Dr. Salmon sat on the floor petting Teddy for a few minutes and earning his trust. Then she began to feel his lower back and manipulate his hips. He let her do the right hip without incident, but the left hip sent him flying through the air at her yelping and snapping. (She has excellent reflexes and Teddy didn’t get her. Again, he rushed right in to make up with kisses as soon as her hands were off his hurty hip).
Dr. Salmon suggested an X-Ray to see what was going on and also to see if Teddy was a candidate for a Femoral Head Ostectomy, also known as FHO surgery. This surgery removes the ball-shaped bone at the top of the femur bone if it is grinding into the hip joint and causing pain. The shelter doesn’t have an x-ray machine, however, so I would have to take Teddy across town to a local vet clinic that does. No problem, El Tederino.
Thanks to Companion Animal Alliance Assistant Director Paula Shaw, the cost of the x-ray was covered by the shelter’s Sick and Injured Animal Fund. (If you’re moved by Teddy’s story, and want to make a tax deductible donation to our shelter, they sure could use it: http://www.caabr.org/#!donate/ctzx The sick and injured animal fund helps dogs like Teddy. The General Fund feeds, houses, spays and neuters the hundreds of dogs, cats, horses, pigs, roosters, and God only knows what comes through the shelter doors on any given day. CAA is a municipal shelter and no animal is ever turned away. It is also remarkably underfunded for the sheer number of animals it is tasked with helping.)
Here’s what Teddy’s x-ray looked like:
I’m no vet, but that left hip looks pretty wack-a-doodle doo, even to me. Also, another of the films shows an old injury to one of the vertebrate in Teddy’s lumbar spine and some arthritis too.
Say it with me: Poor Teddy!
An FHO surgery can range in cost from $1200-$2500, so not many people are looking to adopt a dog who needs one. However, the shelter recently purchased some of the special tools required to do this surgery so that adoptable dogs like Teddy would have a second chance. And Dr. Frederic Michaelson (http://jahvet.com/about-us/meet-our-veterinarians.html), a Baton Rouge veterinarian who also taught at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, volunteered his time to supervise the shelter vets who had never done the procedure before. This made it a professional development opportunity for the vets as well. Win/win.
So we scheduled the surgery for the Monday before Christmas, and I was eager to see what Dr. Michaelson would say about Teddy’s hip and his prognosis when he examined him before the proposed surgery. Aren’t you dying to know? You have to be a little more patient while I crank the rest of this story out though. Okay? Okay. Also, a fun fact: Dr. Michaelson is a U.S. Army Veteran, a Louisiana State University alumni, and he was also a starting defensive tackle for LSU from 1967-69. (To be continued…)