Monday, February 9, 2009

My dog, the medical experiment

Monster, my oldest airedale, probably got grabbed by a pig and had his right rear leg dislocated at the hip. At first I thought he'd been hit by a car, but when the vet examined him and shaved the leg you could see the tooth marks pretty clearly. It looks like a pig came from behind and grabbed him by the leg and shook him until the femur came out of the hip.

Don't recommend this vet

He's been an active, physical dog the entire time I've owned him, and lives to run. I took him to a vet clinic that I"m not really pleased with, who charged me $900 to tell me his leg was dislocated, and to refer me to a second vet, who actually treated him for about the same price. My other run-in with Northgate was when they charged me $1500 to do a bunch of tests on my cat and finally conclude they couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. So I took him home. Total treatment was 2 bags of saline. I will not be returning to Northgate Veterinary Clinic and do not recommend them. You can find their website here. While they did call me with costs after I took him in, I could have used that in the first place, possibly on the day I dropped him off, or at least a discussion of it. The diagnostic costs were more than the entire intial course of treatment, which wasn't cheap itself. True, some of the work was re-used. Contrast that to what happened at the next vet...

Do Reccomend this vet surgeon

Dr. Aguila at Animal Surgical Clinic of Seattle has been great. The first day the basic introduction and examination was done, and a complete rundown of the possible treatment options and costs; all in the first 30 minutes after arrival. The initial treatment was to put the dog under and attempt to reseat the femur, and then wrap the limb so that it would restrict motion and possibly allow some healing. This is a 50-50 option, and in this case it didn't work.

I found Dr Aguilas estimates of the cost of surgery and his professional attitude to be helpful. I don't like spending any more money than i have to, but having an accurate estimate of the cost of treatment upfront was very helpful. I could then make a decision, part of which is related to cost. The followup care was good, and at this point my poor dog had his hip back in place and healed, but he'll be on restricted duty for another couple of months.

The final treatment was to cut the dogs hip open and re-insert the femur in the socket, and then put in wires and screws to hold it in. I'm hopeful he'll be back to normal function at the end of this. he's a working dog, and I want to give him the best chance at return to full duties as I can.

The current treatment regimen is antibiotics 2x a day, pain medicines 3x a day, and we're just ending a regimen of anti-inflammatory medicines. For the first two weeks following surgery he was confined to his kennel to limit movement, and is now slowly returning to a more normal schedule.

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Snowi-Ella said...

What a cute dog. It's sad that he had to be in so much pain, though. =(

Pigs are vicious sometimes. My little brother almost got his finger bitten off once by one at a petting zoo.

Bruce King said...

Well, tell your brother not to pet the pigs tongues anymore.