Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Angus Goes to Purdue.
Angus. My Stinky Buttcake. All 8 pounds of him. Last November, right around his first birthday, Angus began limping, favoring his left hind leg. Worsening over the winter months, we realized it wasn't something likely to go away on it's own. According to the local vet, Angus was suffering from a congenital condition known to small dogs called a luxating patella. In layman's terms, the ligament and patella (knee) were slipping out of alignment and causing lameness.
So I arranged a referral from my local vet, Dr. Hays (if he were my dawg, I'd take 'em to Purdue), and I scheduled an appointment for him to be examined for surgery at the Purdue Small Animal Clinic. Why not give him the best of the best?
Sure enough, after 4 hours in the car to get here and a stop along the way to Grandma's and Grandpa's to drop off my daughter, the vets and students alike converged on a very cautious Angus and they determined he has a Stage 2 Luxating Patella, with 4 being the worst.
Ranked as one of the top Veterinary Schools in the country, I have the utmost confidence in their veterinary skills. Back when I was a student at Purdue in the mid-90's, my dog, Biscuit, was a patient at the vet clinic at Purdue. She was given shots, and was once treated for kennel cough. But overall, her treatment and my experience was ordinary.
Seeing the variety of much-loved pets today solidified my convictions and helped dissolve any reservations I had about who should perform Angus's procedure. There was a small grey, long haired dog who survived a spinal injury related to bone cancer, and her enthusiasm at being in the vet waiting room belied her 13 years. Strapped into a contraption, part harness part wheelbarrow, the little dog dragged her owner through the room. Given a month to live last October, this little companion wasn't going anywhere she didn't want to go, soon. A part lab dog who had her eyes scratched by an angry raccoon was surely going to get her eyesight back. A sheltie with an unexplained swelling of her face. And a big 8 month old mastiff named Titan who was there probably for routine maintenance. These were just a few of the pets I got to know a little bit about.
I haven't seen Angus since we first arrived there. I had to relinquish him for examination, then, for x-rays. After they sent me to lunch (as if I could eat), and I had time to mull the whole idea of the surgery, the risks involved (varied, but real) vs. the benefits (many and valuable), the recovery time (lengthy: 6-8 weeks), I decided to go ahead with his surgery. He's a young dog and the condition only worsens with time and with wear. His surgery is scheduled for Thursday afternoon and we'll be returning home on Saturday.