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So, long story. I took Zeus to the vet because hes been limping for 2 weeks. My parents said he just scuffed up his foot and he'll get over it but personally..2 weeks is a bit excessive. So, come to find out hes either partially or completely torn a major ligament in his knee. If its partially torn, he could recover in a month or so. If its completely torn he would need surgery. Without he surgery or if the surgery failed, he will eventually get arthritis due to the stress on his other back leg and he would have to be put down.

I cant afford the surgery no matter how you look at it. The cheapest option is 1k and that's an entire semester at college. As much as I love him, I just can't spend that money on an iffy surgery. So, what will happen is that I will try to keep him as confined and calm as possible for as long as possible. Hes not allowed to run, jump up on anything, or rough play. Any of those could completely tare the ligament (if its not already) or do damage to the remaining ligament.

So, I have to go out and see if they make an even larger sized dog crate. Great Dane sized or something, since he will have to stay in that during the day to ensure he doesn't jump on the couch or bed. I'm going to look into getting a "play pen" outdoor pen type thing so that I can block off part of the living room. That way he can still move and get out but hes confined to where he can't jump on anything or go nuts with the other dogs.
I'm going to see about finding a joint supplement to slow the arthritis as much as I can. He needs an ultra fully bed to lay on to try and prevent pressure points on his knees when he lays down.
His medicine has a habit of killing the appetite. Hes at a healthy weight right now so he doesn't need to loose weight, I figure no one can resist wet dog food so I'm going to get him started on some of that. Probably a weight control brand because he wont be doing anything physical for months. Plus, the wet dog food will ensure hes getting enough water into his system.

Agh life just sucks some times.

I'm sure some of this is a bit excessive but I want to prevent all that I can for as long as I can.
 

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awww i hope he doesnt need the surgery ! what breed is he ?
 

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I hope for the best. And I personally don't think you are being excessive. When dealing with my pets, only the best will do within my budget, especially when they are sick or injured. Besides at this point I think its better to be on the ultra safe side, then to end up having him hurt himself worse because you didn't want to do all the extras to make sure he's safe and comfortable. Good luck and give him hugs.
 

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$1,000 is pretty inexpensive for a surgery. My cat has racked up twice that much, and still needs some teeth pulled. He will most likely have arthritus over time, but hes already 14, so IMO its better then a little kitten getting arthritus early and having most of his life in pain. My dog broke his jaw. He has a heart murmer so we had to be extra cautious with surgery.

You can get him appetite pills, they're pretty inexpensive.

Our hospital charged like 70% upfront based on an estimate and offers payment plans. I also have an emergency fund thought (Its 2500 cash and 2500 in a cd.) I couldnt bear the thought of putting a pet down, just because I couldnt pay for it. Most vets/ hospitals should have some sort of payment plan, as like you, most people cant afford a huge bill all at once.

On a side note- what college do you go to that only charges $1000?? It was like $8900 per semester for me. You have it good.
 

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I had a dog that snapped a ligament in her left knee. We tried to see if it would heal on its own, we gave it about a week and a half before we decided the surgery needed to happen. She got the surgery and her movement has improved (it has been 3 months since) but she still has a bit of arthritis and still does not equally distribute her weight, although she no longer limps. We are waiting on her joint supplement that should get her back to total 100% improvement-right now I would say she's around 80%. I am going to be blunt about this, I really wish I didn't have to, but large dogs usually cannot heal their knee on their own. For small dogs such as toys they can often do alright with a torn ligament, but large dogs cannot. Once they start limping they bend their other joints in weird ways and there is added weight. Quality knee surgery really is the only true cure for this issue. However, I will try to offer a few other options that may help. Regardless, talk to your vet or another professional before you make any decisions.

-I'll start with the hardest and most serious one first. You may want to consider a leg amputation. When the leg is gone, the painful joint and the strange limp is removed. Once they adjust, dogs can easily get around on 3 legs and some can easily get around on 2. Generally speaking, a dog that is missing a leg is more comfortable than a dog with a painful leg. The drawbacks of this could be surgery complications, you would want to get a very good surgeon and prepare well for the adjustment period if you did this. Definitely something you would want to consult a vet on before deciding. This procedure usually averages around $800-$1200.

