Sunday, June 30, 2013

Seppel's FHO rehab

I got a really nice e-mail from someone who was concerned that I might be doing too much with Seppel too soon, and I realized that I should probably explain what we are doing right now 11 days out.

Here is a break down of the exercises we do daily:

- 15min slow walk.
- ROM exercise
- 15mins Ice

- 15 min slow walk
- Sits to Stands - 10 reps
- ROM Exercise
- 15mins ice or heat.

- 15 min slow walk
- Mattress walk - 10 reps.
- ROM Exercise
- 15mins Ice

Then we have some exercise that is variable depending on the day. If there are stairs available, I will slowly walk him up and then back down the stairs.

We are loosely following the Top Dog Health FHO Guide

I was strongly advised by two veterinarians - one I trust, and one who is Seppel's surgeon to get him moving as much as possible, and using the leg as much as possible. I have read several reports of the TDH FHO guide being very successful for people, but I also cannot ignore what my veterinarians are telling me.

I try to watch Seppel closely to determine how much exercise he can and cannot do. The pictures I posted a few posts down on Monday I was allowing Sepp to do more than he probably should have been doing. We are only 11 days out and it's critical that he doesn't do a lot of running or jumping because he could actually injure his good leg. We really don't need him getting a blown knee that's for sure!

SO in short, I try to monitor my dog - if he's looking painful, or slowing down we may not do all of the exercises listed above. The above list is just a general guideline as to how our days are going thus far. I might also not do those exercises one after the other, we may go for a walk, I may ice him, and a few hours later we do the sits to stands - it really depends on how he is feeling. I pretty much do 15mins of ice after each physical activity. I've introduced a little bit of heat, but I feel like he benefits more from the ice in terms of the pain.

In other news I tried to reduce his tramadol. I gave it to him AM, Lunch, and PM[about 5-6pm] only yesterday, and in the middle of the night he was whining. Our instructions for now have been to give the tramadol 4x a day, but I thought the tramadol was making him a bit more reactive. I thought we would taper down to 3x a day, then maybe 2x a day, but clearly, he needs the medication. He hasn't cried since he was on the "big drugs". I gave him a tramadol and he was able to finally quit crying and go to sleep.

Poor guy.

I hope this better explains what we are doing as of right now. He's still not putting a ton of weight on the bad leg, but he is using it 90% of the time. When we do the ROM exercise he has decent range of motion so I'm pretty happy with where we are at so far.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Mattress PT and Tramadol

When I was researching FHOs I came across this video on youtube:

I was like "That is a GREAT idea!" My boss agreed that it sounded awesome SO I am trying it with Seppel:

As you can see, this activity was not Seppel's favorite, and towards the end he didn't want to do it anymore. I'm thinking we'll just do it once a day... until he gets more comfortable/is less painful.

I also wanted to add that I think Sepp is having a reaction to the tramadol, he has become more reactive on our walks. It could also be pent up energy, but he's been barking at people/dogs which is something he doesn't normally do. I may reduce the dose I am giving him but I am worried about cutting pain meds back too soon if he is still painful. I just don't want him to be painful and use the leg less.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Seppel FHO Day #8

Things have been progressing about the same.

I will admit to the interwebz that I am one of those owners. I haven't put a cone on my dog and he somehow managed to pull out a little under half of his suture. Oops... So for now, he gets to stay in the treatment area at work where I can watch him and make sure he doesn't chew anymore out. I tried using 'yuck' all over the incision, and he just licked it off. I put a bunch of skin glue on it yesterday when I noticed he pulled out more suture. Bad dog, bad owner.

Today Sepp recieved another round of acupuncture. When Dr. A went to put a needle near his incision he about jumped ten feet and screamed like a girl. After that he was very tense and guarded about the area, he never offered to bite - just screamed. She did the acupuncture elsewhere and explained some of the points, it was all basically bone, bladder, and kidney support, as well as I believe some pain support also. He did really well when she placed the needles elsewhere on his body and he sat for a good 20 minutes. I was hoping to get a picture of it... but time got away from us.

Tonight we are going to try walking on the air mattress - I will try to get video of him doing it. It's supposed to be a balance exercise and hopefully get him to use his bad leg.

On Monday [would be 5 days post surgery] as I mentioned in my other post, my friend Kay got some pictures of Sepp going up stairs and doing a little makeshift PT. So I will end this entry with some pictures!

