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Belle needs surgery!

Smiley14
February 11th, 2008, 01:13 PM
Bad news for poor Belle. It looks like she'll need LP surgery. When I first got her and during her first few months, they told me her knees were nice and tight, so I thought I got lucky. But just last Tuesday when she was under for her mouth x-rays, they checked her knees again and told me they were loose, especially the right one, but thought they were only like a grade 1. The vet commented that since she's at ideal weight and muscular, as long as this was maintained, she should be okay, so I didn't give it a whole lot of thought.

Just on Sat night her left knee popped out and she's been doing the tell-tale curled toe drag. My vet is closed on Sundays, so I took her to the Banfield vet (the only one open other than E-Vet). Never been there before, but the vet on call popped her knee back in and said in his opinion both knees are a grade 3 and that she needs surgery right away. Within a few minutes of his popping it back in, it popped back out again and now that we're back home it seems to be going in and out. One minute she's fine, walking normal and then a few minutes later, she's doing the three legged dance again. They gave me some pain medication for her.
Today, I took her to my regular vet and she confirmed that now that it's popped out, it won't stay in place so does need surgery and has progressed to a grade three now. She referred me to the U of MN, so we have an initial diagnostic appointment with them on Feb 25th. :(

As a side note, I'm amazed at how well she gets around on three legs when she's holding up her left back leg. She's still dashing around, playing with Petey, jumping on and off the bed (bad, I know!) and doing all her usual antics without even batting an eye. She doesn't even seem to notice! I've gotten mixed advice about keeping her still vs keeping her mildly active, so I'm letting her run around still, but trying to keep her off the stairs and keeping her from jumping. Easier said than done though! At least she's not in pain at the moment. I wish I could get into the U sooner, but they're running about two weeks out for appointments. My poor puppy!

Love4himies
February 11th, 2008, 01:48 PM
Oh no, poor Belle. That must be so painful, I was wincing as I was reading your post.

ancientgirl
February 11th, 2008, 02:30 PM
Poor girl. I hope you are able to get her let fix soon. :pray:

jiorji
February 11th, 2008, 02:45 PM
oh no poor Belle :sad:

Frenchy
February 11th, 2008, 08:10 PM
Oh I'm so sorry :sad: this will be hard to keep her still after the operation. They are usually calmer wearing the cone.

Poor Belle :sad: and for you :grouphug:

krdahmer
February 11th, 2008, 08:52 PM
Oh no... poor Belle... I hope the surgery goes well and that she has a speedy recovery!:goodvibes: (Maybe they'll have a cancellation and get you in earlier too :fingerscr)

luckypenny
February 11th, 2008, 09:48 PM
Poor baby. You can always ask to put your name down on a cancelation list. If someone else postpones or cancels a surgery, the vet would call to fit you in sooner. :fingerscr :goodvibes:

Smiley14
February 11th, 2008, 10:09 PM
Thanks guys! :grouphug: The pictures and stories I've heard from this kind of surgery look and sound just awful, so I'm dreading it. I wish I could fast forward time and have it be all over with! Good idea to get on a cancellation list though. I'll do that! This one takes about 6-8 weeks to recovery, so will not be fun at all. :sad:

hazelrunpack
February 11th, 2008, 11:13 PM
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the U of MN has an excellent orthopedic staff, Smiley. She'll be in very good hands. :grouphug: In the 90s we had both of Priscilla's hips and her back done there, as well as Evan's elbows...all by Dr Wallace. He was an excellent surgeon and a really good guy--although by now he may have retired. But that whole staff was very easy to deal with and were very patient and thorough in answering all of our questions. :thumbs up

The coffee in the lobby was always stale, though... :o

rainbow
February 11th, 2008, 11:46 PM
Awww....poor Belle. :sad: I hope you can get a cancellation so she can have it done sooner. :fingerscr :goodvibes: The hardest part is going to be keeping her and Petey apart during the recovery period. :o

Smiley14
February 12th, 2008, 01:19 AM
Thanks guys!!!! I'm so nervous!

Hazel, that's good to know, thank you!!! The head surgeon is Dr. Betty Kramek, so I'm hoping to have her do the surgery. I'll have to ask if Dr. Wallace is still around too! I'm not sure who the initial consult is with or if I'll be able to request a certain surgeon. Not sure how that works??

She's running around like it's nothing at the moment! So crazy how she just switches to three legs and doesn't even blink an eye!

growler~GateKeeper
February 12th, 2008, 01:47 AM
aww poor Belle :grouphug: Unfortunately once they pop out they will continue to do so.

