From the day we collected Bodger at 6 weeks old (yes too early for a pup to be rehomed but his mum had an infection and was unable to feed her pups) I was smitten!
He became my world, I guess I was obsessed with him and loved him like nothing on earth.
We noticed at around the age of 2 after walks he would lift his back leg so took him to the vet. He was diagnosed with hip displaysia and we were sent away with glucosamine tablets. However after a couple of years we found that it was getting worse and changed vets.
We were advised that it could be cruciate damage and referred to a specialist in Aberdeen where he had a CT scan. It was explained to us that the cartilage that should have formed between his knee joint had actually grown on the outside of his knee. As a result, his bones were grinding and this was causing him pain.
We were given 2 options, a lifetime of medication for pain relief or to have the bones fused and a plate fitted. We chose the latter option thinking it would give him a better quality of life. The op was of course very expensive and although we had insurance it was not covered. Still, thanks to my family we were able to go ahead with it.
Although the op itself went well, following surgery Bodger contacted an infection in the leg which no amounts of antibiotics would beat. He spent 16 weeks in bandages which had to be changed 3 times a week. He was on a major amount of medication and we had frequent trips back and forth to the consultant in Aberdeen which was a 100 mile journey there and back. Not only did the cost spiral out of control we were using all our holiday allocation for the travelling etc. We spent months sleeping on the floor with him as he was unable to jump on the bed and his walks were non existent due to the fact he was in bandages and rest.
After 16 weeks we were advised that the plate had to come out as it was contaminated and the reason the infection wouldn’t clear up so out it came and another 8 weeks of bandages and rest followed.
We were finally given the all clear in February this year, told that the bone was solid, infection gone and he could go back to normal. Two weeks later we took him to the beach (first time in months) and had only been there 5 minutes when he went to run and let out a yelp.
I can’t put into words the feeling I had at that moment because I knew that the worst had happened. We took him straight to our vets where he was sedated and x rayed. Sure enough, the leg had fractured. I was sick to the pit of my stomach.
My vet contacted the consultant who offered to put in another plate at ‘cost price’. Thankfully my own vet was an absolute rock, she advised us that the option of amputation was there and offered to do the op herself.
It was clear in my mind at this point that amputation was the best option all round. I was not prepared to put him through another 16 weeks of trauma that would have been involved in having another plate fitted. My vet operated on a Tuesday morning a week after the fracture and he was home that night.
Yes, for the first week it was scary, he was on medication again so pretty doped up but he was walking with no problems. I guess I probably molly coddled him more than I should have too. The change in him was amazing though. After 3 weeks, he was off the meds and a much happier boy.
We are now 4 months post op and he is going from strength to strength. We had 6 weeks of hydrotherapy to build up his other muscles and are slowly increasing his walks every week.
I would say to anyone who is facing this decision to go for it. Yes, it’s a scary thought at the time but I can assure you that you will not regret it. Our dogs are amazing and recover so well. We are the ones who have the problem dealing with it.
Good luck to you all x