Hey everyone! Today has a lot more news to impart so I’ll try to keep it digestible. TL;DR: we have delayed surgery in favour of finding an orthopaedic specialist. More info is below, plus some pics and a video at the end!
In talking with our second-opinion veterinarian today, it sounds like the pup nugget’s fractured femur could be “high risk” for complications. This is due to the type of break and its location (a distal fracture of the femur). It is low on her femur, which is good because that means that the bone is denser and it will be easier to place pins in it. But there is also an extra strain on the break due to the way muscles are pulling on each section of bone. The risk is compounded by not knowing when the break occurred; the more time that has passed, the more difficult it will be to bond the broken ends back together.
As we have gained an understanding of the more technical elements of lil’ Nugget’s condition and weighed it against her incredibly vivacious energy, we have opted to delay her surgery until she and her x-rays can be reviewed in-person (in-dog?) by an orthopaedic specialist. We will make our next decision about treatment based on that review, and whether the specialist is confident about a full recovery for her leg.
An orthopaedic specialist will have the best chance of successfully repairing the break, but there will still be a risk that it won’t heal properly after the surgery. This could give pupper a limp (she’s still growing and we have no idea how big she’ll get!)… or it could turn out that the break does not fuse at all and the leg eventually needs to be amputated anyway. Repairing this type of break in the femur bone of a small dog will be at least 6-8 weeks recovery time and require several follow-up appointments.
The immediate risks inherent in amputating the leg are far fewer. Recovery time would be about 2 weeks, and since she is still quite young, she’d adapt easily to her new life as a tripod dog. But of course, if anything ever happened to any of her other legs, her quality of life would then be greatly affected.
As mentioned in my original campaign description, the cost of an amputation is far less than that of bone repair and rehabilitation. We are more or less trying to avoid making this a matter of money; if we can save her leg, we will save her leg. Full stop. I’m not comfortable considering amputation based purely on the fact that it is cheaper. But that is where you guys come in! Because of everyone’s contributions, myself and Nugget’s foster-mom can focus on what is best for the health and life of this puppy. I will never stop saying thank you.
It has been difficult to wait, do more research, make more phone calls, wait for callbacks, ask around for more referrals… more phone calls… all while this beautiful small creature navigates this big world with a little hop and a limp. If Nugget showed constant signs of pain or duress we would be moving more immediately to action. While I know she is experiencing an amount of pain, we are doing our best to keep her comfortable while we work towards the most appropriate decision for her future.