I’ve been waiting to make this post for a couple reasons.
- I have been feeling so many emotions that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write them all down. Also, if history has taught me anything, it’s that I should try to take time to digest all the information that I have rather than immediately expressing my emotions (and trust me, I have a lot of them!)
- I guess part of me was hoping that it would just go away. Writing this post makes it all real. And I wish it weren’t.
I’m making this sound incredibly bleak, and it isn’t that bad. So instead of starting this post with the negatives, I’ll start with the positives.
- Lexi is healthy. She does not have cancer. She does not have any other disease that will shorten her life.
- Lexi is happy. My girl is happy being with us every day; whether she’s playing fetch or sitting on our laps, she is happy.
- I have had the opportunity to learn so much from her, that I know no matter where life takes us, she has so much more to teach me.
- I love Lexi no matter what, and she loves me.
Now for the ONE negative.
- The vet walked back into the room to speak to me and her first words were “How much do you like doing agility with this dog?” I broke into tears.
I know, I know, that doesn’t sound so bad—she’s just hurt. But it was really upsetting for me to hear for a variety of reasons. But I guess I should get to emotions later. Here are the facts.
Lexi has a luxating patella on both knees. We already knew that! But, this vet seemed to think it was the cause of the problems. She took x-rays, and stated that her leg looks perfect (no bowing to compensate, no abnormalities, etc…) “except for when it doesn’t” as she said. Basically, when it pops out, it’s all wrong. But when it’s in, no problems.
Unfortunately for Lexi, her patellas luxate both ways. Apparently it’s very abnormal for the patella to be able to be luxated both medially and laterally (in and out) and that makes surgery a lot more complicated. I guess when they do surgery they build up one side to make it so that the patellar tendon does not want to move one way, and therefore just stays in place. So the surgery is complicated, and is more of an “art” as described by the vet (ack! Scary!)
And now to the emotion part of the post. We don’t know how serious it is. The vet suspects that the other vets that saw her weren’t able to luxate it as much because Lexi was so tense. She sedated her for a second evaluation, and still told me it felt like a Grade I. Grade I’s typically aren’t corrected by surgery because they manifest infrequently. (Side note: Vet wrote “Grade II/IV” on the take home sheet, which I find confusing).
But Lexi is an agility dog. She may never be able to do agility again. I know it’s selfish of me, but it absolutely broke my heart. A week removed from the news I can talk about it without crying (ridiculous, I know), because I know that Lexi loves agility because she loves me. She is a happy dog without agility. But I’m sad. And I feel like a bad person for feeling upset about her not being able to compete ever again.
The vet sent us home armed with some knowledge and a great deal of sadness. But our homework is to observe her. Let her be herself (craziness and all!) How often does it luxate? What causes it? We were to take detailed notes of any incidents. The frequency of the incidents would help us to make a decision regarding treatment (surgery?) But I couldn’t help but think that I don’t know what I want to do.
Jonathan and I decided that if Lexi wasn’t able to be herself—crazy, fun-loving, nothing-at-a-walk Lexi, then we would get the surgery. I just couldn’t bear to keep her quiet and crated for her whole life. But what if the issue only crops up when doing agility? Am I so selfish as to put my dog under the knife, a painful surgery, through several months of rest and serious rehabilitation just for a hobby of mine? The answer is I don’t think I would be able to. But it breaks my heart. And again, I feel awful about it.
So what have we observed over the past week? She’s done a lot. And I mean a lot. She still does nothing at a walk. We’ve been playing fetch with her (that includes some turns, some somersaults), letting her chase the cat and zoom around the house (which includes stopping and turning on a dime, leaping off of furniture, jumping on the cat) and do whatever she wants. We even went hiking this weekend! (Don’t worry—I carried her most of the time, and got a lot of grief for it from strangers. But there were a lot of steps!) We saw NOTHING. Until today. I was taking Bentley out in the front yard and Lexi ran out (naughty girl). She went into the yard to find a place to go to the bathroom. She was not sprinting, but she was running. And I noticed that she was sort of skipping, and there was a definite hitch in her step. She went to the bathroom and I called her back in. She ran (faster than when she ran out) and the limp was gone. She just finished tearing around the house with the cat. I can’t figure it out.
So, we don’t really have any answers or a solution. We have an appointment at TOPS Rehabilitation facility for September. I am really looking forward to what they have to say, and am just trying to take everything one day at a time.