Friday, April 3, 2009

Stella's patellas

For those just joining us, which is pretty much everyone, it's important to note that several months have passed since I began this page and Stella is a teenager now nine and a half months old. She has become a muscular, 54 lb. fireball of lovable, boundless energy. I have every intention of finishing her story from the last post forward but I want to interrupt along the way to basically keep track of some of the more current events in her life. Bear with me.

About a month ago, she was diagnosed with a right medial luxating patella. That's a trick knee to you and me. For a kneecap, it's a little like when your kitchen drawer jumps the track. It can simply slip off an be replaced manually or it can splinter the wood, damage the drawer and the track, and never work again. It occurs most often in little tiny dogs. If you've ever seen a little dog running full blast on three legs, there's a good chance it's because of a luxated patella.

Sometimes I'm told, these things right themselves with time but Stella's sadly, did not. Our walks went from four miles a day to zero over a period of four weeks and it became clear that she would have to have surgery or face chronic pain and (eventual) lameness at such a tender age. A couple of people I discussed this with naturally assumed I'd have her put down. Before anyone gets enraged over this sort of thinking, I should say in their defense, that they were people who generally don't have too many options. I don't have a vast supply of them myself, but putting her down was never an option. To make a long story short, she had the surgery on Wednesday and was released from the hospital this morning. I asked the vet staff if their itemized surgical estimate included any Xanax for owners, but was told that it didn't. I spent two days carrying the phone around and thankfully, working.

Not surprisingly, she was happy to see me this morning and I her. I was stunned when her doctor offered to walk her to the car. So far, the prognosis is good. The next four weeks however, are critical to her future quality of life, the idea being the nine and a half month old puppy isn't allowed to play or have any fun at all. I hope for her sake, that it all becomes a distant memory wherein I get to tease her occasionally about that day she came home dressed as a satellite dish.

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