21 January 2010

A Dog's Life

I cannot really explain the intensity of feeling that grips me as I write this.  Suffice it to say that tears have been shed because events I hoped lay many years in the future now potentially lie only a matter of weeks away.

Those who have followed Max's story in this blog will be aware of the difficulties he has experienced with his knees, having had major surgery to compensate for the loss of both cruciate ligaments.  Those difficulties were visited on us again in November last year when Max started limping once more on his left leg, the first he had repaired.  We returned him to the vet who had operated on him, and he agreed with us that there may have been a problem with the metal plate that had been inserted, or the degree of arthritis known to be in the joint had worsened.  Since his bones were fully repaired and the plate redundant, it was felt that the best course of action would be to take the plate out and see what happened.  The procedure was simple, and recovery straightforward.

After ten days, the stitches were removed and normal exercise resumed, perhaps a little too quickly because Max started limping again.  We slowed him down for a while, and got him a course of anti-inflammatories from the vet.  We were pleased to see he improved and got back to his normal, active self.  X-rays showed no change, so we were confident that the plate had been the problem and his post-op lameness the result of soft tissues taking time to heal.

Then came the snow which, in our area, was quickly compacted to sheet ice.  Max began sliding about and limping again.  Even worse, he began holding up his leg when standing.  We suspected more ligament damage that was not getting chance to heal because of the icy conditions.  Back to the vet we went, and more anti-inflammatories were prescribed.  Ten days later he was, if anything, worse and so yesterday we went once more to the local vet for x-rays.

The news was not good.  The x-rays showed poor bone density in his tibia, the type of condition seen in either bone cancer or osteomyelitis, neither of which has a good prognosis.  The x-rays have been sent to the other vet for comparison and clarification of the diagnosis.  If cancer is confirmed, we can expect Max to have only a few weeks to live, due to the aggressive nature of the disease.  If the other condition, there is little that can be done to restore the strength of the bone, which grows more and more likely to fracture irreparably; however long that may be held at bay, his days of charging about are over.

We expect to hear more on Friday.

He, of course, understands none of this.  We however, face losing our wonderful friend, a dearly-loved family member.  Oh, how painful that thought is.  Oh, how we shall miss him...


  1. Just popping in to let you know that you guys are in my prayers and thoughts and stuff.
    Love you guys,


  2. I took Ruby for a walk and just prayed and cried for you. I prayed for a miracle cure. I hope God will do it. I told Him how much you love Max - not that He doesn't know already - and that you will be broken hearted. I asked Him to intervene because He loves you and you love Max.