Mothering Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my dog was hit by a car and his leg is broken in two places. both breaks are pretty ugly and one is in a joint. we have two options, and i have to decide by tomorrow morning. this is cross-posted in the frugal forum, because money is extremely tight right now...

option #1: surgery with a screw in the joint and probably a pin and wires in the other break. the leg may still not heal exactly right and may always give him pain. cost is probably $1000-1200

option #2: amputate the leg. the pain will go away, it will heal quickly, and he'll learn to adjust to three legs. cost is probably $500-600.

would you amputate or not?? anybody with a three-legged dog out there who can give advice?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
666 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by treehugz View Post
my dog was hit by a car and his leg is broken in two places. both breaks are pretty ugly and one is in a joint. we have two options, and i have to decide by tomorrow morning. this is cross-posted in the frugal forum, because money is extremely tight right now...

option #1: surgery with a screw in the joint and probably a pin and wires in the other break. the leg may still not heal exactly right and may always give him pain. cost is probably $1000-1200

option #2: amputate the leg. the pain will go away, it will heal quickly, and he'll learn to adjust to three legs. cost is probably $500-600.

would you amputate or not?? anybody with a three-legged dog out there who can give advice?
I have a three-legged dog. Is it a front or hind leg? How big (weight) is your dog, how old, and how's his health otherwise? Poor you, this is a terrible decision to make...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
I would amputate. Our next door neighbours had a similar situation with their terrier and the only modification they've had to make is a wooden ramp from their doorstep into the yard because he has trouble hopping down.

I think it's the better choice, considering the long healin time and chance for pain in the pinned limb. As humans, we understand a long healing period and some pain in a limb that has pins in it--my husband has one in a finger and still has joint pain in the finger--but I can't see my pets understanding WHY they're continually in pain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
666 Posts
I have to leave my computer shortly until tomorrow, my thoughts and some things to consider:

I have a 60 lb german shepherd, and she is a foreleg amputee. You can see her entire story, including pictures from her surgery at jaidasjourney dot blogspot dot com There are links to other amputee web pages and information, you may find them helpful. She had a leg deformity, so we had lots of time to prepare and research and ask questions. You don't unfortunately, so I'll offer my experience quickly as best as I can.

In a nutshell, I have NO regrets about the amputation, and neither does she. It was the best thing for my dog. The leg that caused her pain for months was gone, she does not miss it, and she was feeling just fine within a few weeks.

That said, your decision needs to be based on not only what is best for your dog (long-term mobility, short term vs long-term pain, ability to recover, other medical complications he may have etc) but also your own ability to cope with the expenses of surgeries, etc. Some things to think about:

- hind legs are more "expendable" than forelegs. A remaining front leg will carry 60% of the dog's weight while a single hind leg will only carry 40%

- smaller dogs have less body weight allround and tend to do very well (I have, however seen dogs as large as saint bernards do extremely well after amputation)

-recovery time for an amputation is usually about as long as it takes to take the stitches out...about 2-3 weeks. Recovery time for reconstructive surgery can be months, multiple surgeries, etc.

- your dog will enjoy his old activities if he has an amputation, but his stamina will not be what it used to (he will tire more quickly) especially if it's a front leg that's removed and things like lots of jumping will not be adviseable in the interest of preserving his other joints...that said, a wonky-repaired leg is just about as useless, if not worse, due to the pain.

-regardless of what happens there will be at least one surgery, and any surgery has its risks

Personally, if your dog is otherwise healthy and has no known joint/back issues right now, my decision would be to amputate.

Gotta run. Sorry you're dealing with this...I'll be around tomorrow if you have questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,191 Posts
Amputate! Unless your dog has other issues in other legs, he or she will do amazingly well on 3 legs. I think there's too much chance that the dog will suffer a lot of discomfort with the other option.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by wannabemoms View Post
Some things to think about:

- hind legs are more "expendable" than forelegs. A remaining front leg will carry 60% of the dog's weight while a single hind leg will only carry 40%

- smaller dogs have less body weight allround and tend to do very well (I have, however seen dogs as large as saint bernards do extremely well after amputation)

-recovery time for an amputation is usually about as long as it takes to take the stitches out...about 2-3 weeks. Recovery time for reconstructive surgery can be months, multiple surgeries, etc.