He's still got pep in his step!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Seppel Post FHO Day 6

Well, we're almost at a whole week post surgery!

I think Sepp is doing pretty darn well.

Yesterday I met my friend Kay in Mcminnville, I brought Sepp [broken dog] just so she could see him, and I brought my boss's Golden Retriever that I'm watching. I threw the ball for Bella and Sepp just sat in the car making sad noises. After Bella got a little worn out I decided to take Sepp out.

Sepp was very gung-ho to get the ball. Of course he was running around three legged which may be why they say your dog needs to be on leash for the first couple of weeks, oops. I was very careful but did throw the ball for him a couple of times, not far, and I tried to do it while he was already walking forward so he didn't do any spinning or anything.

There's a skate park at this park we were at, they had some stairs - my friend Kay took some pics of him walking the steps, I really had to force him to go slowly because he really wanted to speed up the steps and not use his back leg. Overall I think it was good "therapy" to help get him using the leg.

We do the ROM exercise 3-4 times a day, he has pretty decent range of motion at this point even though he isn't putting 100% weight on the leg yet. I really can't wait until the sutures come out and he can go swimming, When we pull them next week I will make an appointment with Paws Aquatics for his first post surgery swim.

Icing his leg.

Here is a video from today of him walking and also doing sits to stands.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

FHO Recovery Day 4

I took a couple of videos today:

Seppel is doing so much better. I would say he's nearly 100% back to normal personality wise, he's back to obsessively licking me and actually crawled under the covers last night. I helped him up onto the bed, unfortunately at some point in the middle of the night he jumped off and I'm like "WAIT Nooooooo!" but it was too late. However, he seemed to have survived the jump.

Sepp has been really good with his ROM exercises and we have gone for a few short walks - just what he can tolerate. 

Right now he is taking Cephalexin, Rimadyl, and Tramadol. I feel that his pain is being managed pretty well, although he isn't a complainer. I am really glad that we did the fentanyl and morphine/ketamine but I really have to say that it did make things hard because it made him SO loopy. The epidural also made it very hard for him to walk - but I also think the morphine/ketamine contributed to that as well. 

Now that he is completely hard-drug free he's just doing so much better. He's using the leg most of the time, but if he runs he won't use it. I'm icing him after every activity, in a few days we will transition to using heat. 

Depending on his progress I may start simply updating once a week. But I had to share the videos of him walking because it makes me happy.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Guest Blog - Why I Chose a Purebred Dog

I asked my friend Amity to write a guest post about her dogs/dog story. She was kind enough[crazy enough? :p] to do it.

I got interested in Pit Bulls around the late 1990’s, and given their bad reputation I found them a cause to champion.  I didn’t know exactly what cause I was championing as I was a teenager – but I knew there was no way it was fair for dogs to be judged like they were.  Everyone was telling me that Pit Bulls were inherently vicious and while I hadn’t met many, I knew this just couldn’t be true.

Years later, when it became time to have a dog of my own, I knew what to get.  I headed right to my nearest animal shelter and chose a beautiful fawn-colored dog (probably AmStaff mix in retrospect) and named her Maisy.  We happily brought her home and within hours I realized that something was very wrong.  Maisy would have uncontrollable whining and fear when we left her alone for more than 30 seconds.  When we left her in the crate for ten minutes to go to the nearby convenience store she had severe diarrhea all over.  She was so afraid she did not care that she was in her own feces.  My instincts told me that something was very wrong with this dog, but I kept pushing it aside.

By the second day I realized there was no way I would be able to leave this dog alone long enough to go for four hours at my part-time job.  I made the choice to return her to the shelter and it was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.  People may criticize me for not trying longer, but I felt (and still feel) that I was in way over my head and the shelter gave me absolutely no indication that this dog had a problem.  I could not quit my job, after all.  And of course, I realize dogs arrive from a shelter environment incredibly stressed out and need time to show their “true colors”, but my gut feeling was that the level of panic this dog had was completely abnormal.

Shortly after that, my mother found out through a friend about a litter of pups born of an accidental mating and were being offered for free.  I seized the opportunity and talked on the phone to the “breeder” (backyard breeder, I’m ashamed to say).  He was a nice guy and told me a little bit about his dogs.  He said all of them were taken except for one female, that they were black and white, and that they were Pit Bulls.  I had wanted a male dog but knowing she was the only one left I knew she was what I wanted.  I immediately told him I would take her.
After a month of anticipation and endless waiting, I got my puppy on December 26, 2007.  We named her Bindi.

