ESRA Special Needs Springer
Lucky's journey with ESRA began in November of 2016 when he was turned over to our organization from an animal shelter in Springdale, Ark. With foster homes being very limited in the area, he was soon transported to Mississippi, where he received initial veterinary care and was fostered for a couple of months.
Lucky is a young dog originally estimated to be 5 years of age, although his caregivers believe that he may actually be a couple of years younger. While his age may only be an estimate, what we do know about this sweet boy is that he has suffered a serious injury to his left front leg which has rendered him in need of a surgical repair. While he does not show outward signs of pain, he has apparently grown accustomed to living with his condition and limps as a result. He also has a severely decreased range of motion in his left elbow joint.
Upon examination and reviewing his X-rays, Lucky was initially thought to be suffering from arthritis. Because of his orthopedic condition, we tried to get him qualified for an elbow arthritis research study at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge. Anticipating his participation in the study, Lucky was moved to his current foster home in Louisiana.
Unfortunately, the specialist conducting the clinical trial at LSU evaluated Lucky and determined that it was not typical arthritis that plagued our boy but an older injury that had healed uncorrected. His clinical diagnosis is reported as chronic left elbow subluxation (dislocation) with severe ankylosing ostearthrosis. New bone formation and mineral fragments have grown on/around the severely damaged joint. As a result, Lucky did not qualify for inclusion in the study. The next step was to seek a surgical consultation to address repair or removal of the damaged joint.
From that point on, his caregivers conducted much research and sought out specialists who might be able to address Lucky's lameness. Surgeons from Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and Texas discussed Lucky's condition with both of his foster parents. The general consensus was that Lucky had three options: amputation of the affected limb, elbow arthrodesis (fusion) of the joint which would affectively render the leg rigid, or elbow replacement.
In further researching the replacement option, we learned that this type of procedure presented a few negative points:
- It is normally conducted on dogs that are much older, as the longevity of the new joint would not typically last for the normal lifespan of a younger dog.
- The replacement should only be done on a joint that is not malformed or dislocated.
- The dog must be of adequate size for a replacement.
- Replacement is a rare procedure done by only a few specialists.
- The cost would most likely be in the $6000-$8000 range.
Determined to find the right solution for Lucky, his foster dad continued to search for other alternatives. His perseverance paid off and a surgeon was located in neighboring Texas who had previous success with a very rare procedure of complete elbow reconstruction vs. replacement, or at least as a precursor to it. Dr. Caleb Hudson of Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston confirmed that Lucky was a poor candidate for a replacement because of the luxation in the joint. However, on the positive side, he determined that Lucky's elbow bones were still normal enough to fit back together in a reconstruction surgery. The process would involve Lucky wearing a spica splint for approximately a month or more until the structures of the elbow healed. (A spica splint goes around the chest, shoulder joint and leg, resulting in immobilization of elbow and the joints above and below.) Dr. Hudson also reported that, in many cases, the patients do well enough after the procedure that a replacement may not be needed at all or may be put off for many years.
We are currently awaiting Dr. Hudson's formal acceptance of Lucky's case, availability to do the procedure and cost estimate. In the meantime, Lucky is taking anti-inflammatory medications and is enjoying life with his foster dad and the many other dogs in his foster home. He is a happy-go-lucky fellow who is very confident and friendly. He has a great personality and enjoys being the pack leader.
It is our mission to assist Lucky so that he can enjoy the life he deserves – a life with minimal to no pain – and find the very special Forever Home that he deserves.
|LUCKY'S GENEROUS SPONSORS:|
|Edward Warmoth||In memory of Heidi, the love of my life - my tri-pod Springer|
|Alice Cooper||In memory of Jake, Max, Maggie & Josie|
|Glay Wiegand||In memory of Sport|
|Diana Hilton||In memory of our sweet Pepper. Our time together was too short and in honor of Lucky who needs our help.|
|Gary & Linda Plate||In honor of ESRA's management who have graciously agreed to assist sweet Lucky.|
|Victoria Nielsen||In memory of my sweet 3 springer babies, Arco, Patrick & Jenny|
|Ellen Munson||In honor of Sophie's 2nd birthday|
|Rene Pizzo||In honor of amazing and talented veterinary specialists|
|Joseph Nasuta||In memory of Woozer|
|Cathy & Gus Scheffer|