- your dog will enjoy his old activities if he has an amputation, but his stamina will not be what it used to (he will tire more quickly) especially if it's a front leg that's removed and things like lots of jumping will not be adviseable in the interest of preserving his other joints...that said, a wonky-repaired leg is just about as useless, if not worse, due to the pain.

-regardless of what happens there will be at least one surgery, and any surgery has its risks
thanks so much for these points!!! the dog ("buddy" is his name) is around 8 months old and medium size, maybe 30 pounds? and he was a perfectly happy and healthy pup prior to the accident. we are on 16 acres of woods, and he is an outside-only dog. it's a hind leg that would have to be amputated, so i'm glad to hear that's easier for them to cope with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Minky View Post
I think it's the better choice, considering the long healin time and chance for pain in the pinned limb. As humans, we understand a long healing period and some pain in a limb that has pins in it--my husband has one in a finger and still has joint pain in the finger--but I can't see my pets understanding WHY they're continually in pain.
good point... a puppy's not gonna understand that if he just takes it easy, it will get better. i hadn't thought of it that way!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,610 Posts
I used to work at an animal hospital years ago and I would be surprised if you could get that type of surgery done as cheap as they are saying, I would expect it to be more expensive. With that said, I have seen many dogs do really well with only three legs. I would amputate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,731 Posts
Amputate.

I have known a 3-legged dog; hind leg, v. similar situation. She healed quickly and got along fine.

I think a hind leg amputation is a much more humane option than joint repair/replacement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
666 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by treehugz View Post
thanks so much for these points!!! the dog ("buddy" is his name) is around 8 months old and medium size, maybe 30 pounds? and he was a perfectly happy and healthy pup prior to the accident. we are on 16 acres of woods, and he is an outside-only dog. it's a hind leg that would have to be amputated, so i'm glad to hear that's easier for them to cope with.
He's going to be just fine with an amputation. Young, fit, medium-sized, hind leg...it's all about as "good" as you can get. He's not going to be an outside dog during the recovery period, probably 2 weeks or so, so you're going to have to prepare for that. His activity level (despite what he's likely going to want) is going to have to be restricted significantly from his usual 16 acres...a large crate, a pen, a laundry room etc. is going to have to be his home at least until the stitches come out. The first 2-3 days after the surgery can be a bit rough, mainly due to all the medications/anaesthetics/new sensation of stitches/balance etc, they feel VERY strange. Any added comforts you can give him during that time is going to be helpful for his recovery. After he gets the all-clear, I see no reason why he can't reassume his usual duties outside...in fact, he'll enjoy softer walking substrates and better traction outside than three-leggers facing slippery hardwood floors and tile. As for the cost, while we paid more, I know many who have paid what you've been quoted. For whatever reason, the price can vary quite significantly. Get it in writing, but brace yourself in case something unexpected, like a recheck or a bandaging or a suture repair is required, you never know. Minimizing his activity level post-surgery is going to help prevent any additional complications or expenses. Let us know how things work out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
just talked to the vet and i decided to go ahead and amputate the leg. like several of you had suggested, he said that it would probably take at least 8 weeks for the leg to heal if we fix it, and since buddy is so young that it would be hard to keep him off the leg... so there's a good chance that it might not even heal right or that he could re-injure it. he also said that the leg would probably always give him some pain. also, he said the breaks were so complicated that he may go in to do the surgery and find out that he couldn't fix them and have to amputate anyway.

i just feel terrible for him. but thanks to all of you, i think this is the right decision... sounds like he'll get along fine and be just as happy with only three legs. he'll get to come home monday.

i asked about payment options and he said he would ask they clinic manager about it (but it didn't sound promising). we'll come up with the money though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
666 Posts
Yeah, he's going to be just fine. It'll probably be harder on you than on him after the first little while...it can be kinda shocking to see them post-surgery for the first time. Just try to be as upbeat and happy and "normal" as you can around him so he doesn't feed off any "upset" emotions, it'll help him feel better.

As my vet likes to say, "dogs are made with three legs and a spare". He'll enjoy a good, pain-free life for many years to come.
:
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top