Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. It's kinda fun to say. Owen is having one done today after wiping out on some wet logs at the creek on Friday. He slipped and fell while running full speed chasing a stick. He's been limping but stoic since the initial fall and didn't even cry when we prodded him for clues, but it was clear that he was not using the leg and from the way it wobbled side-to-side, it was also pretty clear that whatever was wrong wasn't going to heal on it's own.


We took him to the vet Saturday, stayed home Sunday, went in for x-rays Monday, consultation with an orthopedic surgeon Tuesday and then back again today for the surgery. His cruciate ligament and meniscus were torn when he fell. There is nothing to be done for the meniscus, but, because the cruciate can no longer prevent slippage where bone meets bone, the plateau of his tibia is being leveled (if you couldn't tell from the name of the procedure) so there won't be a slippery slope...plateau... and then everything will be great. The surgeon will make a circular cut, adjust the angle of the top of the bone, nail everthing together, sew it up and that's that, as well as I understand it.

Because Owen is a working dog and spends winters standing chest-deep in icy water we've decided that the implant, which would normally just stay on the bone, will need to be removed to prevent painful expansion and contraction, which will be another surgery a few weeks after the 2-3 month convalescence following this one.

Of course, we are grateful to have the emergency resources to cover the cost, which is mind-numbing, but I couldn't help cringing when I handed over my credit card this morning for half-down on the estimate. I mean, we have spent the last three years aggressively paying down our debt and this pretty much puts us right back where we started.

But the hardest part of this is the regret. I just fucking hate myself for letting him run over those logs, which, right now seems sooo fucking stupid as to border on criminally negligent. I mean, I didn't just let him. He ran over the logs the first time and it was so amazing to watch him airborne at full sprint I intentionally threw the stick in the same spot the second time. By then, the logs were wet and he suffered his fall. Owen is an incredibly athletic dog, strong and agile with an exquisite musculature. He is the most physically capable dog I have ever had. It really didn't occur to me (fucking DUH) that he could fall. The surgeon says he expects a full recovery, but I still feel like I took something that was magnificently perfect* and destroyed it, and for that, I can never pay enough. DRAMATIC, NON?

*and sweetly undeserving.


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