Wow, have I ever neglected this thing. It’s been quite a while since my last post. There is a good reason for that – a cute little red-head named PEPPER.
I wish that I was a better photographer, because this little girl is just too cute for words and I have yet to take a picture that really captures her essence.
This poor little girl has had a tough row to hoe. She was surrendered to Save Our Setters by her owners due to the fact that they could no longer afford the expensive special food she needs. PEPPER has an allergy to grain proteins, and cannot eat any food containing grain.
Of course, when they surrendered her, they neglected to tell anybody at Save Our Setters that she had also been struck by a car! When I picked her up from the transport volunteer, she was hobbling on three legs.
Her right hip was obviously dislocated. Her previous owner did send along a handwritten note saying “Pepper was hit by a car. The vet says that it is only cartilage damage and she will be O.K. with a couple weeks of rest.”
Well, I’m not a vet, but that sure looks like more than cartilage damage to me. Here is a quick, raw video I shot of her when we arrived at home that first night. This is not a polished video, it was a “quick & dirty” (and if you look at our living room carpet you can see the “dirty”) that I sent off to Save Our Setters so that they could see the situation.
I immediately scheduled her to see Dr. Moore at the Harborfront Hospital for Animals in Spring Lake. Take a look at her x-ray for yourself.
Dr. Moore felt that if this had been treated immediately, the leg could have been popped back into the socket at a cost of approximately $200. But by the time that I got her into the vet (at 9:00 AM the next morning after picking her up) there was just too much scar tissue built up.
1) Amputate the leg – cost (approximately) $1,000
2) Physical Therapy – cost (approximately) $1,400
3) Total Hip Replacement surgery – cost (approximately) $8,000
4) Femoral Head Ostectomy surger – cost $2,300
Nobody felt that Physical Therapy alone would be a good option. It would leave her with significant pain and a high probability of future complications. Amputation would be the least cost option, and many dogs adjust to the missing limb without issue. It would relieve her of the burden of carrying around a mostly useless limb, but it seemed a shame to do that if another way could be found. The Total Hip Replacement (THR) would be the Cadillac option, but the price tag was scary.
The experts at MSU, and our own Dr. Moore agreed that the Femoral Head Ostectomy (or FHO) would provide here with the same improvement as the THR with far less surgical trauma – and of course less cost.
While we were conducting all of this research, PEPPER continued on demonstrating to us that she was a wonderful little girl. She ran and played with the nearly boundless energy that only puppies can generate. At the end of the night, she would be sore and tired – and would seek out Dad’s lap as the best possible place to rest and recover.
Two weeks ago, PEPPER had her FHO done. In layman’s terms this means that the removed the ball from the top of the long leg bone (the femur) and stuck the resulting end into the scar tissue that has filled her hip socket. She is still confined to crate rest and leash walks while she heals. In a couple of weeks, we will begin a program of Physical Therapy to help her learn to use that leg again.
I cannot say enough good things about the folks at Save Our Setters. They immediately stepped up to the plate, determined to do whatever was best for PEPPER. Of course, doing the right thing is not without cost. And Save Our Setters is a non-profit organization, totally dependent on donations to cover the costs of doing right by the dogs.
Now, I’m not one to beg – but this time I am more than willing to beg. If you’ve got a dollar or two to spare, please go to the Save Our Setters site and make whatever contribution you can. I would consider it a personal favor, and PEPPER will certainly appreciate it.
Prop It Up!