Catastrophic dog injury question

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Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby RowdyGSP » Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:06 pm

So I had one of the worst things that can happen to a bird dog happen today right after I let Rowdy and Misty out of the truck to chase some grouse. I didn't quite see what happened but Misty was running around and ran down an embankment and I heard a crack and she immediately stopped and was screaming in pain. Holding her left from leg up. Could not put any weight on it and the leg was swinging side to side, not back and forth when she held it up. Got her to the vet and it turns out it was a very serious break of her elbow (left lateral humeral condyle). My options are a very expensive surgery that runs a moderate risk of failure in which case they would have to amputate if it failed. Or just amputate it in the first place. The vet is having a specialist look at it tomorrow and give me their opinion on what to do. I wanted to see if anyone here has dealt with this before in terms of breaking the elbow and having to have it screwed and pinned back together and what the long term effects of that are. Or also if anyone has a 3-legged bird dog? Misty is 3 years old and slender (38 pounds) so she has that going for her if we have to amputate.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:22 pm

No experience with it, sure sorry to hear it. Prayers for Misty.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby RowdyGSP » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:18 pm

Thanks Kent, it sure sucks. I've seen some gruesome, gnarly dog injuries with my dogs and my dogs growing up but this was by far the worst. That dog loves to run. It's pretty much the last thing she needed to happen.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby orhunter » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:26 pm

Griffman posted some photos of a three legged Griff hunting ducks. There was a three legged VC Wirehair.

The thing with questionable surgery is you may need to amputate anyhow if it doesn’t work.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:32 pm

So sorry.
Had a year old DD break his back leg, took him to the Vet and did the surgery, he never could use his back leg but was still a good bird dog.
I think we need health insurance on our dogs, it can get expensive.
Hope she recovers soon. Forrest
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby Willie T » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:06 pm

That is a shame Rowdy. I have a buddy that has a three legged Weim. It was shot with a high powered rifle. There was not enough left of one the front legs to be saved. He still uses the weim for tracking and it excels. He no longer hunts birds with him. The weim is game and still moves pretty good. He lacks stamina though. He does well on uphill and flat terrain. Descending steep downhill terrain wears him down.
These dogs give us all they have. That can make hard decisions even more difficult. If I were in your shoes, the dogs age would factor heavily into my decision.
Best wishes figuring it out. I sincerely hope things work out for the best.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby RowdyGSP » Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:25 pm

Thanks for the input guys and I really do appreciate what you have to say. As of now I am leaning towards amputation based on what the first vet told me, but if the second opinion thinks surgery is a viable option hands down I'll spring for that and at least try it. When I talk to the second vet tomorrow to get a second opinion I will make my final decision. I just feel bad for Misty that this is not my call to make on something that is either going to fix her with a long recovery, fix her temporarily then back to the same place or not fix her at all and lop the leg off and not have to worry about future issues with that joint. The vet called me tonight to let me know she is curled up in a ball quite sedated and in no pain sleeping soundly. Whimpered a bit when they picked her up to take her out to do her business. Been through a lot of dog injuries but this one has my head spinning.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby orhunter » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:21 pm

I’d be absolutely sick over this. Feel as bad for you as I do Misty. Take care.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby RowdyGSP » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:31 pm

Thanks Harvey... yeah it happened about 10 AM so for the last 10 hours or so I've had nothing on my mind but Misty. This is a pretty crappy situation and a decision tomorrow needs to be made. I just hope I have enough information to make a decision that will be good for my dog. This is not a fun one. Thanks for the advice.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby mtlhdr » Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:32 am

Dang Eric, that's terrible. Wishing nothing but the best for Misty (and you).
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby jlw034 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:41 am

I really feel for you man. My vet has mentioned how well 3 legged dogs get around, but I think losing the front is a bit tougher as dogs put more weight on the front legs than the rear.

Dogs are highly adaptable. I think even with 3 legs she will find a way to hunt, maybe just not as long or as far as before.

I wish you the best of luck. Either way I hope she makes a speedy recovery.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby ryanr » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:02 pm

Dang man, I'm really sorry to hear about Misty.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby Dakotazeb » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:30 pm

Sorry to hear about Misty. I'm sure we all will be anxious to hear what the 2nd vet says. If there is a reasonable chance to save the leg with surgery I'd lean towards that. Either way, it's a tough decision. Best of luck to you and Misty.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:10 pm

No doubt by now you've already made a decision, but it's particularly bad to have an injury in the front leg because more of the dog's weight is carried by the front legs. Also, a lateral condyle fracture goes into the joint and, although it might be reconstructed surgically (depending on if it's just the one fragment or many), it's unlikely to be good weight at weight bearing. Recovery with surgery will be a long haul and the joint could stay swollen and painful, become arthritic, etc. Going that way is a big gamble. With an amputation she can get on with her recovery in fairly short order and possibly even hunt. Regardless, you still have your dog and she'll still love you so not all is lost. My heart goes out to both you and Misty.
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Re: Catastrophic dog injury question

Postby RowdyGSP » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:07 pm

Thank you all for the condolences and replies. I tried to reply earlier but it seems the forum was down for several days. As Bruce mentioned, I did make a decision and the reasons for such were exactly as he suggested. After consulting with 2 different vets as well as a joint specialist I made the hard decision to have it amputated. There was a fair chance of the surgery failing down the road and if it failed amputation would have to occur anyway. The surgery to screw it back together would require 12 weeks of Misty being crated with only leashed bathroom breaks during that time. 6 months of absolutely no running or jumping, and even then there would still be a good chance of her reinjuring it down the road. When she runs, she doesn't just run. She flies. She fully extends and digs into the ground hard with her front legs. And when I get home from work she jumps up and down in the dog run. To me and the vets, that's a recipe for disaster. So she's still at the vet getting IV pain meds and so they can keep her immobile. I pick her up from the vet tomorrow after work. It will be really good to have my girl back after 5 days. I went and saw her yesterday. She was fairly doped up from pain meds but wagged her tail when she saw me and rested her head in my lap for 10 minutes or so. I feel this decision was in her best interest and while it brings tears to my eyes to have a 3-legged dog who's only care in this world is to run, and run fast, she will still have mobility and be able to get around in whatever capacity she is able to. And who knows, maybe she will even be able to hunt.
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