Friday, August 13, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

My friend Geeta told me her dog has had knee problems and had both of her ACLs repaired. Her dog! Did you even know dogs had knees? It makes me think of that Seinfeld episode when Kramer stopped trusting doctors and got dog medicine instead...

So I decided to do a little research into this for myself. I know I’ll be waiting at least 4 more months for human knee surgery, and really, shouldn’t I explore all my options? Do dogs have to wait for surgery like we do? Since they often don’t have health insurance, how much does it cost? And most importantly, would I have to have my butt shaved, like Geeta’s dog did, if I had the vet do the surgery?

What I discovered is that there are two different dog ACL surgeries….one is called TPLO and it is a lot like the human version in some ways in that it involves using screws and drilling into the bone. The cost: only $2600. The other one replaces the torn ligament with fishing wire, and it is considered less invasive. One vet interviewed says he has been doing 3 or 4 of these surgeries a week for decades. The cost of this one: $500! There does not appear to be any significant wait time for either surgery. Dang! Dogs have it good.

There appear to be some compromises one must make in choosing the veterinary option, however. One’s butt, indeed, must be shaved for the surgery to take place. It appears to be quite embarrassing for the dog in the photos I’ve seen, but then again, my butt isn’t quite as hairy, or openly on display as a dogs’ is, and could probably be covered up by clothing. I might have to also endure a neck cone, although perhaps this would be negotiable as I can be fairly certain I wouldn’t be tempted to bite my stitches. Another letdown: my walking would be restricted to leash walking only for 4 – 6 weeks. Although dog collars and leashes on people aren’t really my thing, if it meant getting back to playing soccer sooner, I might be able to endure it. Stairs are usually a problem for dogs as well, during their recovery period. Vets recommend that you roll up a towel into a long rope, loop it around the dog’s stomach, and then lift their butt in the air while they use their ‘hands’ to go up stairs. This one might be the trickiest of all, especially when I’m at the Skytrain station on my way to work downtown. I’m not sure I could find anyone to help me, but then again, I haven’t checked Craigslist.

Of course, some naturopathic vets suggest surgery could be avoided by changing your diet and using more natural therapies to assist with repair and blood flow to the injured knee. Licorice, rhubarb, and pineapple are said to be helpful. I think they were talking about the herbal version of licorice, but I doubt I’d like that so I’m thinking of riding my bike down to 7-11 to get some twizzlers as soon as I finish writing this. I could whip them into a smoothie with the other stuff, throw in some doggie kibble, and maybe avoid the whole thing altogether. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I think I'm sad I somehow missed this for two days. Still giggling over the mental image of you being given the "towel lift".