Dogs have ACLs, too

No, not Access Control Lists, Anterior Cruciate Ligaments. I know this because:

  1. I am now $1,000 poorer than I was this time last week, and
  2. In a related note, Java tore an ACL last week sometime and required surgery to fix it.

First of all, I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Mike Bagley ("Dr. Mike") and the nice folks at Clayton Animal Hospital! They are the folks who ended up doing the surgery on Java. Here are just a few high points of our experience with them:

  • When I was calling vets in the area, Dr. Mike called me back personally within an hour of my call, and described what he would do in-depth, along with giving us the final price estimate.
  • They scheduled us for a consultation that same evening to get a painkiller patch, and scheduled the surgery for the following day!
  • Dr. Mike spent a lot of time with us, describing what he was going to do and all of the different steps he was going to take to make sure Java was comfortable throughout. He says he takes an "active" approach to pain management, because it promotes healing (and, he admitted, it makes him look better if the dog isn't in pain when she goes home!).
  • They even have a sign up near the front door welcoming new patients, so we saw a "Welcome, Java Horne!" as soon as we walked in. That was a small touch, but indicative of the great attitude and service we received throughout.

We got her back today, and she looks pathetic with her bandage and her limp!

Java and her gimpy leg

This all started when Java was limping somewhat last week. When it didn't quickly improve, we took her into the vet on Friday evening to get it checked out. They took a couple of x-rays and gave us the verdict (torn ACL in her right rear leg) along with a bottle of anti-inflammatories and a $1,500 quote for repairing her leg.

Note that that amount is more than $1000.

This brings me to an interesting topic: the Cary surcharge. For those of you who may not know, Cary is one of the more affluent suburbs of Raleigh. Goods and services in Cary are typically more expensive than similar goods and services in other suburbs, or even in Raleigh itself. Case in point: Java's surgery was quoted at $1,500 to $2,000 at vets in Cary, whereas it was done for a very reasonable $800 in Clayton, which is about a half-hour away. I felt like a $700 savings was worth a bit of a drive. $800 for the surgery plus $200 for the x-rays gives us a grand repair bill of $1000.

Anyway, Java is doing fantastically well, and I am just thrilled with how Dr. Mike and the other folks at Clayton Animal Hospital treated all of us throughout. We won't hesitate to go back there again!

I took some pictures of Java after she got back home today with her big, goofy bandage, and posted them in my photo gallery. We're so thrilled she's back!

Now we just have to figure out how to keep her calm for eight weeks.