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Bear4, September 2001

Bear4Bear's story is one heard too often by those involved in rescue. He is an 8 year old male chocolate Labrador Retriever whose owners took him to the veterinarian's to be euthanized because Bear "barked too much." The veterinarian was reluctant to euthanize such a nice dog and persuaded his owners to turn the dog over to him. The veterinarian called a rescuer and asked if she would be willing to take Bear. She agreed and a full physical was performed to make sure that Bear was ready for adoption. The rescuer and the veterinarian quickly realized that Bear had a reason for his barking.

It was apparent that Bear had been hit by a car some months previously and had a dislocated right hip. He also had a pressure sore on his left elbow from lying constantly on his left side so that he could protect his right hip.

Because the dislocation was old and Bear's body had begun to re-model bones and muscles to deal with it, replacing the hip was not an option. The veterinarian recommended a surgery called a femoral head ostectomy, where the head or ball portion of the joint is removed and the muscles form a false joint. This surgery is very effective in well-muscled dogs who are kept lean. Unfortunately, Bear was already about 20 pounds over weight. Therefore, originally the rescuer and veterinarian had decided that, since Bear had already tolerated the hip for approximately 6 months, they might be able to wait a few months and reduce his weight before the surgery.

Bear's rescuer applied to LABMED when it became apparent that Bear was not going to be able to wait for his surgery; he was having too much pain. The veterinarian offered a discount and LABMED was pleased to be able to provide the money to allow Bear to get his pain relieving surgery.

Bear came through the surgery well. He came home from the hospital ready to start his physical therapy. In 10 days, or as soon as his stitches came out, he was able to start swimming, good physical therapy and Bear's favorite form of exercise.

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