From the start she was a wonderful dog – smart as a whip, quick to potty train, eager to work.  She was also stubborn, insolent, and a naturally dominant dog.  FWIW – most people do not have a naturally dominant dog.  Dogs display varying degrees of dominance, and the trait shows up at two weeks old.  A naturally dominant dog is not necessarily the largest dog, but it is the smartest.  The one capable of making snap judgments and watches out over everything.  They are bold, confident, inquisitive, brave, and stubborn as all hell.  They hold their tail high and march into every situation headfirst.  This describes my Bindi perfectly.  She marks her territory like a male and makes sure everyone knows she’s top dog.

Unfortunately, Bindi developed health problems pretty much from the start.  I spayed her early on the advice from family and friends, only to find out she had an inverted vulva which will likely require surgery someday.  Additionally, she has torn both of her cruciate ligaments and had a myriad of other ailments including yeast problems, flesh-eating bacteria on her paws, and a back injury to name a few highlights.  So far she has run me about $16,000 in vet bills, and unfortunately her most recent surgery to fix the cruciate tear was not optimal and the results have been sub-par.

My Bindi loves nothing more than to run free in a field, and it has been devastating to watch her develop all of these problems.  To not be able to run was a cruel joke played on her, as she has so much spirit, confidence, and determination.  I hate to see her limping and slowed down.  While I feel she has a great quality of life still, I know arthritis will plague her later in life.

Most cruciate dogs are “weekend warriors”, overweight dogs who do too much in a day.  But Bindi was always active and very lean, getting exercised regularly over difficult terrain.  For her to have such an injury was devastating and perplexing.  We were due to start Schutzhund sport right before she tore the first one, but I knew sports were out once it happened.  The causes of canine cruciate ligament tears are unknown but there are theories that it is genetic or possibly caused by early spaying.  It is a degenerative disease 90% of the time, with 40% of dogs tearing the second ACL within a year of the first.  Such was the case for Bindi.

When looking up the causes for this disease and finding out that genetics could very well be the case, I wanted to think about how I could prevent a dog from suffering like this.  Why would someone breed a dog when something like this could happen?  All of these things made me have one burning desire:  to make sound, healthy dogs someday since it seemed nobody else cared about anything other than how a dog looks.  But I just couldn’t justify breeding such a popular dog breed.  After all, there are so many in shelters.  And by the way, Bindi’s breeder?  Never heard from him again, he never returned any of my calls or e-mails after I took her home.

While I wouldn’t trade her for the world, when it came time to think about another dog, I knew I wanted a purebred APBT bred to the breed standard, and I knew I wanted to get one from a responsible breeder.  I began my search to see if anyone out there was breeding the APBT to standard, and I found out something completely and totally shocking: there wasn’t anyone.  Now, obviously that isn’t completely true – there are people.  But very, VERY few.  Those people keep to themselves these days, they tend to run in very close-knit circles.  And I don’t blame them.  They are dealing with a clobbering from all directions that no other breed has ever been dealt.

Popularity has all but rendered the true American Pit Bull Terrier extinct, and it’s shocking.  So many irresponsible breeders who mix them with other breeds and call them Pit Bulls, and the media reporting any time one badly bred, temperamentally unsound dog bites a human.  Not surprisingly, the vast majority of the very few people who guard the true breed aren’t exceptionally eager to give their dogs to just anybody.  I began calling, emailing, harassing on Facebook, anything to see if anyone had info on good breeders who could tell me more about their dogs.  And I got nothing for months - a couple of dead end leads and absolutely no returned phone calls.  Finally, I came upon someone who actually called me back and talked to me – and our first conversation lasted an hour and a half.

While I wasn’t ready to get a pup just yet, I took down information and went to the forum she told me to visit where I’d be led in the right direction to find a pup.  Because at this stage, I wasn’t even trying to get a puppy – I was just asking where I could find information on them and the people who bred them.

After visiting the forums, becoming active, and a few more months of research, I decided I was ready for a pup and this was what I wanted. Going back to the lady I talked to in the beginning, I decided on her bloodline for several reasons.  One, I knew her dogs were going to a lot of different kind of homes:  working, sporting, show, pet, etc.  Two, I knew that she had an exceptional reputation in the APBT world.  Three, she had been in the dogs longer than I had been alive.  So after much deliberation I asked her if she would consider little old me for a pup and figured there’d be no way she would say yes.
But she did!  I was over the moon.

