Heartbreaking Decision re:amputation
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Thread: Heartbreaking Decision re:amputation

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    tessaduncan is offline Member
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    DefaultHeartbreaking Decision re:amputation

    My sisters lab was hit by a car last week. Amazingly, there were no broken bones or internal injuries but his left rear leg was pretty torn up. After surgery and hospitilization he has been home a week now but has to return to the vet for daily bandage changes (at $85 a pop!). That, with meds and missed work (my sister has been off since), they're well into the thousands of dollars. Money is tight having just bought their first home (a foreclosure) 2 months ago). Now her husband is balking and wants to put him down if he needs the amputation, saying he'll have no quality of life & it's possible he won't recover.

    Does anyone have experience with this? Can a 3-legged lab live a good life? He's approximately 2 years old (they got him at an adoption fair a year ago) and was always full of energy and playfulness (typical lab). He's a strong boy but can he recover from all this or is this just prolonging the pain?

    She's also concerned about leaving him home alone next week. She HAS to go to work and her husband is on the road all week. Will he be OK if she just comes home at lunch for 5-10 minuites to give him his meds and let him out? BTW he IS able to go potty outside; he just needs some support. Her vet says he should be OK if she locks him in the bathroom to restrict his movements but he has already chewed his bandage off, requiring a trip to the ER (more $!). He freaked when she put the cone on him. Any suggestions?
    Last edited by tessaduncan; 10-02-2009 at 12:23 PM. Reason: spelling

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    lisa's Avatar
    lisa is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tessaduncan View Post
    My sisters lab was hit by a car last week. Amazingly, there were no broken bones or internal injuries but his left rear leg was pretty torn up. After surgery and hospitilization he has been home a week now but has to return to the vet for daily bandage changes (at $85 a pop!). That, with meds and missed work (my sister has been off since), they're well into the thousands of dollars. Money is tight having just bought their first home (a foreclosure) 2 months ago). Now her husband is balking and wants to put him down if he needs the amputation, saying he'll have no quality of life & it's possible he won't recover.

    Does anyone have experience with this? Can a 3-legged lab live a good life? He's approximately 2 years old (they got him at an adoption fair a year ago) and was always full of energy and playfulness (typical lab). He's a strong boy but can he recover from all this or is this just prolonging the pain?

    She's also concerned about leaving him home alone next week. She HAS to go to work and her husband is on the road all week. Will he be OK if she just comes home at lunch for 5-10 minuites to give him his meds and let him out? BTW he IS able to go potty outside; he just needs some support. Her vet says he should be OK if she locks him in the bathroom to restrict his movements but he has already chewed his bandage off, requiring a trip to the ER (more $!). He freaked when she put the cone on him. Any suggestions?
    read Hershey K's post on dog w bone cancer
    Last edited by lisa; 10-02-2009 at 01:45 PM.

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    HersheyK's Dad's Avatar
    HersheyK's Dad is offline Senior Member
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    I have seen about a half dozen dogs over my years with a leg amputated. Each of them had adapted to the missing limb and appeared to be happy healthy fun loving animals. Sure, none of them could run as fast as they used to. Maybe I just saw a few of those that survived and the majority doesn't. I don't know. I just know that if the decision was between being put down and amputation on a young dog, my choice would be to give the dog a chance. That decision can be reversed, the other one can't.

    Just my view.
    Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.

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    joflake is offline Senior Member
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    My sister has a dog that was hit by a car and had to have a front leg amputated. It's been four years since his accident. He is doing fine. Even goes up and down the stairs. I say give this poor boy a chance.

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    tessaduncan is offline Member
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    That's all good to hear. I only hope I can convince my BIL. He wasn't keen on getting the dog in the first place and now they have some serious money issues. I think they're also very concerned on how to care for him during his probably very long recovery. He needs a lot of attention and they both have jobs they can't afford to take any more time off of.

    There's still hope he'll be able to keep his leg. It's still too early to tell although he has developed some swelling and it's obvious he's in pain, even with the meds. With those bandage changes & meds for another 3 weeks or so, that's over a $100/day! The vet says even without the amputation, they're looking at about 3 months recovery time. Will he be OK without constant care? Will the pain ease? The vet says "yes" to both but can't say for sure. Anyone else have experience?

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    MidwestGirl is offline Senior Member
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    NO he should not be put down!! Contact a rescue to see if they can help.

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    tessaduncan is offline Member
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    The whole family is agonizing over this. Another sister says she would take him but can't afford it and she has a very boisterous golden (actually these 2 dogs were daily playmates; Max would go to her house on workdays). But they work too and Max seems so fragile now. Could he go there to live with his rough & tumble buddy, especially while recovering, if we can come up with the money? I realize there are no easy answers but it does help to vent. It's so hard to see a family member (yes, I do mean Max) suffer and the thought of him being put down (do we really have a say if my BIL insists?) is very distressing.

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    joflake is offline Senior Member
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    I'm sorry your family, including Max, is going through this. My sister's vet bills were atrocious too. She made arrangements to make payments to the vet. Is that possible here? Maybe all of you could pitch in a little bit. There are others here with two dogs, one having an injury. They crated and confined the injured one so it could recover. I think this is possible with your other sister's golden. Hopefully, the BIL would let it go to rescue before he would put it down.

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    tessaduncan is offline Member
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    Actually they are already on a payment plan with the vet (Care Credit). I'm not sure how much higher they can go or WILL go :-(

    I guess I needed support & I came to where I knew I could get it :-) My husband would probably have a fit (he's been out of town & doesn't know about this yet) & we already have our own energetic lab but we would take him. I would NEVER let Max be put down, especially after hearing your stories and watching "Tripod" videos on youtube.

    So I guess my real question is: does anyone know how the recovery will probably go? Will he be in pain much longer? How long until he won't need to be confined? I only know what my sister tells me (& she's not exactly clear) and I want to know what to expect if we should go thru with this.

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    MidwestGirl is offline Senior Member
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    Do you have dogs? If so can you ask your vet and get some info.

    good luck

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