Young Charlie ended up in the pound at around nine months old. As you can see from the picture he was in a poorly state. He was emaciated at less than 19 kg, covered in fleas and worms and had Kennel Cough with a chest infection - not strong enough to fight it alone.
We took Charlie in and nurtured him back to good health; he now weighs 25 kg.
In the photo left you can see that his back left leg doesn't stand correctly. When he walks, he takes a couple of steps and then hops. He repeats this continuously but it doesn't seem to stop him doing anything which normal puppies do. Despite everything he has been through, he is the most friendly, affectionate little dog and so willing to please.
We have had Charlie's legs investigated and now with an orthopaedic vet. We did think the problem was in his knee but it is actually his hips. What happens is, the femoral head (top of the leg) actually pops out of the hip socket as he walks along. When he hops the leg goes back into place. He needs surgery to correct this.
We would desperately like Charlie to have this surgery so that he can have a good life after such a poor start.
Unfortunately this will cost between £2000 and £5000 per hip, depending on which surgery he has.
Please help us to do this for Charlie.
Update November 2015:
It is almost 6 months since Charlie's surgery and he has been to see a consultant for his final post op check and assessment for surgery on his other hip.
Following thorough examinations, the consultant was extremely pleased with Charlie's mobility and range of movement. He is pain free and the surgeon's clinical advice is for Charlie not to have further surgery at this point in time. Although we knew Charlie has been doing extremely well, we were not expecting to hear such good news. This means that Charlie can now find his forever home. Charlie's fund will remain intact for future surgery; as he is intolerant of NSAID's (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) this makes surgery more likely.
Over the months Charlie has been with us he has been continually assessed with regard for his re-homing. If you are interested in giving Charlie a home please read carefully his needs below.
Charlie is the most loving young dog with a super temperament, his needs for a home are:
Update September 2015: Charlie continues to do well. We now have to start talking to surgeons again, to assess Charlie's right hip and get costings. We were very fortunate and grateful to our last surgeon who gave us a fantastic discount for Charlie's surgery even with all the complications. Unfortunately this lovely man is no longer in this country. He did Charlie's surgery especially for us and saw it through before he left. Now we have to start over again!
Update August 2015: Charlie had his first hydrotherapy session today! Our vet was totally correct; the muscles on his left side (the hip replacement side) are 3 cm bigger than those on his right side!
Update August 2015: Charlie has had a check up with our vet today and his vaccinations. The leg muscles are coming along very well on his replaced hip side (left). We will be starting hydrotherapy next week. Charlie is feeling great in himself and wants to do more than we can allow him to do. The hydrotherapy will hopefully speed things up a bit!
Update July 2015: Charlie has had his last post op check and Xrays. The surgeon is very pleased with Charlie's movement and recovery. We can now begin to build up his muscles!
The instructions from the surgeon are to gradually increase Charlie's exercise over the next three months - the first two months on lead ! Then he needs final Xrays in 6 months time.
Update June 2015:
Charlie has been back to hospital for his 4 week post op check/exam and Xrays. All went well and his Xrays look good. Due to his young age, the special "ball" in his hip is porous instead of cemented. This means that his own bone will grow and fuse with the prosthetic ball making it very strong. We could see that this is already happening in his Xrays! Right now he still has another 4 weeks to go of limited exercise and movement until the hip is stable. We are arranging for Charlie to begin physiotherapy in four weeks time to start building his leg muscles.
Update June 2015:
Charlie has had his stitches out and his wound is looking good (so far so good!). We have had a break through after 10 days and Charlie has put his foot to the floor! He is very lame but is using the leg. He is still on restricted exercise/movement, indoors and outdoors until 8 weeks post operation so needs 24/7 supervision. After which time he can begin physio and muscle building.
Until then he is at risk of breaking the leg and/or dislocating the hip. We are doing our very best to take very good care of Charlie, there are still so many things which can go wrong - it's scary!
