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Dr. Susan
Dr. Susan, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 6785
Experience:  8 years of clinical experience with specialty in veterinary pain management, urology, and geriatrics
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Our dog got hit with

Resolved Question:

Our dog got hit with a car last Fri . He has a dislocated hip & Multiple injuries on 1 leg , mostly on toes. They are not healing yet. The vet is talking of amputating his leg. What is your opinion? We do not have Insurance & saving the leg would be very expensive.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Susan replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Susan :

Hi, I can help you with your question today.

Dr. Susan :

Help me understand his injuries a bit more.

Dr. Susan :

Is his hip still dislocated?

Customer:

He has a dislocated him, multiple injuries on his right back leg, particularly on his toes, which the vet says is more complicated!

Dr. Susan :

Did they give you an estimate for surgery if they were to repair everything?

Customer:

Yes hip is still dislocated. He is on painkiliiers, antibiotics & bandaged since Fri.

Customer:

They say it will be costly. No figure mentioned. They say if we had Insurance thy would save leg, but no decision yet, They are waiting for wounds to heal. Is it too soon?

Dr. Susan :

Too soon to make a decision?

Customer:

Too soon for wounds to heal?

Dr. Susan :

Oh yes, 3 days is a short period, I'm not surprised that wounds would still be healing. It generally takes 10-14 days for skin wounds to fully heal together.

Customer:

Is it more difficult when it is the toes? They say if it was further up the leg not such a problem

Customer:

Also, is it very difficult for a dog with 3 legs. Have we an alternative?

Dr. Susan :

How much does he weigh?

Customer:

I don't know, He is a big dog. Like a labrador, but he is a mixture.

Customer:

Hello!!!!

Dr. Susan :

I see, it is more difficult for larger dogs to lose a limb compared to smaller dogs.

Customer:

Have you any other advice?? What about my query regarding the toes etc?

Dr. Susan :

Absolutely, just one moment. I have paused the imer.

Dr. Susan :

I'm sorry about that, I had a client call!

Dr. Susan :

We have a few different options here.

Dr. Susan :

There are some intermediate steps between surgery to fix everything versus amputation.

Customer:

Yes?? What are they???

Dr. Susan :

For example, we could repair the toes, but rather than trying to fix the hip, we could do a procedure called an FHO.

Dr. Susan :

This is removing the head of the femur (the ball of the "ball and socket" joint).

Dr. Susan :

This is something that the dogs can do very very well with in terms of recovery and comfort.

Dr. Susan :

Other than the toes and the hip, does he have any other fractures of the femur or tibia or fibula.

Customer:

We don't think so--not sure. They only mentioned toes & hip. Are the toes a problem?

Customer:

Is the procedure FHO expensive?

Dr. Susan :

I really would not consider the toes a big issue. I do think it would be reasonable to have his hip handled (this is the priority) and then allow the toes to heal on their own.

Dr. Susan :

The FHO can be significantly cheaper than trying to surgically re-place the hip.

Dr. Susan :

Let me back up on the hip issue a bit.

Dr. Susan :

First, he will not be able to bear weight with his hip dislocated.

Dr. Susan :

In order to make him use the leg again, we have 3 options.

Customer:

Would the same apply if the toes were broken/

Dr. Susan :

1) re-place the hip under anesthesia using some specific leg maneuvers and a lot of muscle. This is called closed reduction. This is often not successful, and even if it is - the hip frequently pops back out eventually.

Dr. Susan :

2) re-place the hip surgically. This is called open reduction. Even this is not always successful, but it has a much higher success rate than closed reduction.

Dr. Susan :

3) FHO. This is what we discussed above. Sometimes we go through all 3 steps. Try closed reduction - failure. Try open reduction - failure. Move on to FHO to salvage his use of the leg.

Dr. Susan :

We can skip steps 1 and 2 and go straight to 3 to save money.

Dr. Susan :

The cost will depend greatly on your location and who the surgeon is.

Dr. Susan :

Some general practice doctors will feel comfortable with the surgery, and this would certainly be cheaper than using an orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. Susan :

I think your cost could range from 1,000-2,000.

Customer:

Can you send me this info in an E mail?

Dr. Susan :

I would have to see the x-rays of the toes to see just how badly they are injured, but I am having trouble imagining that they are so bad that we would need to perform significant surgical repair.

Dr. Susan :

You can click the "save and exit" link to keep it. You can also copy-paste into a word document.

Dr. Susan :

If these fail, I can request that customer service email the conversation to you.

Customer:

I just don't want to lose it. I hope there is not an extra charge to E mail?/

Dr. Susan :

I certainly don't think so!

Customer:

Thank you for all that info. We were confused & didn't know what to do.

Customer:

Have you any other advice???

Dr. Susan :

How about pain control. What are you using for him right now?

Customer:

He is not at home. He s in the Clinic/hospital--with a big charge every day, I'm sure.

Dr. Susan :

That's my only other concern right now, but I'm sure they are staying on top of that at the hospital.

Dr. Susan :

Long term you may want to do some physical therapy.

Customer:

They are talking of waiting for toes o heal. Should we emphasise the hip procedure more

Customer:

If he came home for while--while waiting for toes to heal, (as was mentioned)would he be in a lot of pain from hip? Should hip be a priority?

Dr. Susan :

Yes, I think it is a good idea to at least ask. If they had any hope of closed reduction it gets less and less possible to get the hip back into socket. The muscles go through contracture and they can begin to fibrose to the point that we cannot physically get them to stretch.

Customer:

Have you any more advice/

Dr. Susan :

I think that's everything right now. If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! If you would like to accept my answer, please press RATE OUR CONVERSATION.

Please remember to only rate my answer when you are 100% satisfied. I will be happy to continue further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek.

Customer:

Is it a good idea to visit him? He must think we have deserted him

Dr. Susan :

Well, it can go either way to tell you the truth. After working at a 24 hour emergency facility, I have seen some animals that enjoyed visits, but others that became much more agitated when he owners had to leave again.

Dr. Susan :

I recommend asking the staff at the hospital how he is doing. You could probably try at least one visit, and then they can tell you how he behaves after you leave.

Customer:

I find it strange that they keep emphasing the toes , instead of the hip, which is a concern for us. I think we would like to see for ourselves. They say it will unsettle him. I have read your reply now & that is probably what they think too, that he will be agitated.

Dr. Susan :

If possible, it would be great to see his x-rays. They may be able to give you a digital copy that you could upload to photobucket or similar for me to look at.

Customer:

Oh, I don't know if I could do all that(. (i'm 63!!!). How do I contact you again?

Dr. Susan :

Love it!

Dr. Susan :

You can post directly back to this question, or you can come back to Just Answer and start your question "Dr. Susan..." and the others should leave it for me.

Customer:

Okay. When I speak to the vet tomorrow, will be clearer in my mind of the problem, particularly the hip. I bet he will get a shock when I mention"Open Reduction"!!!

Dr. Susan :

LOL! I would like to see his face :)

Customer:

Thank you Susan. You have been a great help.

Dr. Susan :

You are so welcome.

Customer:

Am I clear now--the hip is the priority?? NOT the toes??

Dr. Susan :

That would be my main concern!

Customer:

Thank you. God Bless .

Dr. Susan :

And you!

Customer:

Please get someone to E mail to me.

Dr. Susan :

Yes, I will request it as soon as we exit.

Customer:

Thank you.

Dr. Susan :

You're welcome.

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