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Dog Dilemmas ...


Dilemma … massive, emotional, heartbreaking dilemma. Our adorable and collosal idiot of a chocolate Lab, Boo, has collapsing elbows.

It’s called ‘elbow dysplasia’ actually, like as in, ‘hip dysplasia’. Basically he was born with ill fitting elbows and bits of bone keep chipping off and getting in the way of a unruly run around the woods or a roll in any available festering fox shit. It’s not going to get better and arthritis is an inevitability. Literally, Booooooooooo.

We first got delivery of this news after being made wait to wait just over an hour past our appointment time, by a swarthy, tall vet who looked to me to be a bit stressed and not at all concerned that the dog, had by this time wee’d twice & had charmed the receptionist in to parting with 11 pigs ears. He told us what the other vet had told us, gave us 3 options but recommended none and then walked us out after 19 minutes and charged us £700. That was the last bit of vet stuff that the insurance would pay out.

Now, we’re all aware of the flaky elbows, he’s completely uninsurable OBVS. Certainly for absolutely nothing to do with either elbow, left or right. Even if the super vet gave him gold plated bionic legs at an eye watering £4000 plus PER elbow ( standard ) at least .. his joints will remain painful and inflamed for as long as we’ll know our sweet smelling (sometimes) big bear.

I know there are people out there that would sell the house and the kids if necessary to save the family pet and believe me, the hours of gritty patience I’ve spent on the phone to the insurance company trying to eek out the detail of every paragraph and how it might apply, doesn’t bear thinking about. There’s physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, a supportive bed, less agro form the cats, Reiki and massage. As luck wouldn’t have it, the most powerful tool at our disposal to make Boo more comfortable for longer … is diet. He’s a bit fat but the vet wants him catwalk skinny for it to make a difference.

For any Labrador loving owner you’ll know that’s a perverse cruelty and someone, somewhere, is clearly having a laugh.

Why ? Well, for starters, there’s the research that suggests that some Labradors are genetically hungrey .. I think I may have it too.. They are missing the bit in their brain that says ‘Fuck off ! I couldn’t eat another thing, not even a wafer thin Boneo’. Add that with not being able to run around for hours ( in a circle largely ), those big brown eyes, silky smooth ear tips, that unwavering eagerness to please you and you see our dilemma.

Bless him, really, bless him .. the one thing that will have any element of healing quality on his splinter ridden ginglymus is the same thing that he will find the most difficult to bear and we will find the most difficult to be master of.

This is what I’ve learnt …

  1. Pet insurance generally sucks. I have no qualms saying it out loud and it’s been said by many people, many times before. I can’t go in to it, it makes me too angry and sweary. But essentially if you can afford the good insurance, that works, you can probably afford to not insure the animal in the first place.

  2. Get an elbow score from the Labrador parents as well as a hip score. It’s a voluntary measure for breeders at the moment but elbow dysplasia is no less common than it’s hip relation and just as catastrophic. Boo came from a reputable breeder who was registered with all the right people and places .. we thought.

  3. You can only do what you can do and selling the kids for a ‘Go Gadget Go lateral epicondyle’ is probably a bad idea.

  4. I love dogs and our dog, Boo. I hope our house is never without a dog. It’s like having a warm, furry, excitable, walking, gratitude journal without all the wanky phrases about gratitude. He’s totally ace and we’ll make him feel as special as he is, fox shit or not, for as long as we have him.

London, UK

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