And again, after just as much anticipation as with my Bindi, Yoshi arrived after Thanksgiving of 2012.  He’s been full of surprises, twists, and turns.  I have had a torrent of different emotions over him and have learned a lot.  He’s healthy, perky, and happy.  He’s not without problems and caveats – he is more fearful than Bindi, he can be extremely difficult to keep contained, and he has a touch of separation anxiety at times.  However, he has been a fabulous match for us, and so far he and Bindi are getting along nicely with careful management and supervision.  In fact, they enjoy and rely on each other more than I ever thought.

There are a few advantages that I didn’t know about when I chose a responsible breeder.  One, if the unthinkable should happen and I could not keep Yoshi for any reason, my breeder will take him back, no questions asked.  This is for his entire life.  Two, I have made a wonderful friend and mentor who shares my incredibly deep passion for all things dog.  Three, I have lifetime guidance and advice from someone who has been in this breed since before I was born.  Four, she and the rest of the Pit Bull community have welcomed me with absolutely wide open arms.  They’ve given me a tremendous amount of learning and mentoring.

I’m humbled and grateful for the time spent by many of them to help me with any questions or fears I had – or even provide a kick in the ass when needed.  They are a very small group of people weathering an overwhelmingly large storm – but if they have their way, the APBT will come out on top as they always have in their past and as they were bred to do.

Written by Amity.



FHO ROM Exercise

Here is a video showing how we do the 'Range of Motion' exercise. It's a little awkward because I never talk to the camera. I just wanted to share some of the physical therapy we are doing now.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Post FHO Day #2

Last night didn't go too terribly. Since Seppel is now off of all of the hardcore narcotics he started to come around and get less foggy.

He did cry last night now and then, he would cry for a bit and then fall asleep. I don't believe he was painful - just suffering effects from the drugs.

Today he has become more and more like himself. He's walking on his own and didn't cry much at all today.

The only 'issue' we're having is that he keeps puking. Even with cerenia [anti-vomiting medication], and pepcid on board. Doc says it's fentanyl left-overs. He's hungry and wanting to eat - so that's a good thing. We're supposed to pull his IV tomorrow... I'm on board as long as he's no longer puking.

Mid-day today his butt wiggle was back and he tore up a paper towel, and also played tug with me. I'm very glad to have my dog back!

I actually have access to a computer tonight and wanted to share some pictures from the big day - as well as a video from this morning.

Here is Seppel walking this morning.

After his pre-anesthetic was given.

Naked booty.

How I had him set up at home.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Seppel's FHO Surgery - Day 1

Well, I'm a day late with updates but here we go!

Seppel had his surgery yesterday 6/19.

I applied a fentanyl patch [slow release pain meds] the night of 6/18. By the morning of 6/19 he was a little on the slow side and was feeling pretty good. We anesthetized him for surgery around 12pm - we also did an epidural for pain as well. My boss is pretty awesome and allowed me to scrub in and help in surgery. The new groomer at our clinic is a photographer and stuck around to take some awesome surgery pictures. [Check her out at Lilly Mae Photography on facebook!]

The surgery took about two hours. Everything went really smoothly.

There were two "parts" that were hard for me. First was when we anesthetized him. For a brief moment I wanted to cry because he was asleep, but you know, also kind of looks dead, and it just made me feel really sad. I was able to compose myself, but it was a fleeting moment of emotion. I don't typically get this way, but since I have had bad experiences with anesthesia before, it causes a lot of anxiety. The second part that was a little scary was when we actually cut the head off of the femur. He used an electric saw and I had to hold to knee rotated upward so I could feel the vibration throughout his leg. That was a little worrying and a bit gross - but I survived.

After surgery we put him on a CRI [constant rate infusion of morphine and ketamine in IV fluids]. I was also lucky in that our relief vet who happened to be working does acupuncture. She did some post surgery acupuncture on him for pain control, and also hooked him up to some electrodes. It was really neat and I think it helped with the pain also.

Last night was was really hard for Sepp. He was on so many drugs that he could hardly walk and he cried nearly all night long. As I'm coming to find out he's just very sensitive to the medication and it made him very loopy and out of it. He could hardly make it outside to potty, and cried most of the night.