-You may want to think about investing in a canine wheelchair. The wheels would hold the weight evenly while pressure would not be put on a painful leg. Unlike a human wheelchair, the canine wheelchair does not require another person to push it or a button to make it move. The natural movement of the front legs keeps the wheels moving. A drawback to this is the hind leg will atrophy and the joints will weaken, similar to how people in wheelchairs often have weak legs. To help this, you can try moving and bending the legs while the dog is lying down (although I would not do this with a painful knee). A canine wheelchair usually costs around $400.

-Physical therapy, water therapy and massage. Water therapy is good exercise for dogs with bad joints because they can get strong without putting weight on a painful area. Physical therapy and massage can help to alleviate muscle strains and encourage the dog to walk in a less damaging way. You can learn simply massage techniques to do at home as well as taking the dog into a professional. An initial appointment with a physical therapist is around $100 and after that around $75.

-Canine joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin. The most esteemed and effective brand is called Cortaflex, which I have ordered. I would recommend Cortaflex over other brands because unlike the others, the molecules of glucosamine are broken down to fit through the capillary walls to get where they are needed as opposed to feeding a dog a heap of unaltered glucosamine that will just go straight into their waste. Cortaflex improves joint cartilage and alleviates arthritic pain. There are no side effects. The liquid form of it is about $74 for a 189 day supply and is mixed into the dog's normal food.
 

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We had our 140 lb Rotty's knee operated on last January. He did really well until October when he went downhill really really quick. I'm talking over a week, he went from eating twice a day, to once a day, to on the 6th day not even beef out of my hand. We lost him to a very fast growing liver cancer.

If you can't afford the surgery, keep him as immobile as possible to hopefully give it a chance. Just be prepared though. He'll probably always walk with a limp, and as long as the one is hurting, he's compensating with the other. Causing strain on his other leg and his back. Ask your vet for some Deramaxx. That will help with some of the pain and swelling. My Bear was on it before and after his surgery.

Our vet gave us two options. The first was the surgery. The second was just what I told you. The main problems with the second option is that you have to try to keep them so still...and not excite them; once it's injured, if by chance it starts feeling better, there is almost a 100% chance that it will happen again. It could happen with something as simple as landing on the foot the wrong way when he's running across the back yard.

My heart goes out to you and I will keep both you and Zeus in my prayers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've already started him on the joint supplement. I figured I may as well start it early to try and postpone the arthritis.
He gets around just fine. He doesn't use the injured leg. Hes basically a 3 legged dog right now as it is. Even with amputation, he will be distributing his weight unevenly and will still get the arthritis.

$1000 is a lot of money to me. I currently go to a community college and its the cheapest in the state, which is by no means cheap. I dont consider dishing out $1k every 3 months, cheap. There are more expensive places, but its still not cheap.

Right now Zeus is confined to the office until I can get a pen set up in the living room. That way, he can still walk around but he wont have enough room to run or jump up on things. Theoretically its a good idea lol.

I've also been curious about maybe using an icepack on his knee, kinda like a jock would use on his hurt knee? Maybe get some vet wrap and wrap it up as well to try and prevent as much movement as possible in the joint.

What do you think? =/
 

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Awww...poor guy, got two strikes against him already...his two breed types...they are not known for good joints.

I don't think what you have prepared to do for him is excessive at all...either. You may be able to wrap it as well...see what the vet suggests; I would think stabilizing it would help a whole heck of a lot. Not sure though, especially if he might chew it off.

Some kind of liniment would probably help out quite alot; capsaicin, or the like...rub it in a few times a day, just to help with some of the pain and inflammation.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, hes been getting his joint supplements and is almost out of his meds the doctor gave him. He hasn't gotten any better but until today he hasn't gotten any worse either. Today he wouldn't even walk on his leg. It might just be because we had another sudden cold spell, so I gave him 2 pain pills. :(

Pics of my clumsy dork dog. (HAHA I found a puppy picture from when we brought him home!)
 

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Hes still not walking on his leg. When he tries to use it for balance while peeing, he falls over. I've called the vets and asked if vet wrapping the knee or using heat/cold packs would help anything. I've done everything I can think of but nothing seems to be working. I'm trying to cry...this seriously sucks
 
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