Jet (by Steve_P)
This is the heartbreaking story of a beautiful black labrador puppy whose life was cut tragically short through Hip and Elbow Dysplasia; it shows the courage of his owners in making the brave decisions and is yet another stark reminder of how puppy buyers can do their bit to try and reduce problems in our beloved breed by only getting puppies from breeders who health test their breeding stock.
Jet the pet (as we called him) was a beautiful black Labrador who was born on 22 November 2006 and came to live with us on 12 January 2007. Being a Labrador, he was as mad as a box of frogs.
Sadly, as time went on, we noticed pronounced limping on both front legs even on short (10 - 15 minute) walks. He saw the vet on a few occasions and the lameness was put down to different things but eventually went for X-Rays on Friday 3 August 2007. The initial indication was that Jet had both hip dysplasia and damaged elbows.
We were offered two separate diagnosis from different vets but eventually came back the following week to see the senior partner of the practice. Jet's X-Rays were sent to a specialist unit at Bristol. We got to see both the report and X-Rays on Thursday 16th August. In the words of the vet "If we were to hip score Jet, he would probably get 52 and that's out of 53!!!!! The diagnosis was terrible.
Both hips were affected with little or none of the pelvic hip socket. Both elbows had cartilage and bone deterioration and all four limbs showed signs of arthritis. The hips could be operated on with a fairly good success rate but not the elbows. If we went through with the operation we would see a puppy crated for the best part of the following year with an arthritic dog with a short term life expectancy at the end of it. The vet would gladly recommend us to any number of orthopaedic specialists but could really see no long term future for our Jet. We were obviously heartbroken at this news but had to make a decision of where to go from here.
Knowing that swimming was a good exercise for dogs with some of these problems, we tried him in slow moving streams, and the sea (when it was calm) but unfortunately his legs would give way at the slightest current. Even a slight slope would cause problems. We faced quite a decision, do we keep a puppy from doing what a puppy does, operate on him, keep him caged for a year, end up with an arthritic two year old then probably have him put to sleep within a year or two with chronic arthritis and ligament damage or say goodbye sooner rather than later. If there was a future for Jet, the decision would be so much easier, the insurance would only pay out part of the money but for a healthy future we would have somehow raised the rest - one way or another.
So we made a very hard and painful decision to take Jet to the vet for the last time. On the 17 August 2007 at 12:10, we said our last goodbye to our friend Jet. Jet will be sadly missed, he really was one of a kind in many ways.