This morning around 5am I took him off of the CRI, which helped to calm him down. I don't think he was in pain all night, I just think he was very out of it and seeing pink elephants and scary monsters. About an hour after I took him off of the fluids he was already acting more normal and started to walk a lot better. He made it outside several times today to go potty and was able to walk by himself. Mid afternoon we removed his pain patch because it was making him vomit. It's been a few hours now and he's already looking better and more like himself. He's still pretty sleepy and out of it, but he's doing much, much better.

Right now I'm staying somewhere without my own computer... but I have a couple of pictures to share. When I get to my own computer I'll upload the pics I took on my camera.

Crappy phone pic - Sepp's pre-surgery x-ray.
Again, crapy cell pic. Sepp's post FHO rad. How an FHO should look!

Sepp's incision.

Sad, sleepy, Sepp.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Surgery Anxiety & our last protection day!

As the 19th steadily approaches I am starting to get a little pre-surgery anxiety.

Most of my friends know that I had a young cat [2years old] die unexpectedly under anesthesia. There was nothing done wrong, the people working that day were very competent. As we all know, death is a risk of surgery. Of course it happens so infrequently, especially in routine procedures that it's really shocking and dreadful when it does actually happen.

We do surgery on animals everyday, everyone wakes up, and everyone recovers without issue. We've operated on dogs with horrible things like cancer - they all wake up. Recently we've had two instances of dogs with hemangiosarcoma that survived their splenectomies and recovered to start chemotherapy. I know it's going to be okay.

But. Still freaks me out.

June 5th was Seppel's last protection training day at Pet Village . I'm so bummed that he/we will be taking time off, but I know once he's healed and ready we'll be back at it. This break is hopefully only temporary. I was lucky enough that my friend Kay came along and took some photos of Sepp's last training session before surgery.

Sepp was on it. He was really good about outing, he did everything we asked him to do - okay except for heeling. He is such a bad forger. It was hot out, we only worked for about 15-20mins but Ryan was really happy with him. It's amazing how much he's progressed and how much we have learned.

I've been researching the heck out of FHOs. I feel like I've seen all there is to see on youtube. I've been able to talk to a few different people who have all had good success with the FHO. Everyone seems to be happy with the results and their dogs are doing well, everyone maintains that physical therapy is key.

I did talk to one gal who was very anti-FHO. She had a dog who had an FHO and a dog who had a hip replacement. It became rather clear from searching through her forum posts that her dog had a lot of structural issues. It's a bummer that the FHO did not fix this dog's problems, but I still feel very confident that Seppel won't have those kinds of complications because he's structurally sound otherwise.

I wish more people would document the AFTER. Like people document a few weeks out and then fall off the face of the earth. I wish I could find more stories of dogs years out, long healed, to hear if the owners are happy and if their dogs are pain free. I've been lucky enough to come in contact with a few of these people who have reported their dogs  [even 8 years out!] are doing very well. But I'd of course, love to read more!

Ultimately, this is a good option for us. It's a surgery I can afford, for one, for another, we're not doing it because we have to - we're doing it to prevent future pain. I feel really good that Seppel will prevail and be able to heal and have a successful FHO.

However, nothing is certain so the variables totally freak me out.

Anyway, I just had to verbally spew a little of my anxiety. Here are pics from our last protection session. Big thanks to Kay for coming out and documenting that awesome day!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Swimming at Paws Aquatics

Today we went to Paws Aquatics Canine Swim Center.

Their facebook:
Paws Aquatics

They are located in Milwaukie about 25 miles or so away from my house which really isn't too bad of a drive, unless of course you go when there is traffic - oops!

Today Sepp had his "initial swim assessment" to see if he could swim. They made him wear a life jacket. At first I think the woman[Rachel] was playing it cautious - I'm sure people are super freaky about their dogs there. Sepp really wanted nothing to do with the pool and wanted mostly to be with me. I finally just had to tell her to just throw the ball, that I think he'll go for it if we're just like, boom, go get it.

So she just simply threw the ball and boom, he totally went for it! After that it was smooth sailing and he swam for a good 20mins or so, he learned to turn around towards the wall and instead of trying to climb out, to actually walk up the ramp [there's a ramp into the pool, and also a bench on another side.] to Rachel, give her the ball, and she would throw it. He was very tired after swimming today and got a really good workout!

I'm very excited to come back there with him for his very first post-op swim. I would like it to be in a controlled type setting the first few times so that he doesn't hurt himself, plus the water is heated so it'll be a good healing temperature. Rachel was super nice. I would definitely recommend this place to other people.

