In the wake of the physical therapist visit, I’ve been a wreck. Pro Tip: when you’re meeting with a concerned pet owner who asks you for encouragement, it’s a decent thing to offer some. Helps her, helps your karma, everybody wins.
I made an appointment, but the orthopedist works bankers’ hours, and I don’t have PTO at the new gig, yet. I went to talk my boss about working unpaid or making up the time, and she not only gave me the green light, she urged me to move my appointment up. She was great about it. I called the orthopedist and got put on their cancellation list, and ended up with an appointment for the very next morning (and my boss’s coolness increased and intensified.)
I went to the appointment with a strategy. I forwarded puppy preFHO X-rays and the X-rays I had taken last month, and I refused to name the growth plate defect that the physical therapist mentioned. After I researched it, I didn’t think it likely, and there are several growth plate disorders it could have been, or it could have been something else entirely. I hoped the orthopedist would be knowledgeable enough to draw his own appropriate conclusions.
And so he was. He looked over the Xrays, we talked through his history, he observed a few things and said that the pup has angular limb deformities (another one of the growth plate disorders) in like, three of his legs. He said that they were correctable with fairly straightforward surgeries (no pun intended), but that there’s an advantage to waiting until the pup is fully grown, because guessing where the joints will end up is subject to greater error rates. He gave me some options about an internal-only surgery or a less invasive internal-external brace, but warned me that puppies like to chew on the external part of their brace. No one has to tell me about how much my puppy likes to chew— I’ve personally lost a fair amount of property to that compulsion, so we’re thinking more invasive is actually going to be a smarter long-term choice. But the good news is that the vet thinks that if the pup and I go through the physical therapy process between now and full growth, there’s a chance that the surgery (-ies) could be averted. And since I just looked up the cost of such a thing and Google says it’s many thousands of dollars, call me physical therapy girl!
Here are the things: (1) Angular limb deformity is correctable. (2) Physical therapy could be all the correction required. (3) I have options about how we go about getting him relief. This is much better news than potentially fatal and no known treatment. Surgeries in excess of the amount I spent on my graduate degree (I got kind of a screaming good deal, as graduate degrees go, because I did it through a guided independent study program) or the last car I bought are not much better. So we’ll take it a step at a time and start physical therapy. And hope that the next step is a healthy, happy pup without utter depletion of my financial well-being.
You don’t know any rich, single, Catholic men of good character in want of a wife, do you? It’s a day when a healthy second income for my household sounds pretty rockin.