Sunday, September 17, 2006

Time To Think

Dr. W. called and asked us to come to see her once more to talk about the visit to the orthopod. Snickers and I go in and Snickers happily wriggles and wags her tail to make friends with as many people as she can. Everyone seems happy to see her and they must be or they wouldn't work for a veterinarian. Dr. W. seems unhappy about our options and explains that she would go all the way with surgery and give Snickers every chance to have a normal leg.
Well, maybe. I didn't have the impression from the surgeon that there was all that much hope for our dog to have a normal leg even with successful surgery. When the amputation option was suggested, I commented that I didn't want to have to take off my dog's leg if there was a better way. The surgeon replied that this was a four legged animal, not a human being and she would be fine with three legs. Maybe.
No matter what we decide, this is a difficult choice. This is such a happy, gentle dog. We do not want her to lose this in her personality. When you rescue a dog, you are offered three months of free health insurance. I went back home to see if the insurance will cover repair of congenital defects. The fine print says no. So, the financial aspect also needs to be considered. The surgeon felt that conservatively, the surgery with physical therapy would cost over $6000. This doesn't include time lost from work, the emotional stress on Snickers, her pain or the other $1000 if the surgery fails and the leg needs to be amputated. If we go with amputation, the local vet could do it for a cost of $800. We would be able to take Snickers home that day and she would be completely recovered in two weeks. I don't like having to make this choice for another animal, but having raised two daughter's, we made some difficult choices for them along the way as well.
My husband and I need to talk this through, and in the end, we decide to wait through the winter and let Snickers help us decide. We will watch and see how she handles herself and her leg. This will give her some stability if she needs it on the winter snow and ice. Then, if we do need to amputate, she will have the summer to recover and get used to her new body. I call Dr. W. to discuss our decision. She understands and agreed that this made sense.
Now we wait.

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