Crud. It’s a Dog’s Life. Literally.

I’m holding a life in my hands…again. This time it’s just the dog…but Yah, it worries me. Who would’ve thought we’d be so attached to the dog. Sigh…


He’s been gimping around here a few weeks, and getting steadily worse. One vet suggested (at a cost of $80) that he tweaked a knee and just needed a couple weeks to heal up. A couple weeks later, worse instead of better, we took him to a different vet for a second opinion. This vet actually did x-rays and a full diagnosis (for less $$ than the 1st vet).

Hershey has hip dysplasia, and is in a lot of pain. One of his hips is destroyed, the ball and socket loose and seperated. Whether from the genetic disease of hip displasia, or from an injury while he was developing, the vet cannot say.

Hip dysplasia effects most of the large breed dogs to some degree. It basically means that the joints, particularly the hips, don’t form correctly and in severe cases cannot take the stress of a dogs life. They seperate and cause intense pain and limited mobility. The treatment is either expensive or fatal. It’s either surgery or put the dog down.

For the degree of damage in Hershey’s case there are two surgical options:

The first is complete hip replacement. The damaged bone and socket are excised. A custom joint replacement is created and installed. Multiple x-rays, a major surgery, physical therapy, and an extensive recovery period are involved. It is expensive. Really expensive.

The second is called “Femoral Head and Neck Excision”. They remove the ball off the bone, clean up the socket, and stitch a bit of cartlidge and muscle in place. The relief from the pain is immediate and they start using the leg as soon as the anesthesia wears off. The muscle develops and takes the stress that the joint would have. Most dogs achieve total mobility this way, but they will never be a performance dog…running trials and such. This is considered a “salvage” operation. It is expensive too, but is about one-sixth the cost of the hip replacement.

The important part in Hershey’s case is that is other hip is formed correctly. If it was damaged or deformed as well, he would face a lifetime of painkillers, pain, and limited mobility. He’s a young dog. Even as fantastic a companion as Hershey is, there’s a tough decision here. I would have to make it.

With one healthy hip, he has a chance at a decent dog’s life. We have choices.

The hip replacement is simply out of the question. The cost and our budget is such that even if we could finance it, we couldn’t pay the payments. Combine that with the uncertainty at work, and I. Simply. Cannot.

Sometimes being an adult, with all the choices and responsibilities, sucks.

We can’t really afford either option. But those big brown eyes…

Hershey is the wife’s dog. He accompanies her everywhere he can. He watches her, takes her to get the mail, rides in the car with her, and even helps her with the laundry.

I should put him down. I. Simply. Cannot. The wife has big brown eyes too.

Keeping watch on the wife.
Hershey the companion.

The only reason he’s sleeping here is that the wife is laying on the floor reading a newspaper…
Hershey sleeping

Hershey goes in for Femoral Head and Neck Excision surgery on April 18th.

Best of luck to the big brown dog.

Daniel Meyer

ps: Here’s a good resource for information about canine hip dysplasia.

This entry was posted in Pets/Animals. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Crud. It’s a Dog’s Life. Literally.

  1. WordFaery says:

    damn you dragon for making me cry

  2. Mr. Nuts says:

    Didn’t know if I wanted to read this after losing my dog to cancer last year. But I’m glad to see the happy ending. Hershey will pay you back many times over!

  3. MOM says:

    Thank goodness. If you put him down, you would regret it forever. He is a friend not just to your wife–but to yourself as well. And you are my son–and so you have to have the surgery.

  4. Rainewalker says:

    Listen to your mother, Daniel.

  5. Valker says:

    Daniel, how about allowing a few of us to share in the expenses…. You have more avid followers than you may realize. Most folks can kick in a few bucks…

  6. Daniel Meyer says:

    Quote Valker:
    Daniel, how about allowing a few of us to share in the expenses…. You have more avid followers than you may realize. Most folks can kick in a few bucks…

    Heh heh…I appreciate that…I’ve got it covered. Just buy millions of books (or convince your friends to) and everything will work out. He goes in for surgery in the morning BTW.

    Daniel Meyer

  7. wordfaery says:

    Give Hershey a smoochie ………. er………. scratch his ears for me.

  8. J.E. says:

    Mr. Meyer:

    I was web-browsing looking up information about hip dysplasia, hip dislocation etc. on dogs. My baby, (shit-zu mix- 8 years old) his name is puffy,who is a happy dog has dislocated his hip (well his left leg is partially out of the hip socket) he cannot walk and at the beginning he seemed to have no feelings on both of his hind legs. It’s been three weeks now the vet has provided him with medications and shots in hopes that the swelling will go down and the bone (femor) will return to its place (hip). I am not good at explaining all of this. However, I am doing everything that the vet tells me, he is in confinement in his cage during the day while I am at work and I take him to the lake (once in the morning and in the afternoon) so that he can do his things. With a towel, I carry the weight of his hind legs so that he does no harm and walk him and he does what he needs to do. Besides that, the lake is his favorite place and he loves going there and we enjoy sitting in the grass, watch people pass by and look towards the horizon. Two weeks into following the recommendations of his vet, I start to notice that he started to have feelings on both of his legs, the vet is kind of surprise, but he did some tests and my prognosis seemed to be right. However, no significant improvement in walking. So he has given him two more weeks of the same treatment with a stronger medicine to see if it will allow for swollen area to completely heal and hopefully he can fully recover and start walking again. Of course, I am determine to see my dog walk again and my dog is determine to try because he tries with no success (I have to contain him, fearing that he will hurt himself or worse). Although he is beginning to show signs of standing up (slightly). I sometimes wake up worrying, about his condition and whether he will fully recuperate. Probably the reason that I am writing is because I am looking for some support out there, maybe someone can share with me their experience and what they did that improve their dogs health. and if not I ask that you all out there keep us in prayer since the vet has said that the other options is surgery, and of course he also said it is costly. I have so far spent over $300.00 in treatment and I pray to God that whatever it takes for him to recuperate is within my reach so that he can enjoy walking again. Good luck to Hershey and I hope he has recovered well from his operation.

Leave a Reply