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Old 08-19-2010, 10:09 PM   #1
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Exclamation Dog Jumped Off Balcony...

Hello all. I'm hoping you might be able to give some insight or advice on the situation we're dealing with at the moment...

We adopted a 2 year old Australian Shepherd/Lab mix on Sunday. On Tuesday, he leapt off our third story balcony. No one saw him do it, so we aren't sure why (squirrel, didn't realize the height, etc). We immediately took him to our vet, who did x-rays and declared that he had a broken rear right femur. They planned on doing surgery the next morning, but ended up holding off because he was showing signs of nerve damage. He wasn't getting up at all and, I guess, dogs with one broken rear leg usually will try to walk on the other three. They were concerned there was damage to his spinal cord, so we waited to see if maybe it was swelling that would go down and resolve itself. It's been just over 48 hours since his fall now and he's still not showing enough improvement.

We went in to visit him today and the vet said there does seem to be a slight difference in his pupils, indicating some kind of brain trauma. He's not eating or trying to move much for them, but he's a very shy dog and will try (unsuccessfully) to get up for us and ate the chicken we brought him today. The vet says both his right front and right rear leg (the broken one) are showing signs of nerve damage. He consulted with a neurologist, who basically said that there's no way to tell if the damage is permanent, temporary, or recoverable at all. He says he could recover fully in three weeks or only 10% in 6 months.

The vet is going to hold off on the surgery to fix the right femur in order to give us time to decide how we want to proceed. They are recommending euthanasia since there's a very good chance he will never be able to walk again and will need intensive care for at least 6 months while we wait to see if he'll recover at all.

I'm torn. The last thing I want to do is keep our dog alive for selfish reasons. He's young and was very active. An immobile life is no life for a dog like this and given that the damage is one one side, there's not a lot of options for assistance (carts, etc). However, I don't want to give up on a dog that has a chance for recovery either. I would be more than willing to care for him in whatever way he needed if I knew the end result would be a dog who could love his life again.

So, my question is...has anyone had similar experiences with their dogs and seen them recover? I need hope if we're going to bring him home. Or have you had similar experiences where you chose to euthanize? I need to feel like I'm making the right decision for my dog, no matter what that decision is. Please help! We're on limited time to make a decision and really don't know what the right choice is.

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Old 08-19-2010, 10:35 PM   #2
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What a horrible accident and I can imagine how awful this is for you. Poor dog! In reading your post, I was wondering if the vet you took him to is able to work with a team of specialists or if he could be seen by a large specialty center. My own dog has been through multiple surgeries and is seen by a team at such a center. The input from experts in different clinical specialty areas can have a huge impact on the decisions you make in what treatments are chosen for your dog. While spending so much time at the center, I've seen many dogs successfully treated for things I would have not thought would have good outcomes...but they did and though some of the dogs have residual disabilities, they are still happy, much-loved members of their family. Next door to the center where my dog is seen is a rehabilitation center that works with dogs that have undergone surgery and/or have other ongoing medical needs that are improved with specialized therapy. I'm so sorry you have such a hard situation to deal with and wish you all the best for you and your dog.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:41 PM   #3
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Thanks JGLI. They did call a neurologist for a consult, but he's on vacation until Monday and can't come in to examine our dog before the surgery on his femur would need to be done. He said, basically, that he would need to do an CatScan or MRI to confirm his diagnosis, but that recovery would still be unpredictable.

I think, when we go in tomorrow, I'm going to ask if they have another neurologist they can call to come in. I really think a specialist will be able to give us a better guess as to his prognosis.

Thanks for replying!

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Old 08-20-2010, 09:29 AM   #4
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Oh I am so sorry! Such hard decisions to make! My heart goes out to you.
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Old 08-20-2010, 02:20 PM   #5
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I just wanted to give you all an update on our dog...

We went to visit him at the vet this morning and discussing getting a neurological consult. The way we figured it, if they could give us a better than average chance that his back leg could recover full use, than he had a shot and deserved a chance to be the miracle dog we all hope he is. Turns out we didn't need the consult. We got to the vet and his back leg is showing no signs of nerve damage! He responds to touch and is feeling pain from the broken femur. The front right leg is still useless, but that MAY repair itself over time. In any case, he's now scheduled for surgery on his broken rear femur on Tuesday! Recovery from that surgery is going to be tough since he won't have use of either right leg during those 4-6 weeks after the surgery, but doggie diapers and hand feedings are a small price to pay to keep him alive and breathing! We brought him home to rest with us rather than at the vet's office until Tuesday and he seems so much happier already!

Thank you all for your well wishes and prayers! I'll continue to keep you updated as to how he's doing on his road to full recovery!

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Old 08-20-2010, 02:24 PM   #6
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What wonderful news!! I am so glad to hear it :-)
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Old 08-20-2010, 03:42 PM   #7
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That's wonderful news! I can relate a little bit as I had a new dog fall off a 15 ft deck shortly after I got her. Fortunately she was up and running around immediately so my heart only stopped for a half a minute. I can't imagine having a stopped heart for as long as you have! Maybe that right front leg will come back too.
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Old 08-20-2010, 04:41 PM   #8
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That's great! Maybe you can give a little physical therapy to the other right leg to help it along. Have the vet show you how to move it. It won't lose as much muscle tone that way.
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Old 08-20-2010, 04:42 PM   #9
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That's great news .

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Old 08-20-2010, 05:27 PM   #10
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SO happy to hear!!!!!! I have been sadly thinking about you and your dog all day.
I have heard that accupunctre works wonders in healing, and talk to your vet about arnica.. Arnica speeds up the healing process for bones - my dog injured her leg, no vet could figure out what she had done, I tried her on arnica and within 2 weeks she was FINE! My husband also used it after he had major surgery for a broken leg and his Dr. said he healed faster than he had seen anyone heal in his 30 yr experience.
Can't recommend it enough.

Keep us posted/.

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