Monday, March 19, 2012


I had definite plans for Saturday. After my morning coffee, I was going to put the dogs in the car and take them to the dog park for a long stretch of outdoor exploring and running around. I was going to do take Cheyenne to the vet to get her nails clipped, do some laundry and run some necessary errands. I was going to have dinner with a dear friend who I haven't seen in a while. 

But as soon as I walked downstairs and opened Dixie's crate, all those plans evaporated. She hobbled out of her crate on three legs, not letting her back left leg touch the ground. I gently rubbed my hands on her leg to see where the problem was and she flinched and whimpered.

I made a cup of coffee and dialed her vet. They said to bring her in as soon as possible.  I set the cup of coffee on the kitchen counter, changed out of my pajamas, brushed my teeth, collared Dixie and off we went.  Dixie was in such discomfort that she whimpered much of the drive.

When the vet examined her, she felt around her leg and toes, specifically looking for a broken bone, and Dix seemed uncomfortable but for the most part was okay.  But when the vet rubbed on her hips, Dixie yelped. When she pulled her right leg back, she yelped again. The vet looked at me and said, that's not even the leg that's hurting her. I need to take some xrays to see what is going on.

Poor Dixie was so uncomfortable and stressed. The vet said they were going to sedate her for the xrays and also get some pain medicine in her. They sent me on my way and told me to come back later that afternoon.

I didn't expect what the vet reported to me.  At ten and a half months old, Dixie has severe hip dysplasia. The vet said it was the worst case she's seen in ten years.  She had to pop Dixie's femoral head back into the socket but the socket is extremely degraded, as you can see in the xray image. That top socket should be shaped like a "C" and not an opening parentheses (. 

I have a referral to the Surgery and Orthopedics department at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, which is a wonderful veterinary medical center here in Houston. They worked their magic on Cheyenne's throat earlier this year and I cannot say enough good things about the veterinarians and surgeons there.  However, they are very expensive.  Where Cheyenne's laryngeal paralysis was covered by her insurance, the insurance company won't cover Dixie's diagnosis or treatement because the issue is hereditary. (Yes, I have written her breeders to let them know about the issue.)  There are several surgical options and I'm not sure which will be best for Dixie or how much that will cost.  I'll soon learn though.

Right now, Dixie is on anti-inflammatories and pain medicine. She is acting completely normal and it is difficult to keep her from running around as usual because with her femoral head popped back in place, and the pain pills, she feels no pain or physical impairment at all. 

Keep her in your thoughts, please.


CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

My Maggie May had severe hip dysplasia and back then, I made a ridiculous sum of money for a day's work. It took about a week's worth of work to pay for it. Still, I took advantage of Care Credit which is a credit card for dental and veterinary emergencies. It gave me a year of interest free payments! I had put off her surgery for YEARS because she was not one to do well with anesthesia and finally did it when she was six. It was THE BEST THING EVER! She went from being limpy and in pain to running and jumping and being her happy self! It was a blessing to see her so happy!!!

Linda@VS said...

Oh, my! It's always such a shock to learn that a pet has a serious medical problem and to know that we are their only hope of overcoming it. That responsibility is a heavy load to carry.

I was glad to read CreekHiker's comment and know that hip dysplasia surgery can be as successful as it was in her Maggie's case.

Sending good wishes to you and Dixie. Please keep us posted.

sdhb said...

Alison, I'm so, so sorry, and I feel terrible for Miss Dixie Do (the boys are still calling her that, after looking at the blurry photos I brought home- she never stayed still for a real picture). I'm glad you have a great veterinary hospital to use. Good luck to her and you in the next few weeks!

ghost said...

poor girl.