Wrigley's appointment was up in the far north suburbs, and by the time we packed up the dog, baby and all of the necessary items ... we were running late. Thankfully after a brief traffic jam, the roads opened up and we were only about 10 minutes past our appointment time.
Wrigley met with a very nice surgeon who confirmed what the vet suggested. Wrigley has hip dysplasia in both hips and the best course of treatment is total hip replacement, in each hip. If we choose not to do the surgery, she will continue to deteriorate until the point where she is in severe pain, has muscular loss and will have extreme difficulty getting around.
The surgery is done one hip at a time, and recovery time is "about 3 months". Thats 6 weeks of no activity, including stairs, followed by another 6 weeks of rehabilitation. And thats for one hip. About three months later she would need the 2nd one done and we would go through the whole procedure again.
Although the diagnosis is not a good one, it wasnt unexpected. Overall I think we feel better than we did before, because the doctor seemed very confident and explained things very clearly. So it was a positive experience for us. For Wrigley though, the case is different. At her vet, they give her treats all the time. They poke her with a needle, they give her a treat. They check her lungs, they give her a treat. She lets them do whatever they want to her because she knows food follows. But this vet didnt give her any treats! He grabbed her legs and pushed down on her spine, then said "good girl" and Wrigley got super excited. He gave her nothing. She jumped up and looked around on the counter (I guess she decided to get her own treat since he must have forgotten) but didnt find anything. Poor Wrigley!
About Hip Dysplasia
I didnt really understand this too much, but the surgeon today explained it better. Basically, the femur (thigh bone) becomes dislocated from the hip joint. This leads to inflamed joints, damaged cartilage, and calcium deposits. In addition to the pain from the dysplasia, arthritis usually develops (which we were told has happened to Wrigley).
Below is a pic of an x-ray (not Wrigleys) that shows what it looks like. If you look closely, both balls are out of the socket, with the one on the right being the worse of the two. This pic and more detailed info can be found at The Paw Blog.