I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

Last but not least...Rusty. I haven't even blogged about what's been going on with him lately. About three weeks ago, he came in from the back yard not putting any weight on his right hind leg. Same thing as Little Guy, opposite side. I could not believe this could be happening. Again. We went to the vet, who sedated Rusty to check is knee and found what she thought was a torn ligament. (He'd also just been sedated a few days before for a tooth extraction). So, off to the surgeon we went.

11/52: Rusty

Little Guy's surgeon, who was wonderful, was on vacation so we saw someone else at the practice. He felt there was a partial ligament tear* and recommended a far more invasive, i.e. far more expensive, procedure. It's the one they usually do on dogs who weigh over 40 pounds--more than twice Rusty's weight. By the time of the consult, and in fact by the day after the injury, he was bearing full weight on his leg. So I asked about conservative treatment, which basically entails 6-8 weeks of confinement and anti-inflammatory medication. Of course, this was not what the doctor recommended as first course of action. He just wanted to cut.

I tried putting Rusty in his crate. Ha! I knew that wouldn't work as he's always hated the crate and injured a front paw trying to scratch his way out in the past. My next brilliant idea was to put him in with Little Guy. Yeah, right. Rusty kept jumping over the baby gate. We resorted to just leaving him in the hallway with Guy, where he could jump and scratch at the door all he wanted. When home, I'd bring him out and leash him to the dining room table where he'd lie pretty quietly as long as he could see us.

My creation

In the past three weeks, Rusty has not shown any signs pain or favored his injured leg at all. I took it into my own hands to decrease the medication dose, which had no ill effect. He's a hard dog to keep down, so I took him to his vet to get her recommendations. Upon examining him, watching him move, and taking into account the full weight bearing he was doing the day after, she thinks that there probably wasn't a tear after all and maybe just a sprain. The only way to truly know would be an MRI and since he is asymptomatic, there's no way I'm paying for that right now.

We put Rusty on the same "gradual return to activity" program Little Guy is on and starting with short walks. I've been taking them together and it's not working. After 3/4 of a block, I have to pick Guy up and carry him the rest of the way and Rusty is wanting to zoom along at a fast pace and for a longer distance. We're also putting him in the hallway with LG when we go out so he's not jumping on and off furniture and running a lot in the back yard.
(The squirrels and birds are happy for the reprieve!)

12/52: Rusty

Things are working out, but there were a few days there where I was freaking out. This surgery that Little Guy had has a tough recovery period. Luckily, he's been pretty mellow and was becoming so inactive before that it's been somewhat easy forcing him to rest. I was just imagining Rusty having the surgery and ruining it within the first week. The surgeon was kind enough to suggest we could give him sedatives. For 8 weeks.

Mostly this has all been inconvenient, more so for the dogs than us. Rusty did miss out on a special event he was supposed to attend and we're now officially on a temporary break from therapy dog work. I also know that he very well may injure himself in the future and need more invasive treatment, but it seems like we've dodged the bullet this time, thankfully. While we're still keeping Rusty reigned in for a couple more weeks, he is going to be in his first movie this weekend. It's a friend's short independent film, but exciting nonetheless. Oh, and it'll be in 3D. How cool is that?

*Little Guy had a fully torn ligament, as well as a damaged meniscus.


Anonymous said...

Oh no ... they seem to be copy catting each other's injuries. Or is that copy-dogging? Anyway, I agree with the err on the side of caution diagnosis. Self-healing is way better than invasive surgery. Now, just make sure the humans don't go injuring their legs in sympathy.

Unknown said...

Oh poor Rusty!!!!!
A movie!! How cool is that??? :)

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