Thursday, October 20, 2011

For the love of ...


This past weekend we went camping with our friends Bryan and Erica. We specifically chose a site right on Lake Allatoona so our doggies could play in the water. So, Saturday morning after breakfast J and I took Savannah down to the shore. She happily ran in and out of the lake for a few minutes as we worked our way around the little cove. Puppy bliss!

The lake is low so the shore was made up of the rocky, muddy lake bottom. As Savannah ran out of the lake she let out a pitiful yelp and kind of hopped back into the water. She immediately came out and over to me and Jarrett, holding up her back right paw. We thought she just stepped on a sharp rock or something but she wouldn’t put her paw back down. We decided playtime was over, J picked up the wet pup and carried her back to the site.

We examined her paw and leg and didn’t see any visible damage like a cut or something stuck but she was definitely in pain and refusing to use that paw. We held and/or carried her around the campsite the remainder of the day – propping her up on a cot in the tent to rest for most of it. She was sad and snuggly. We were concerned and did our best to keep her immobile. Sad puppy = sad puppy parents.

Sunday morning came and there was no improvement. We headed home from camping and kept her on bed rest for the day but at this point we knew we’d be heading to the vet on Monday.

J was at the vet first thing Monday without an appointment but the doctor saw him. He called me at work and informed me that while she had not broken her ankle or toe (some of our theories), she had completely torn the cruciate ligament in her knee (ACL on a human, CCL on a dog). The vet said we could try and manage it with rest and let scar tissue form on our own or get the $2600 surgery. Oy.

Over the last few days, we have gone back and forth over what to do. Of course, we want what is best for Savannah, but we have some financial considerations as well. If you know me, you know I was all over the internet gathering research. We read success stories for both methods, but the more I read, the more I was convinced she needed the surgery. All the evidence for a dog her size with a complete tear pointed that way. I spoke to a coworker whose dog had the same thing and he gave me the name of the hospital they used and liked.

We have a consultation with the doctor on Tuesday. We know he’ll recommend the surgery (which turns out to be more like $3800 if you include all the follow-ups, etc.). J remains a bit cynical that vets always suggest surgery because that’s how they get paid. I see his point, but I read articles from vets and owners alike that pretty much said this was our best choice. I’ll have a ton of questions because I have also read about all the possible complications.

Luckily, the hospital takes a special credit card that you can apply for to help pay for things like this. We were approved for a big chunk of the cost, which we can pay off without interest for up to 24 months. Still, it’s one of those unforeseen expenses that makes you cringe. But we love our Savannah and want her to be healthy and happy.

The recovery won’t be any fun either – about 12 weeks total – with the first few requiring very little movement on her part and definitely no stairs. Um, have you seen our house? THREE LEVELS! So far J has been carrying her up and down. I tried once and well, we took a tumble. Not sure what we’ll do when he has to travel for work in a couple of weeks. Anyone want to take in me and my injured pup for a few days? Now accepting applications.  :)

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