Charlie has learnt to put his bonnet/buster collar on (he can't do it up though) with the cue "head in", he thinks it's a neat trick! Hopefully we can soon dispense with that although as ever, he is uncomplaining about wearing it. He is still on a cocktail of drugs round the clock which we are gradually reducing.
Update May 2015:
Charlie has had his surgery to his left hip; a total hip replacement. His orthotic's were FedEx'd over from America and Charlie was called straight in for surgery. Since then our feet haven't touched the ground as Charlie has needed 24/7 care. It was a very long operation as there were major complications (3). His mobility wasn't good when he left the hospital and Charlie requires the use of a sling and body harness to help him along, plus two people! He is only allowed outside to toilet a few times a day for the next 10 days and needs assistance with mobility to do this. Despite all this Charlie remains cheerful and is loving the cuddles and his new memory foam mattress. So far he is being a very good patient!
Update - May 2015
Good News, Charlie has had all his pre-op exams and spent two days in hospital and all went well. He will soon be having surgery on his left hip which currently gives him a lot of pain.
Update May 2015 : A quick stop on our morning walk ......
Charlie was poorly last week and is being treated for a stomach ulcer which it is thought to have been brought on by his pain relief medications. He has been back to the hospital but wasn't well enough to have the general anaesthetic for his tests. The tests are now being re-scheduled. As you can see from the photo, Charlie is now feeling well again !
Photo left: Charlie (left) and friend stop off on their morning walk.
Update - April 2015
We saw the head surgeon today for examinations. He was surprised at how lame Charlie walks, even though he has improved massively. He took lots of time to explain the options for Charlie and the risks and benefits involved as well as a thorough examination. Charlie will have the worst hip done first.
One of the big risks of total hip replacement is that of infection into the bone. The hospital do everything in their power to eliminate this risk by doing only one operation in the theatre on the day and not operating on a dog that has any kind of infection, a skin infection for example, or a dog which has been on antibiotics in the last 1-2 months.
Because Charlie needed antibiotics 3 weeks ago for a problem with his tail, his surgery has had to be delayed. He will go back to the hospital in a couple of weeks time and stay for 2 days when he will have all his tests and measurements for his new hip whilst under general anaesthetic.
Charlie's surgery is elective surgery (as opposed to life saving because of an accident) and allows the surgeon to plan and measure for Charlie's prosthetic's precisely. If he needs a custom made joint, we can do that.
We also discussed Charlie's post op care and were told we must "wrap him in cotton wool " for 6-8 weeks. Although Charlie will feel a lot better before then, we need to be very careful not to allow him to run or jump around. The prosthetic in Charlie's leg will eventually fuse to the bone and become very strong but this will take about 8 weeks. During that time the bone can easily be broken as the prosthetic will be stronger than the bone. There is also the possibility that Charlie could dislocate the hip! It will be a long 6-8 weeks for all of us and of course we will take great care over his recovery.
This evening Charlie is very tired and it has been a long day for us all. I have no doubt that he will be bounding about again in the morning! The delay has given us time to use the extra information from today to do more training with Charlie before his operation - not bounding through the door for example!
Update - April 2015
At last Charlie has his pre-op appointment so we are off next week to see the surgeon. Hopefully we will then know a lot more about what will happen next for Charlie.
Meanwhile Charlie is quite chilled and comfortable. We have been teaching him some quiet 'mind games' for when he has to rest post operation.
Photo Left: Charlie (right) makes himself comfortable for a snooze on the sofa with his friend who is a very calm role model for him.
Update - March 2015
Charlie is waiting for his hospital appointment and pre-op examinations for the first of his operations. Of course Charlie doesn't know he will be having surgery! Meanwhile we have shared some photos of Charlie.
We are very grateful to our friends at Natural Instinct for taking up Charlie's Appeal and working tirelessly to make Charlie's surgery possible. They have very caring and compassionate customers indeed.