We are raising money to help pay for corrective surgery for our little girl. Kirby has had an abnormal gait in her back hips/legs for her entire life (she's 8 months old). When she walks she kind of looks like how a supermodel would walk (see video)
She's a Manitoba girl, and we were able to get her under 2 conditions: 1) We would give Kirby a loving home and wouldn't abandon her based on her condition (check), and 2) We would get her spayed (the plan is to spay her when she is a bit older).
At 8 weeks old, we drove 13 hours from Calgary to Winnipeg to meet our Kirby in person. We had to pry Kirby away from our family in Winnipeg, who had been caring for her until we could get there to pick her up. After a whirlwind weekend in Winnipeg, Kirby was bound for Calgary. We loved her immediatley. She has always been a happy outgoing dog, never showing any sign that she was in any discomfort from her funny little gait.
By the way, for those who have asked: we named Kirby after a cat in a rap song.
Months progressed, and we did everything we could be doing as proud puppy parents. Vaccines, puppy classes, potty training, getting insurance, and developing a relationship with a vet here in Calgary.
Kirby had a series of x-rays done when she was 5 weeks old because of her gait. Everyone feared the worst, that Kirby's hips weren't forming properly. The x-rays however showed that Kirby was growing as a puppy should and everything was structurally sound. Our vet in Calgary had discussed possible surgery early on, but couldn't make a diagnosis until another round of x-rays. We had a plan in place to get x-rays and spay Kirby at the same time to avoid having to go under anethesia multiple times, and the vet was on board with the decision based on the fact that Kirby wasn't showing signs of discomfort or pain.
Those plans went up in smoke in late January of 2018, when Kirby began to limp - favouring her back right leg. Our vet began to notice that Kirby's kneecap and ligament was moving around in the leg quite a bit. This was likely due to whatever was going on in the hips, causing issues with the way that she can stand and walk on the leg. Given that they were needed to try and get a diagnosis, Kirby then went in for x-rays, and again the hips looked like they were forming the way they should. Kirby was a mystery. She likely needed knee surgery, but we also needed to get a better picture of what was going on with the hips or more issues like her knee could occur. Our vet recommended a surgical consult because he couldn't make a diagnosis. We also started seeing a canine physiotherapist to try and work on stabalizing her knee as much as possible.
After a surgical consult with two animal surgeons it was determined that Kirby has an abnormally strong fibrous tissue connecting her hips together in the pelvic region. Neither our vet, the physiotherapist, or the surgeons have seen anything like this before. Essentially there is tissue - almost like a muscle - where there shouldn't be any tissue, and it's keeping Kirby's hips together, which explains the supermodel gait.
Finally some answers.
Our next step is surgery on March 16th to a) remove the soft tissue in the pelvic region by cutting out a section of it, and b) tighten Kirby's knee ligament so that stays in place. The surgeons can't give us a rate of success because again, they haven't seen anything like this. However, if the surgery goes well, within 3 weeks Kirby should have full range of motion in her hips and legs, and be able to attend puppy class once again, which Kirby loves. If we don't do the surgery, there would continue to be the chance that more issues, like the kneecap slipping, could develop and get worse. After her surgery we will have to keep Kirby active so that the abnormal tissue doesn't try to reattach itself as she continues to grow. She will continue with physio once the surgery is done, until we are confident that this abnormality in the pelvis has gone into remission.
We are very nervous because the surgeons can only make an educated guess right now. They still won't know what they’re dealing with exactly until they open up the pelvic region.
While we have taken out pet insurance for our dear little dog, unfortunately there is an exclulsion for her hips and this condition as it is pre-existing. While the surgery is expensive we feel that the possibility of a healthy, active, pain-free life is worth it. At this point unfortunately we do not have the full amount for the surgery. If you feel inclined we are accepting donations to help pay for the surgery and physiotherapy so that Kirby can enjoy a life with full range of motion in her hips. If you are not inclined or cannot donate, we of course understand, thank you for taking the time to read her story.
Anything we raise above what we're asking for will be donated to a local pet shelter, where we will ask that the funds be used for emergency surgery when it's required.
- Sarah Mehus
- Jason van Rassel & Lea Storry
- Zach Wiskar
- Tara Kowalchuk
- Jaimee Slifka
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