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English Springer Rescue America, Inc.: Sponsor a Pet Grant Report

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Ruptured bilateral cruciate ligaments — gosh, that doesn't sound like something a little springer boy wants to have! But that's exactly what little Willie is enduring — in both rear legs! Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, commonly referred to as the ACL, is a common sports injury in humans. With dogs it often occurs if the dog loses his footing on a slippery surface, makes a quick change of direction when running at full speed, or perhaps is hit by a car. How did Willie's injuries happen? We don't know! What can be done about it? ESRA can promise to fix it!

Before we even realized that Willie had a problem with his legs, we noticed that he had two broken teeth which must have been causing discomfort. So first off we had those teeth pulled.

Willie received a new lease on life and was adopted as a healthy springer.

How many pets did this grant help?

One

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Ruptured bilateral cruciate ligaments — gosh, that doesn’t sound like something a little Springer boy wants to have! But that’s exactly what little Willie is enduring — in both rear legs! Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, commonly referred to as the ACL, is a common sports injury in humans. With dogs it often occurs if the dog loses his footing on a slippery surface, makes a quick change of direction when running at full speed, or perhaps is hit by a car. How did Willie’s injuries happen? We don’t know! What can be done about it? ESRA can promise to fix it!

Before we even realized that Willie had a problem with his legs, we noticed that he had two broken teeth which must have been causing discomfort. So first off we had those teeth pulled. It was then that we noticed that when he sits, he sits with his legs off to one side, not under him — a clear indication of some kind of physical malfunction. X-rays easily pinpointed the problem — bilateral cruciate ligament ruptures! The only solution is surgery and the surgery is expensive. One leg is worse than the other, so we’ll start with surgery on that one. After allowing at least a three-month recovery period after the first surgery, we’ll move on to the second one. Meanwhile he’ll be on Rimadyl to hopefully relieve some of his pain.

We’ll keep you updated on his progress. In the meantime his foster family will appreciate tips on how to keep an otherwise healthy young springer confined in “mellow mode” while he recuperates after each surgical procedure. And ESRA will appreciate your donations to help cover the expense.

UPDATE 8/4/14: Willie underwent his first surgery in late July and is now in his first recuperation phase.

UPDATE 8/12/14: The vet is very impressed with how well Willie is doing after his surgery. His foster mom has started the physical therapy time following the guidelines provided by the vet. The vet was impressed, adding that most people don’t start the therapy exercises until after the stitches come out. The vet also said that Willie was probably having so much pain before the surgery that the pain from the exercises is “not so bad” by comparison. Lucky for him ESRA stepped in and provided this for him. The big challenge now is to keep Lady, the resident springer in his foster home, from luring him into play mode!

UPDATE 9/17/14: The vet calls Willie “Willie the Wonder Dog”! He is doing extremely well. This week would be stair-climbing week and he has been doing that for a month or so already. His foster mom thought he was a good leash walk before but now Willie pulls her along — which means he feels much better than he did before surgery. (She is using a harness on him so it doesn’t pull on his neck.) His right and left legs are now the same size and his right leg was much larger due to swelling before the surgery. The three month period will be up the middle of October at which time we could have the left leg done. All the while he is one happy, happy boy.

PDATE 11/15/14: Willie will be going in for surgery on the left leg after Thanksgiving. It has taken time for him to regain strength in his right leg which is a vital prerequisite to undergoing the second surgery.

UPDATE 11/26/14: Uh oh! Willie is having a reaction to the hardware that was placed in his right leg so he is scheduled to have the hardware removed on December 4. At that time if the surgeon feels Willie’s right leg is strong enough to take over for the left leg, they will move forward with the surgery on the left leg as planned. Barring any other complication, the hardware in the left leg can be removed three months after the left leg surgery and little Willie can get on to a spirited, high-energy life as a pain-free happy Springer!

UPDATE 12/8/14: Willie’s facial expression framed by that e-collar says it all, doesn’t it! Right now, although the vet and his foster mom agree he is progressing just fine, he seems a little sad and disappointed because his physical activity is once again being curtailed and/or controlled. He had surgery on December 4 to remove the hardware from his right leg and had the TPLO procedure done on the left leg. (TPLO stands for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, a surgical procedure performed on the cruciate ligament to prevent forward and backward sliding of the femur on the tibia bone.) He wants to climb stairs by himself, but Foster Mom says “no way” as she totes him up the stairs in her arms. When it’s time for a walk, he wants to walk freely with his housemate but Foster Mom says “no way” and keeps him close by on a leash.

Despite his protests and sad look, Willie will get this special handling for at least two weeks, then we’ll bet his face will brighten up a bit with a little more freedom. Meanwhile his medications are being closely monitored. His liver function test shows an elevated level of Alkaline Phosphate due to the Rimadyl he takes daily but Rimadyl reduces joint pain and inflammation so it will be continued for its benefits and decreased as we see improvement. He is also taking Tramadol for pain, a daily joint supplement and a multi-vitamin infusion. Willie is definitely in good hands in his foster home and he has a growing family of well-wishers helping him get through this “period of adjustment.” What a happy Springer we’ll hope to see one day soon!

UPDATE 1/16/15: Here’s the news from Willie’s recent follow-up vet visit:

His xrays look good.
Results from blood work are good.
He will be on Clindmycin for 3 weeks in case he has a systemic infection.
He’ll also take Gabapentin for pain.
The vet was able to take his leg through a full range of motion.
Once back home with his foster mom, however, he resisted her attempt to put him through his daily “range of motion” exercises — he didn’t snap, but he did growl. She thinks he is willing to let her know how much pain he is in, but he keeps up that classic Springer stoicism when people he doesn’t know very well are pushing and pulling on his leg.

Willie is definitely happier and more lively, but he is still not using his leg — and continues to resist going along with the all-important daily exercises. Foster mom is going to take Willie to the Physical Therapist at Oakdale Emergency Vet Hospital for an evaluation. He needs to learn to use that leg. Stay tuned and send Willie some encouraging words!

UPDATE 2/15/15: Willie still needs to build more muscle in his left leg and his tendons are very tight. His physical therapy sessions, which include massage and water treadmill, are helping but he has a way to go. He is doing well on his daily half-hour walks with his foster mom, but he really really wishes he could ditch the leash and take off running! The physical therapist’s evaluation is that Willie needs at least six to eight more weeks before we see his best results but he is surely showing signs of returning to his own spunky self!

UPDATE 3/15/15: Willie was given the go-ahead for a good romp in the park on March 2 — his physical therapist felt that the exercise would be a good stretch for the tight muscles and tendons in his legs. He had lots of fun but he came away from the adventure favoring his left leg. A quick check and xray with the vet proved that no damage was done — just soreness. Warm packs and gentle massage and manual stretching of the leg was the prescription given to help overcome this slight setback. Foster mom reports that through it all Willie still happy and a very good sport!

UPDATE 8/10/15: Willie has been given the “all clear” to begin the search for his Forever Family! There are a few residual issues that will accompany him because he is such an energetic go-getter and he doesn’t always stay within his exercise limits. He’ll be looking for a family who will help him master the right balance of active fun and recuperative snuggling!

Willie has been adopted!

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