So Otis has something called "acute cranial cruciate ligament rupture." It isn't all that uncommon in young, active, energetic breeds and seems especially prevalent in labrador retrievers. As I explain to you his prognosis, please enjoy some cute pics of Otis through the years.
Otis saw the surgeon today and we spoke with her at length this evening. The recommended surgical procedure for a dog like Otis is called TPLO - Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. If you are interested in reading about it, this is a good website: www.vetsurgerycentral.com/tplo.htm. Its a pretty invasive surgery, but ensures that Otis will never have this problem again in his rear left leg. Unfortunately, it is entirely possible that we could see something like this again in any of his other three legs.
More than likey, he'll get his bionic knee next Wednesday. He'll stay at the vet all day to recover, and then will come home on serious pain medication. They have indicated to us that he'll probably be up on his feet again within 24 hours after surgery, and should be walking around on all 4 legs without any limp within 7 days of surgery. He will still have an 8-10 week recovery time after surgery, though, which means no stairs, limited walks, and physical therapy.
Yes, I said physical therapy. Nate and I are hoping to do this on our own, rather than procuring a canine physical therapist! We certainly have experience with pediatric physical therapy...
If anyone has an old weight lifting belt, could you send it our way? Nate is going to have to assist (read: carry) Otis down and up the outside steps to do his thing until mid-March. He's going to look like old school Arnold in no time. Just in time to trade out dog-lifting for 3-son-lifting!