Mylo’s surgery to become a Tripawd is tomorrow morning. We’re so nervous for him and hope it will all go swimmingly.
Since this is the first post about Mylo and his journey as a Tripawd, here is his story.
Mylo is a Portuguese Water Dog who we (Mom- Megan and Dad- Jordan) got at just 8 weeks of age. He had a small limp but our vets let us know that this was normal because puppies do play rough! However, a week later he still had a limp and it was getting worse. He was now putting minimal weight on his right front leg, but his x-rays were clear so we were referred to an Orthopedic specialist. The Orthopedic specialist ran a bunch of tests on little Mylo, with no conclusive results. We were sent home with a tentative diagnoses of Panosteitis (severe growing pains), some pain medication and instructions to return if it didn’t get better.
It got worse.
Mylo began knuckling as his muscles contracted from disuse. The muscles in his shoulder suffered from severe atrophy and the pain increased. He began to lose his zest for life, becoming restless because of the pain and not wanting to play, go outside or do anything a normal puppy would do. Highly concerned we took him back to the orthopedic specialist who let us know that he no longer thought that this was something to do with his bones. Instead he thought it was neurological. The neurologist said he thought that the problem was originating in the Brachial Plexus nerve grouping his his right shoulder. He said that he had never seen such a strange case in all of his 40 years, but thought because of the progression from a mild limp to complete paw disuse indicated a lesion, hematoma or avulsion of the Brachial Plexus. They recommended an MRI, which would cost $3000, and left it at that.
We knew that a hematoma or avulsion would only occur if some sort of trauma had been experienced by Mylo- and since he hadn’t had any at our house we called the breeder. He knew of no definitive reason that Mylo would be limping, but mentioned that during feeding time puppies might get under foot and be tripped over or accidentally stepped on. If Mylo had been stepped on that could have caused enough trauma to create a forming hematoma on the Brachial Plexus or an avulsion. We felt frustrated that we didn’t know what had left him with a limp at such a young age. But then we realized that this was Mylo’s life and we had to do whatever we could to turn it around. After discussions, the breeder offered a refund for Mylo and we decided we would put that money straight into whatever treatment we decided to go with.
Armed with this information we approached our primary vet with the hard truth that we could not afford an MRI along with whatever treatment would follow. We had to make choices.
Could Mylo improve with physical therapy? The vet said no.
Would Mylo eventually gain back movement in his leg? The vet said no.
Then what was next? If this was a lesion, hematoma or avulsion- what could we do?
Amputiation. Full forequarter amputation.
Due to the fact that Mylo (who was now 12 weeks old) had not gained back any control of his leg, but it had in fact gotten worse our options were limited. We talked to many vets and received the same answer from every one. Mylo’s chances of recovering use of his leg were near zero. Even with an MRI we would more than likely be getting an amputation afterwards. So, making the only decision we saw as an option we chose to allow Mylo a new chance at life as a Tripawd.
Our decision felt like a sentence to less of a life for Mylo at first. We were worried that he wouldn’t be able to swim, run, play or ever be the puppy he was supposed to be. But then we found Tripawds.com and we saw the truth of what life as a three-legged dog would be. Wonderful.
With the support of this community we now feel prepared (not quite ready) for Mylo’s new life. We’ve stocked up on Tripawd friendly gear (raised bowls, new harness, etc.) and educated ourselves on what to expect with the surgery and recovery. Tomorrow is a new beginning for Mylo, one that we hope will make his life the one he has always deserved.
Keep us in your thoughts!! — Mylo, Megan & Jordan
P.S. An explanation about the name TriPaWD. Mylo is a Portuguese Water Dog (or PWD for short) so we thought this slight variation on Tripawd was more than fitting!!
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