Monday, June 18, 2007

the diagnosis

Below is a post I started last week & never got around to finishing:
Doodles has a bad hip. I knew something was wrong before I even saw the vet. I was looking over the itemized bill in the waiting room, and saw there were several x-rays taken. Dr. Taylor had originally said he thought he would be able to tell if there were "growing pain" spots with one x-ray, so the fact that they took 3 had me worried.

When Dr. T told me Doodles has a bad hip, I asked him if he was serious. I don't know why I would ask such a thing, except that I never think big news (good or bad) is real until I repeatedly ask for confirmation. Once it sunk in, I started to cry. I didn't realize just how much I loved Doodles & how I would do anything in my power to make him feel better. $2000 for surgery? No problem. Set me up on a payment plan.

In simple terms, his hip bone didn't form properly, so instead of being nice & round like his left hip, his right hip bone is more flat & square & does not fit into the socket like it should. Dr. T spent probably 30 minutes with me, explaining his x-rays & our options.

Honey & I have decided to have the recommended surgery, which will cut off part of his hip bone and during the healing process, it will form a new joint. The alternative is a total hip replacement, but since Doodles is still young (9 months) and is relatively small (56 lbs), the vet felt the femoral surgery is the best option for him. The risk is that the sciatic nerve runs through the area, and there is a small chance of permanent nerve damage in his right leg. If that does happen, we'd have to amputate. But at least we'd still have Doodles.

I am so thankful that we chose Doodles from the litter because if he had stayed with a sled-dog musher as many of his litter mates did, I am sure he would be put down rather than have the surgery. As Dr. T said, he's never going to be an athlete now, and no dog musher would spend the money to have his hip replaced if he wasn't going to be able pull a sled. Have I ever mentioned that before? That Porter came from a litter of sled dogs? He comes from a very good bloodline, but because Alaskan Huskies are in a sense, mutts, they cannot be AKC registered. Not that that matters to Honey or I. When the opportunity to get a Husky presented itself, we thought he/she would be a perfect fit for our lifestyle. And he really has. We have a Husky that actually COMES BACK to us when we let him off-leash, which from what I understand, is a rare quality in a Husky. That means he loves us!

Last night, Doodles was whimpering, I thought, in pain. When I realized he was whimpering at his leash laying on the floor by the ottoman. I asked Honey (rhetorically) if he thought Doodles wanted a walk, and that was all Doodles needed to hear. At the sound of the word "walk", he had jumped off the ottoman, picked up his leash, and laid it in front of me. Porter does not understand that he needs to take it easy.

While we were walking him, it was impossible to not analyze his gait, and I feel so horrible for not knowing that his leg was messed up. All this time when I said ~ That's right, Porter! Wiggle that ass! You own the sidewalk! ~ really, he walked that way because his hip bothered him. The reason he stands knock-kneed, because his hip bothered him. The reason he ran front-leg-front-leg, back-leg-back-leg instead of front-leg-back-leg, front-leg-back-leg was because his hip bothered him. How shitty do we feel for not realizing this sooner?

* Okay, so this is about where I left off *

We tried not to dwell on the fact that Porter was having major surgery in less than a week. It was a gorgeous weekend. A day so hot that I was grateful for the breeze. I worked in the garden & took a nap in the sun; Porter joined me even though he was so hot, his tongue hung out of the side of his mouth. He also hung out with Riley-cat. He did his best to forget about Thursday.

Doodles had his surgery last Thursday, today being Monday. Dr. Taylor called me after he finished the surgery, and said that it went perfectly. He wouldn't know if there was any nerve damage until Porter got up & moved around a bit, but he felt confident that everything was just fine. To say I was relieved was a major understatement. I couldn't stop smiling. I called Honey, and told everyone at work.

Porter had to spend the night at the vet's office, so Honey & I went to dinner to celebrate Porter's successful surgery. Then came home & put together our new compost bin. Yes, we are just that exciting. Ever wonder what your married & childless friends do for fun? You can stop wondering. We put together compost bins. And talk about our dog.

The following morning Dr. Kramer, another vet at the clinic, called to say Porter was carrying his leg as they would have expected him to, and that he was even putting light pressure on his foot. Horray!! Again, to say I was relieved was just a huge understatement. I called Honey, and I could hear the relief in his voice.

It was a bit of a shock seeing my little Doodles with half his ass and his whole back-right leg shaved & the 4-inches of stitches. It makes me ache when he cries out in pain, but overall, he's doing really good. And getting stir-crazy. He kept us up for most of last night whining. Oh, the whining. He'd come into our bedroom, rest his head on the edge of the bed, and cry. Not in pain, just in boredom. When I told him to go lay down, he would sulk down the hallway with a big harumph! I couldn't help but giggle at him. It's so hard to take him seriously when he gets sassy, and believe you me, that dog can sass.

We took him for his first walk post-surgery tonight, and he pretty much just hopped along on three legs.

He's starting to get awfully sassy again ~ we just got into a sass-fight ~ so I think we're going to take him for another stroll around the block. Wear that little bugger out. Plus, we're supposed to make sure he's using his leg otherwise he'll just get used to being 3-legged. My little tripod.

He actually fell asleep in this position last night. How cute is that. Okay, I know that's probably way more than your fill of Porter pictures, but I just love him so. I used to take hundreds of photos of our cats, now I take hundreds of photos of my dog. Bet you can't wait 'til I have a baby.


jeanetta said...

ok sometimes i get alittle confused. are doodles and porter the same dog?

tracy said...

sorry, I forget not everyone is aware we call him Doodles! yes Doodles & Porter are one in the same. Porter is named for the Johnny Cash song, and "Doodles" I think arose from calling him Dude as a puppy, as in ~ Dude! Would you just pee already!

Jerusalem said...

Oh I am so glad that he made it through and is doing good! Though that is one crazy hair-do he has!!! Hurrah for Porter Doodles!!!