We have been trying for over a year to get the bone chip out of Henry's elbow but his sensitive skin has been in a constant state irritation. Treating his doggy MRSA (with the insanely expensive Zeniquin), changing his diet has resulted in huge improvements in Henry's skin. But because Henry is Henry, we still can't wean him completely off of his prednisone.
Things got worse because Henry is Henry -- and apparently one pathology-free leg was one too much -- he tore his ACL about six months ago (or was it nine months ago...it all runs together at a certain point). Not only was surgery out of the question but NSAIDs were as well because when used with steroids they increase the risk of stomach ulcers. Acupuncture and natural supplements have helped him but just don't seem to be enough. We were told the best thing to do for Henry is to keep him strong and to make sure he stays a healthy weight.
Walking Henry is frustrating. It used to be frustrating because you'd go on an hour long walk and come back exhausted but Henry would have more energy than he left with. More recently it has been frustrating because the last quarter of his twenty minute walk is super slow, like your trudging through molasses or like someone pushed the slow motion button. At times, it feels like you are pulling him along behind you. Hyperactive, under-exercised Henry = crazy, frustrated, irritated Jensen and Christina. It's hard to keep a dog you can't walk strong and skinny!
So we took Henry to see Dr. Lamb, the rehab vet at Sunset Hill Veterinary Clinic, to restart his hydrotherapy and found out that while it isn't ideal to operate on a dog taking steroids, that low-doses are okay. She referred us to Dr. Johnson at the Animal Surgical Clinic of Seattle.
We grumpily made the 27 minute drive early one morning for a surgical consult. True to form, Henry won over the staff in no time at all. They oohed and aahed over his sweet face and his darling ears. Dr. Johnson told us the good news that he can repair Henry's knee AND remove the bone chip in his elbow at the same time! The bad news is that in addition to the TPLO to repair the ACL tear, he also needs a medial patellar luxation repair and, worse case scenario, might also require femoral correction (poor bow-legged Henry). The total estimate? $5,800 to $6,200. Ouch!
I hate getting Henry surgery. How do you explain to a dog that while you are taking him to an appointment that will result in more pain (initially) and in months of activity restriction it is for his own good? But I have to say that leaving him this morning amongst staff that were excited to see him and free with their affection makes it easier.
So here's to 2012, which will start out with a drained savings account but will hopefully end with a happier, healthier, pain-free Henry.