This week he visited an orthopaedic surgeon, who has diagnosed Quentin with a grade 2 luxating patella in both back legs. Basically, his kneecaps are dislocating themselves, which is causing him to raise one of his legs until the kneecap slips back into position when he extends his leg again. He ends up walking on three legs for anything from a few seconds to a couple of minutes, sometimes several times a day.
So, what this means is:
- Quentin will need two operations, about six weeks or so apart - one on each of his back legs. The surgeon will create a deeper groove in the bone which will hold the kneecap in position for him.
- He will - sadly - be withdrawn from the Guide Dogs training programme, mainly because of the time it will take for the operations and recovery, but also because he will be more prone to arthritis in his later years and guide dogs are required to walk mostly on hard surfaces.
- His parents will be withdrawn as breeding stock, because luxating patella is a hereditary condition.
- Guide Dogs will be paying for the operations and helping support his recovery within their training centre. I'm really impressed with and touched by their level of commitment to the welfare of a pup who won't ever be a guide dog.
- And - this part is the silver lining in the cloud - we have decided to keep him as a pet. I'm very happy about that part!
I'm really quite sad that he won't be a guide dog, because he is showing signs of being a fabulous guide! He knows exactly when the road is safe to cross - he often starts to make a move before I tell him to. He has safely guided me around parked cars, too. Having a mind of his own means he does sometimes try and make a decision based on where he wants to go (grassy areas are definitely desirable!) rather than where I want to go!
But my sadness at him not being a guide dog is balanced with the knowledge that I can continue to enjoy his company and watch him develop into a happy pet dog.
His first operation is on 5th March. He'll go in the day before, and Guide Dogs will pick him up afterwards so he can benefit from recuperating where (among other things) they'll walk him on an underwater treadmill to help rebuild his muscles and joints! I'm guessing he might have to wear one of these again for a while...
Fortunately, he didn't mind it at all last time, although he took chunks out of it from walking (and running) into walls with it on!
I'm linking up to Handmade Monday in its new home today. I apologise to all the Handmade Mondayers for the distinct lack of handmade in this post! I know there are some of you who have been waiting to hear about Quentin, so hopefully you will forgive me!