that she must endure yet another surgery. On the upside, Lady can finally start being the active and playful puppy she has been trying so hard to be.
Following her recovery period, she will begin hydrotherapy to strengthen her already atrophied muscles...donations will help to cover some of the cost. We are confident that she will adjust well as most do, particularly with the loss of a rear leg.
Please join us in following her progress; thanks to all for your kindness.
Checks may also be mailed to: SWGSDR, 4216 W. PARADISE DRIVE, PHOENIX, AZ 85029-2941
UPDATE 5/27: Our little girl is up in the White Mountains with Nicki at their summer place, learning how to be a dog and function on three legs. She's doing fine but is still very tender. Her surgery was a four and a half hour procedure done through her vets' tears; the extent of muscle damage, bone shards and calcium deposits buried within her tissues was so extensive that her vet could not help but cry. All she could say afterward was how incredible this little dog's spirit is and how amazing it was that, given the degree of pain she had to have been experiencing, she hadn't bitten anyone fussing with her. The objective of the lengthy surgery was to preserve as much of her thigh as possible in order to protect her genitals and provide better balance.
Lady, who never did respond to her name, and now dubbed "Ali" (hope) by her foster family, runs better than she can walk. She tries to engage her canine roommates in play. She is behind in the house training department which is to be expected from an outside-only pup and one that was hospitalized so much. Her training is being approached as though she were an 8-week old puppy, starting from square one. She is also slowly being introduced to the outside world of socialization. We expect her to catch up quickly.
In another week her sutures will be removed; her doctors say it will be two weeks after that before we need not worry about her hurting herself. Right now her greatest challenge is trying to scratch her right ear with a leg that isn't there.
Hydro therapy has been set up in Tucson and will begin as soon as we get the green light from her medical team. We are eagerly awaiting new photos from Show Low.
UPDATE 6/16: Lady is getting stronger every day and is just about ready to begin her hydrotherapy. Her training was non existent in every respect, she did afterall, virtually raise herself, so it's slow going in that department. It takes time to undo mistakes of the past. She can now jump in a truck without assistance and the nerve pain from 'phantom limb' has subsided. She spent the last week up north (lucky dog) playing in the woods. We're hoping foster Mom can get photos to us soon.
UPDATE: FOSTER REPORT JULY 2009: Ali is getting stronger; better balance each day. She is learning how to maneuver on slick surfaces but she will still, on occasion, drag herself along if she gets in a hurry and is not balanced on the three legs. We try to get her to slow down and get her leg under her but she is, after all, a puppy.
She has pretty much figured out the house training thing but will get lazy/tired and squat in the house once in a blue moon. We are not allowing her to jump into the vehicles because we have high profile vehicles and feel the possibility for injury is too great. Not that she can't do it, she can easily jump on and off the deck in the yard.
Ali loves the boys, will kiss them relentlessly if allowed. They can grumble all they want, she just keeps kissing. She is also very much a softy. She requires a very soft correction, will absolutely shut down if anyone is harsh with her. Not that that is ever allowed in our house, Ali is very much the spoiled little princess. Carl tells her constantly what a pretty girl and how special she is.
Oh yeah, not surprisingly, this girl also has a fairly high prey drive, is quite mouthy with the other dogs and at the same time, uses her feet like a Boxer. We are working on this but encourage her to be a puppy and play, play, play. She has no interest in retrieving but is more than happy to chew up the ball, Cuz or rope. Absolutely loves chew bones.
I would not call her a Velcro dog but she would prefer to be wherever the humans are. However, when she's missing, I will find her enjoying the sun in the yard, watching lizards or sleeping in her crate. Ali uses the doggy door without problem, has figured out that she must put her right leg out first or the whole balance thing is a bit off.
Hydrotherapy, AKA swimming, is going well. On rare occasion, she will splash/thrash about but I continue to hold her tight, comfort her and then she will relax and begin her gentle paddling again. Her life preserver obviously gives her added confidence as well as buoyancy. She is quite cute in her neon orange vest!
Ali's little stump is much less tender and getting quite a bit of hair. We rub/massage the stump frequently as directed by her surgeon to diminish sensitivity. She also receives Veterinary Chiropractic care which includes acupuncture. The adjustments seem to make a big difference in her balance.
All in all, our little gal is making great progress. She has a long road still but each day is a step in the right direction.
UPDATE AUG 2ND:
Here's "Ali" (as her foster family calls her) in the White Mountains last week just being a dog, begging for the ball from "Riot" and hanging with him and her new
UPDATE 8/14: In addition to swimming and as part of her rehab, Lady has had regular chiropractic and acupuncture treatments. This past week she started on a new cold laser therapy for which one of her vets was recently certified.
Both her foster Mom and the vet don't think Lady is ambulating the way most tripods do; she seems to be moving all of her weight to the rear. As a result, her gait is off and she is not building the shoulder and leg muscle she needs. We will likely do X-rays of her elbows but will first bring her to Phoenix to confer with our friends at Canine Physical Rehabilitation of the Southwest for an evaluation and recommendations. Otherwise, "Ali" is making up for lost puppy time and getting into as much trouble as she can along with doing her best to annoy her canine roommates...playing does not seem to be one of her challenges :-)