Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Very happy news

Silver had an appointment with the veterinary orthopedic surgeon yesterday. We'd been given a referral because our regular vet was pretty sure Silver was going to need surgery--possibly on both knees. We chose to be referred to Dr. S., the same surgeon who worked with Cairo and did such a good job on his leg amputation.

We love Dr. S. She is an extremely tall, beautiful black woman with a LOUD, ENCOURAGING voice. You get the sense that she is fully engaged with your problem and is spending a lot of her considerable mental energy on it. The s.o. commented yesterday that he kind of wishes she was a "people doctor."

Dr. S. reviewed the x-rays we'd been sent with (which aren't very good, actually, because apparently a certain dog was trying to climb off the table when they were taken). Then she asked me a lot of questions about Silver's history, the injury, and how things have changed over the past month and a half. She and her assistant led us outside, and the assistant took Silv for a trot around the parking lot while Dr. S. watched her gait. Then the assistant ran Silver up and down the front steps a couple of times. Finally, back indoors, Dr. S. felt Silver's knees, bending them back and forth and feeling around to see whether the kneecaps popped out of line.

The left knee still pops out under some circumstances. The right one seems better. Dr. S. said she was pretty sure the problem had originated with some kind of injury last year, and hadn't been a hereditary conformational problem. Probably Silv tweaked her knees somehow and was walking with stiff and swollen legs. Then that day when she jumped off the sofa, she had the bad luck to blow the left knee out altogether. Ever since then, with the help of the drugs, things have been improving.

In the end, Dr. S. respectfully disagreed with our regular vet. She felt that Silver is getting around very well right now. She's not opting out of running and playing, nor is she favoring one leg over the other. Surgery, therefore, is too extreme a measure right now; it wouldn't be an improvement, because Silver is actually doing quite well! We are to keep an eye on her and bring her in immediately if anything changes. We can use Rimadyl on her "bad days," and keep up with the Cosequin full-time.

The left knee is still a little problematic, and it's likely that she'll need surgery on it someday. But the groove is fine, and her cruciate ligament isn't in any immediate danger--so we watch and wait. The right is better than expected and is unlikely to ever be a problem.

This is the best news we could have realistically hoped for, and we're so happy our beautiful princess is doing well!