Are they doing both @ the sametime?

Best of luck getting her in before the scheduled appt :goodvibes:

hazelrunpack
February 12th, 2008, 10:54 PM
Thanks guys!!!! I'm so nervous!

Hazel, that's good to know, thank you!!! The head surgeon is Dr. Betty Kramek, so I'm hoping to have her do the surgery. I'll have to ask if Dr. Wallace is still around too! I'm not sure who the initial consult is with or if I'll be able to request a certain surgeon. Not sure how that works??

She's running around like it's nothing at the moment! So crazy how she just switches to three legs and doesn't even blink an eye!


I think you're just assigned to a surgeon, not sure how they do it--and we haven't been there for so long that likely things have changed by now, anyway.

Sounds like the lil darlin' is doing well, though, not letting her owie slow her down! :grouphug:

TeriM
February 13th, 2008, 01:20 AM
Poor Belle :sad:. Hopefully you can get a cancellation and a quick surgery date :goodvibes:. I would just caution you to watch her activity level a bit just in case the added strain on the good leg starts to cause her some problems.

Good luck :grouphug: :fingerscr :grouphug:.

Smiley14
February 14th, 2008, 12:22 PM
aww poor Belle :grouphug: Unfortunately once they pop out they will continue to do so.

Are they doing both @ the sametime?

Best of luck getting her in before the scheduled appt :goodvibes:

I'm not sure yet actually. We have an appointment on the 25th, so they will do a diagnostic exam then and determine what all needs to be done. I'm so torn on this actually! Both knees are bad, but it's the left one that is the worst and needs surgery. It's the one that won't stay in place anymore. It's a grade three. Her right knee is only a grade one and they don't do surgery until grade 3-4. But her left knee was also only a grade one up until a week ago. It just happened overnight, literally! So in many ways, I'd rather them just do both knees at once and get it all over with as there is a very high chance of her right knee going out someday otherwise anyway. BUT, on the other hand, double LP surgery is much harder on the dog than just doing one knee. With a double, they don't have the use of either back leg and have a lot more pain and discomfort. Some surgeons won't even do a double for this exact reason. But also on the flip side, as this surgery is pretty intensive and has a fairly long recovery with two months recovery following by a few months of therapy, many argue that it's too much to put a dog through it twice and is better to just do it all at once. So I'm torn on the whole thing and don't know what I want them to do, if I've even given the choice. I have no idea. I'd like to go in there being prepared with an answer if they give me the choice on her right leg, but I don't know how to answer that one. In talking to people who have done double vs. single, it's a completely different dog coming home as the pain level is quite different. But every single person who has had the double is glad they did so they don't have to put the dog through it a second time. And the singles are glad they did one as it's an easier recovery, but completely dread the thought of having to do it a second time. I just don't know what to do. But really, I might not even have that choice to make. I have no idea!

I'm worried about the additional strain being put on her right knee right now in the interim while we're waiting for the 25th, so am trying to keep her more confined. I'm crating her more and keeping her play time more subdued and cut out walks. But she's feeling fine and is eager to run and play, so it's hard!

Smiley14
February 14th, 2008, 12:26 PM
I think you're just assigned to a surgeon, not sure how they do it--and we haven't been there for so long that likely things have changed by now, anyway.

Sounds like the lil darlin' is doing well, though, not letting her owie slow her down! :grouphug:

I called them back a few days ago and asked for a specific surgeon (the head of Ortho, Dr. Betty Kramek (http://www.cvm.umn.edu/facultystaff/vcs/kramek.html)) and it just so happened she had a cancellation and had an opening come up on the 25th, the same day as my initial appt! My original appt was for 11:45am with whatever surgeon was on call, but now it's at 10am with Dr. Kramek. YAY! She is the best in this area, so I am so grateful to get her.

hazelrunpack
February 14th, 2008, 04:40 PM
Good deal! :highfive: I've never dealt with Dr Kramek, but I've heard good things about her.

If Dr Kramek decides that fixing Belle's knees one at a time is the best way, it won't be so bad. :grouphug: We had Priscilla's hips replaced one at a time, and although we did dread taking her back, the recovery on the second hip was much less stressful. We knew what to do and what to expect. And she knew for sure the second time that we were coming back for her after the surgery (for hips they keep them a week) :shrug: And with luck, maybe Belle won't need the second surgery at all! :fingerscr