I wish had taken my camera, but totally forgot it - naturally. I'll leave you with a Seth moment caught by Kay :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Surgery Date Change & Swimming

Sepp's FHO surgery date has been changed to the 19th. There was a bit of a schedule change and it totally threw my brain off... the doctor who does these surgeries works every other Wednesday and the 12th is not his day!

SO - Sepp gets to keep the head of his femur for another week!

Tuesday we are going to Paws Aquatics at 3:45pm for our initial swim assessment.

I've actually had the chance, with the awesome weather we are having, to take Sepp swimming a few times and...


Thank goodness! That part of rehab will not be an issue.

I actually had an opportunity yesterday to talk to an owner with a dog who was about 6mos post bi-lateral FHO surgery. The dog is a smaller dog [20lb range?], but they did water treadmill 3-4 times and have otherwise done range of motion exercise with her. She still sashays a little as she walks... but overall looks totally normal to me. I wouldn't look at her and think she was lame, just that her gait is a little different. I feel that if we can do a lot of swimming and stick to the ROM exercises, as well as just overall physical therapy things [massage and icing] that Sepp should hopefully recover well.

I'll leave you with a few pics that my friend Kay took of Sepp swimming!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Femoral Head Ostectomy(FHO)

We went and saw Dr. Munjar at Veterinary Surgical Center of Portland yesterday.

For anyone in the Portland area I highly recommend Dr. Munjar. He's a super nice guy and both of my dogs have now had good experiences with him. I first met him maybe 2 years ago when he saw my dog LiLo. He's the one that got me to try adequan which has truly been a lifesaver for LiLo.

Anyway, he pretty much confirmed my feelings on the FHO - that it is reasonable to do it now while Seppel is in good shape rather than waiting until later. He said if we really stuck to the physical therapy and got him back into shape while he's recovering that he would probably do very well.

What is an FHO?
An FHO is the removal of the head and neck of the femur.

Pic belongs to:

This isn't something that I have thought about lightly. For the last two weeks or so I have been researching FHO's, looking at pictures and videos and reading forum posts about dogs who have had the surgery. The thing that really sucks is there aren't a lot of stories or videos of dogs that are 1-2 years out and 100% recovered, but from the videos I have seen, I feel like Seppel will recover nearly back to normal and without pain.

Here are some videos of dogs that have had the procedure done:
Rooter - Labrador - 30 weeks post

Shiba Inu - 4 weeks post

Hybrid - 11mos post
[Just found this one!]

Hybrid - 3mos post

If you actually take a moment to view the videos, the dog's gaits do change. This surgery makes one leg shorter than the other. If we follow physical therapy protocol properly and I can get him using the leg properly, he should have 80% range of motion, which is roughly the range of motion he has now with a sore hip.

What happens with this surgery is that since the leg is essentially "floating" there without the head/socket the leg needs to form a "false joint" with the surrounding muscle tissue which is what ends up supporting the leg.

A total hip replacement would be ideal, but I don't have $7k which is apparently the updated price of the surgery.

I got Seppel to just let him live out his days to repay his former owner. At this point, I don't care if he can compete, I just want him to be able to be crazy and active and be able to still chase the ball, participate in protection[recreationally], and run around pain free. I don't believe this surgery will stop him from doing anything. He is incredibly athletic and I feel like he will recover very well.

I did put in a call to a canine physical therapy veterinarian, but she hasn't called or e-mailed me back. That is a bit frustrating and also scary because I want this surgery to be successful.

I have sent in an e-mail to this place:
Paws Aquatics

They are a local dog pool, their rates are really reasonable and this way I can see if Seppel can actually swim in a controlled environment.

I plan to document Seppel's surgery in hopes that if it is successful other people will learn from it. Again, it's been really hard to find videos of dogs years out - to see how they look when fully recovered. My vet described the choosing of surgery as a gray zone, another vet we work with would simply manage her dogs on pain medication until it no longer worked, my vet would probably do the same thing.

Using pain medication would be an easy solution, but he's only 5 years old and will probably never really slow down. Not only do I not want to blow his liver and kidneys out, I also don't want to be questioning whether or not he is in pain when we do things. Sepp is pretty stoic and will do anything and everything I ask, even if he's feeling sore. If we do the surgery this should eliminate the hip pain and there shouldn't be a question of whether or not the pain meds are working. I just want him to be able to be crazy without being in pain and I think this is a really good way to go.