Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Star’s surgery

If you don’t keep up with me on FB, you may not know about Star’s surgery. He was diagnosed with bilateral elbow dysplasia about a month ago. We consulted an orthopedic specialist about arthroscopic surgery. That’s the only way to get an accurate picture of the damage – by scoping and, while in there, doing what they can to mitigate the damage. We were expecting the worst. You can imagine our relief by the reality, which was revealed in yesterday’s arthro surgery. In his right elbow, he has an abnormal coronoid in situ – it’s not fragmented, nor can it really be cleaned up. It may or may not be trouble later. His cartilage was beautifully white (I got to watch the scoping from the doorway to surgery as the video feed was displayed on a monitor). Not ten minutes later I was called back in to see the left elbow. There it was, the fragmented coronoid (about 1mm in size). The surgeon cleaned it out, patched him up, and he was in recovery within the hour. I sat with him for about an hour. Took him home. Marty helped him out of the crate. So relieved. Yes, the healing process will be slow, and it’ll be hard to keep him quiet, but he’s young and should heal nicely. Loves our boy!

Star and his surgery

This Thursday, I take Star to the orthopedic vet specialist for arthroscopic surgery. X-rays don’t tell the whole story. We won’t know the extent of damage until they get a scope in and look around. If it’s fragmented coronoid process (the “rock in the shoe”), then they’ll clean up what they can. We’re looking at 2-1/2 to 3 months of very limited activity.

If it’s worse – medial compartment disease (bone on bone, with cartilage worn away), then they’ll perform the SHO. SHO is Sliding Humeral Osteotomy, which involves cutting the humerus, inserting a large metal plate, and shifting the load “from the diseased medial compartment to the healthy lateral compartment.” You can see more at

It’ll take up to 4 months for him to recover from an SHO – four months of extremely limited walking on leash only. No obedience class, no playing with Lacey, no unsupervised trips to the backyard to pee and poop. And that’s just on one elbow. If both elbows need the surgery, then we take him back and do it all over again with the other elbow. Just to be sure, the vet’s going to scope his left shoulder while Star’s out – to rule out damage if none is there, or to assess damage and determine treatment.

Sure, it’s not the best time to undergo surgery. We’re going camping with the dogs several times during recovery. We’re taking a vacation to Seattle over the 4th of July. But we’d rather do it now than wait til winter and risk more damage.

I’ll keep you posted.

Article on James Mejia is published!

It’s in the March 2010 issue of the Arizona State University Alumni Magazine.