Friday, January 30, 2009

Gimme a Break...But Not That Kind!! (Arthur)

Arthur is due to turn 11 years old this coming March. He is pictured to the left at the 2008 LGRA/NOTRA National Race Meet after participating in the Legends program. On Tuesday, Arthur managed to break his left rear leg just below the knee. We have no idea how he managed this feat - whether he ran into something, or slipped on the slick ground (he and half-brother Burni do not go out slowly), or if he managed to hit a hole or uneven spot in the yard just right. But, regardless of how he managed it, he certainly busted himself up.

We were already getting iced in and since Arthur seemed otherwise normal, not shocky, and eating and drinking, we decided to wait until our vet opened in the morning. It ended up being delayed thanks to the ice storm - the clinic didn't open until noon. Arthur laid on the couch and shared bites of cinnamon toast. The University wasn't opening until 1 pm (they later opted to close for the entire day) and Victor had called in and worked from home later in the evening - so we attempted to wait patiently until the time to head for the clinic.

Dr. Lindsley wanted to knock Arthur out to take the x-rays so we left him there (he was not that pleased about it). The report we received later was disheartening - it was bad enough that she asked if I even wanted him woke up from the anesthesia - as she knows how bad it's been for us lately. But, that was not an option. He was too bright and his normal, happy, mama's boy even while hurting. He had broken both the tibia and fibula just below the knee joint. She said this can absolutely only be handled by a specialist and that it was going to involve a lot of pins and plating, and, of course $$. to the next clinic.

The specialist was not as taken aback as our regular vet, but as he said, he works with it every day. He said on a scale of 10, this was a 8.5-9 but that it was certainly fixable. From the x-ray and type of break (very clean & sharp edges) it did not seem to indicate brittle or unhealthy bone at this time. He also did not think that Arthur had blown out the knee or involved ligaments since it was so close to the joint. We went through a health and surgical history - I didn't realize that pretty
much the only things he has seen the vet for since his "toe incident" ages upon ages ago, was for rabies shots and prostate exams, with the exception of a recent trip for a stubborn ear infection. The vet was encouraged by his activity level for his age, and the fact that he was still "up" and acting normally despite the injury (not depressed). He said there was always a possibility that this was cancer related, but it doesn't seem obvious at the moment - and he was optimistic about fixing the leg.
So I just flat told him what I had between my CareCredit and Visa balance and he thought it was doable. Since I haven't heard of bone cancer in Arthur's immediate pedigree, I opted to have them do surgery to repair his leg. I had contemplated amputation, thinking this would be over $5-6K to even attempt repair, but since the estimate was quite a bit under that...I decided to attempt the fix. If for some reason the bone appears unhealthy when they go in, we would discuss amputation.

I picked up Arthur this evening from the clinic. They showed me his post-op x-rays - what a jumble! The fibula (I think that's right - the smaller bone) is actually still broken as it is encased in a mass of muscle. Since, according to the vet, the muscle was all healthy and in good tone, they are leaving it to heal on its own since it is not a weight-bearing bone.

There sure was lots of metal in that x-ray too! If I'd been thinking I would have snapped a shot with my phone. Haven't seen any of the metal yet as it's wrapped up, but I will be changing the wrap tomorrow evening. He was happy to see me, but seemed almost frantic and panting heavily...I was upset because it's the first time that he has really looked....old.

He went for walkies when we got home - he had peed a bit when I was trying to get him out of the van so I figured he needed to empty out before coming in. It was apparently too much because about halfway to the door after taking care of business, he pretty much collapsed into a sit then laid down. Before I got too frantic, he got back up and we made it to the living room. He drank a bunch of water, and then I got worried about that since he was starting to seem tight in the flank, but when I put pressure there, he burped and it faded. I popped a Gas-X into him to make myself
feel better because by this time I was about to stroke out!

He is now ensconced in our bedroom in an expen - we figured that even with the cats present, it would be quieter for him than in a living room full of rowdy girls. At one point when we had left him alone in the living room (the house divas were all in the yard) he climbed on the couch, which is NOT allowed per vet's instructions. He hasn't seemed too excited or perturbed by the cats, even when CC stuck her paw through the bars and tried to touch his face (she's a bit too social). I can tell that he's tired of just lying on his right side, and he gets uncomfortable when he wants to move, and you can see him shifting...and then he'll just sigh and lie back down. He has an antibiotic and some pain meds. I can see the bruising around his hock just underneath the wrap. I am just dumbfounded on how he did this to himself!

His appearance is not enhanced by his military haircut up to his hip and over the left flank. He also has lovely razor rash along his sheath (it looks like a wine birthmark!) and his now overly visible dangly bits also got burned. Lovely. I am stressed and scared and oh so hopeful that he heals well. They did take a sample to send for testing to see if there were any signs of cancer. Fingers crossed.

Our vet is coming Monday for our yearly "rabies roundup". I guess Arthur is getting out of a prostate exam for now! She will check Kal out to see how he's progressing. Hopefully we will just keep on giving him time with no special procedures...maybe he will go through another round of steroids, and that's likely the best we can afford now.

What a gamut of emotions this has been - stressed, frightened, wondering if it will turn to devastation, then a touch of relief. I really feel like I need to find a dark corner, collapse in a heap and just cry for a while.

For now, I will just deal with the new discovery that when he is exhausted...Arthur snores.


Flatlander said...

We send our best wishes for a good recovery for Arthur. We can relate totally with all of your described emotions. We went through the gambit, including denial, when Ambassador went down. Our fingers are crossed for you and Arthur.
The ZoiBoyz Pack in Colorado

Elaine Summerhill said...

Wishing you the best of luck and Arthur a quick recovery! I too have been through the gamut of emotions, the roller coaster of highs and lows, when BJ broke his pelvis. Will be keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Mare said...

We're cheering you and Arthur on as you make a far too eventful start to 2009. Let me tell you, if I win the lottery, I am sending you a big fat CareCredit card with an unlimited amount of available credit!
Cognac and your fans in Oregon send healing wishes your way.

Monica said...

Oh, dear. With all the other goings-on, maybe Arthur got the idea that this would lock in the level of attention he considers appropriate. Or not! I'm saying prayers for an easy recovery for all of you.

Cyndi Dell said...

Our prayers are with you for Arthur and Kal too. Hoping your luck improves. When it rains, it pours. All the Best from the Morgandell Hounds