Monday, 5 March 2018

The patient


A very expensive vets visit today revealed that Harry has a torn cruciate ligament. The ideal treatment is a $9000 surgery. The cheap surgery is $3000. If we are very lucky, we might avoid surgery by resting him and allowing the ligament to develop good strong scar tissue.
You might remember that Harry is not my dog but my son's. My lack of ownership doesn't stop me feeling horrible for Liam who has spent his summer working his bum off and might see it all go on what is only likely to be a moderately successful othopaedic surgery.
A little googling has revealed a knee brace which will help to keep the joint in a safe range of movement while still allowing some exercise so that muscles don't atrophy.
On top of all that, the vets examination has revealed a lot of bruising on Harry. He is almost never alone and we have no  idea how he got this bruising. It is concerning to know that he is managing to do all this damage......
Only yesterday someone said I didn't seem my "usual ebullient self" and I disagreed with them but at this moment my powerlessness is very definitely anti-ebullient!

22 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear it.

    This may sound harsh but throwing money at a health problem doesn't always make sense. As you said the op's success rate is less than promising. In absence of funds I suggest it's best to reconcile yourself to relieving the suffering as much as possible without resorting to the expense of surgical intervention. For your son feeling he needs to throw his earnings (presumably earmarked for his own enjoyment of life) is just not right.

    It's no doubt controversial but in the "hierarchy of needs" I am afraid, realistically, needs of a pet are pretty much down the line. You yourself live with a lot of pain and "inconvenience" due to your condition; as much as we want to make it alright for our pets we also have to acknowledge our and their limitations.

    Having looked up the condition, it appears that rest will be the order of the day. Main thing, whether for human or animal, to keep any actual pain at bay. Limping is inconvenient but at least you are still alive.

    All the best,
    U

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    1. It's all about balance, Ursula. I have told my kids that if you bring a creature into your life you have a duty to take care of them as best you can, I would not want a young dog to have a terrible quality of life for want of reasonable treatment. Having said that, I am quietly confident that the brace might keep him immobilised enough for time and nature to do their work

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  2. When animals suffer and are unable to communicate their pain to us, it is extremely heart wrenching. I hope that you are able to sort out Harry's problems soon. My best wishes.

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    1. We are working on it! he is on pain killers so he is comfortable but the problem with that is it makes him more likely to do more damage. Bring on the brace!

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  3. Goodness, that's a huge amount of money being quoted to put things right. I hope you can find an effective and cheaper alternative like the knee brace someone suggested.

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    1. Well vets use the same medications and equipment as doctors but without government subsidy so it has to be pricey!

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  4. I am so sorry to hear this. For Harry, for Liam and for you. And I would be feeling a bit flattened too.
    I hope that you will be able to find a solution which works for all of you.

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    1. Thank you! It keeps life interesting, eh?

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  5. I'm so sorry, kylie. It's miserable when anyone we love is in pain, and that includes our pets. I hope the brace will help. Is there any point to getting a second opinion, I wonder? I'd go with the more conservative treatment first, if it was me. It's surprising what careful rest can do.

    I didn't realize Harry belongs to your son; I think I started reading around the time you got him and didn't pick up on that. It doesn't change things, though, does it? You get attached just the same. We looked after our daughter's cat after she married her allergic spouse, and when the cat died suddenly in his sleep, it was really hard for us.

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    1. I think a second opinion would be great but I can't fund it and I doubt Liam is ready for that. I will be a lot happier when we have him immobilised. There will be time to heal and save money and figure out the best approach. Right now we are just trying to stop him running around which is hard with an animal who doesn't understand
      I'm sorry about your adopted cat, they leave a hole, don't they?

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  6. It's really sad that these family members suffer and that the costs for treatment are astronomical.

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    1. We will find a way to make sure he doesn't suffer too much

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  7. kylie, I just found another good dog twitter account - it's by the same guy who does We Rate Dogs. This one is called Thoughts of Dog: https://twitter.com/dog_feelings

    I just wish Harry could read; it might keep him from running around! He's such a handsome fellow. I hope the brace helps.

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    1. I wish he could read, too! this is nerve wracking

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  8. Poor old Harry! I guess he will feel a lot better after he has married Meghan Markle.

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    1. I'm not at all sure he would appreciate her!

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  9. After a couple of expensive treatments for one of my cats I wish I had "pet insurance"! I always ask myself how would I feel if Lily wasn't in my life anymore and I get all teary eyed and do what needs to be done. I can't stand to see an animal suffer. Good luck with the brace and I hope it does the trick!

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    1. Pet insurance is like all the other insurances: painful to pay but worth it at claim time!
      I think most people would eat baked beans forever to see their pet properly cared for.

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  10. The most I ever spent on a pet was $2,400. I say I love them, but would I pay $9,000? I hope I never have to decide.

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    1. It's a dreadful lot of money but it was the highest cost option and we wouldn't have done it. As it turns out, rest did the trick and no surgery is needed. We also found out he has arthritis in that knee so the surgery, designed to prevent arthritis, would have been a total waste

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    2. I have known blind dogs who did well but we can never predict how any individual will react to a given circumstance. It is VERY hard to keep an active dog quiet so I understand your decision.
      Bonnie was a dog and a half!

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    3. Snow, I accidentally deleted your comment but am copying from email here:

      I'm so happy things turned out well. I knew you had options, but your post also got me to wondering what I would do. When our heeler was old, she lost her eyes to cataracts. I looked into the surgery but declined to do it because she would have needed to be inactive for weeks. She would also have needed eye drops a few times a day. Because she was a very active dog who would have struggled mightlily against the drops, we couldn't see how the surgery could have worked. Peggy now says that she wishes we had given the surgery a chance simply because Bonnie was so miserable being blind. You read that dogs do well, but she didn't. She spent her days walking into walls and went from being cocky to being defeated.

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