Carpal arthrodesis (fusion surgery). HELP!

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Carpal arthrodesis (fusion surgery). HELP!

This is a discussion on Carpal arthrodesis (fusion surgery). HELP! within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I posted a thread recently about my Newfie with carpal laxity. Carpal laxity usually occurs in large breed puppies and usually clears up with proper ...

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Old 03-14-2016, 06:14 PM
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Carpal arthrodesis (fusion surgery). HELP!

I posted a thread recently about my Newfie with carpal laxity. Carpal laxity usually occurs in large breed puppies and usually clears up with proper diet and exercise. I did everything the vet said, but my dogs' problem did not go away. We went back to the specialist today who said he would need a fusion to make him walk normally.

My problem is that my dog really doesn't seem to be bothered by his floppy wrist. He limps on the leg a bit, but other than that, he is fine. He wants to play and go on walks just like any other dog.

The surgery is extremely expensive (about 4000), and i just don't think his life would be that much better with the surgery. I had spinal fusion surgery as a kid, and I hve been plagued by pain in that area. i would hate to spend that much money and put him through a long recovery to give him more pain than he had before. I already know he would be very limited for up to 6 months after surgery, which would be tough for him and us, too. Bottom line: I love my dog and will do whatever it takes to make him healthy and happy.

Has anyone gone through with this surgery? How did your dog do?

They perform this surgery for injuries most commonly....I think.
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:26 PM
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My concern would be that with a dog as large as a Newfie, if any leg is defective, that adds significantly more strain onto the other legs, and may predispose him to other leg injuries and arthritis (earlier/more severe than typical). I wouldn't worry as much if he were an old dog nearing the end of his life, and less active, but I would be afraid that the wear and tear of puppyhood on 3 good legs in such a large dog probably will not bode well long term. Is he limping because of the mechanics of his deformity, or because he is painful? I would address all of your concerns with the specialist, see what their long term prognosis is both with and without surgery. Is either more likely to raise the risk of debilitating arthritis? If you are considering no surgery, perhaps also see if there are any specialists which also offer orthopedic rehab, and see what their opinion is on no surgery. Or seek a second opinion from another orthopedist if you are having doubts.

If the surgery has a good success rate for returning dogs to normal function, I would strongly consider it. Having had a tripod dog on NSAIDs long term due to wear and tear as she got old, I can attest that the medications, bloodwork, and occasional vet visits when the dog would acutely tweak something and be more gimpy than usual probably added up into the thousands of dollars, and that was for a medium dog, with discounted care as an employee. Your costs may be significantly more to manage similar conditions in a huge dog, so consider that when you are weighing the options.
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Old 03-15-2016, 12:12 AM
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Those are good points. He does not seem to be in pain. He still tries to use the leg or things like digging...it just goes floppy on him. I do range of motion exercises on that leg and it doesn't seem to bother him and he doesn't resist it.

The vet said he would want wait to do the surgery until he is completely done growing, so it would be 6 months to a year before the surgery would be done. He didn't tell me that his quality of life would be improved...it would just cure the limping problem. I didn't really ask the question flat out like that, though. He also mentioned how long and involved the aftercare, which is a factor.

I asked what he thought about using a brace, and he said it would be worth a shot. It will at least give him stability. If it works well, that may be a long term solution. We also plan on doing lots of swimming this summer for strengthening.

physical therapy may be a good idea...I especially think hydro therapy may be helpful.
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Old 04-06-2016, 04:51 AM
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I've heard that hydrotherapy is the best type of rehabilitation for dogs (as long as you don't have a problem getting your dog into the water!) My dog didn't have the same problem but she did tear her ACL last year and we were also presented with the dilemma between trying to treat her naturally or operating on her. Our vet was great and gave us all the options, and stressed that it was an injury that she could recover naturally from. She also told us that we could use a dog knee brace to help stabilize her leg while new tissue was being created.. We found our knee brace from an online store called Ortocanis, I checked out their website and they definitely sell wrist braces and hock wraps which could help your dog's floppy wrist! Just an idea to check out that isn't too expensive.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:12 AM
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Oh the newfie, once you get past the grooming and slobber, amazing dogs. Was born and bred on the Rock.

How's your dogs weight overall? I'd personally try to get him on the lean side if you are going to go for the surgery. Water and Newf's go hand in hand, swimming won't hurt. It's either a floppy wrist, or a fused wrist, how is one or the other going to affect the dog. It's only a disability if you make it one, dogs are resilient.

Last edited by jagger; 04-06-2016 at 09:15 AM.
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