Arthrodesis surgery in a dog after an injury

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    Hi! My mother directed me to the site as she is a client of Dr. Feinman.
    I have a beloved 7 year old German Shepard who was in an unfortunate accident. He got caught in a wheel of a truck tire. He was very lucky and did not break anything and still is mostly intact. His left front paw/ankle was hyperextended however. He was in a splint for a few weeks and now has been out of it for about 1 month. We took him to the orthopedic surgeon and it is being recommended that he have Arthrodesis surgery on his carpal joint. We have been taking the last 3 weeks to decide and observe how he heals on his own. Besides for the surgery being expensive (not the biggest concern) it is also intense…with the joint being fused with hardware and 3-4 month recovery time. My question is… is this the only option? With surgery will he be free of pain and be able to run like he used to? Will he not have swelling or walk with a limp?
    I greatly appreciate any feedback from the community and/or the Doc! It would be great to hear from a dog owner who has experience with this same surgery.
    Thank you kindly!!
    I have been giving him supplements…GlycoFlex3, Dog Gone Pain,Joint Rescue w/ Sea cucumber and doing herbal compresses of Arnica, turmeric, Comfrey. Of course all is helping but I know these things won’t heal him completely.

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    Good morning-

    I’m so sorry to hear about your pup’s accident. Thank goodness that he is OK though.

    Great question about treatment options. You’re absolutely right. We are often only offered one option which is not necessarily the one with which we feel most comfortable or the one that will provide the best quality of life (for any of us of any species!).

    Unfortunately in this situation I can’t render a specific opinion as I don’t have enough data. How was he functioning in the splint? Has he been making slow progress (if any)?

    As you probably know, arthrodesis is permanent and may predispose him to problems down the line. Have you discussed this with the surgeon? Did he offer a prognosis for return to full function?

    Lastly, how is he in every other way? Other chronic issues (even if low grade like recurrent ear or skin problems)?

    Dr. Jeff

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