Lucky – Baton Rouge, LA

ESRA Special Needs Springer

ESRA #2016-551-AR
Age: 5
Gender: Male
Color: Liver and white

Lucky's journey with ESRA began in November of 2016 when he was turned over to our organization from an animal shelter in Springdale, Ark. With foster homes being very limited in the area, he was soon transported to Mississippi, where he received initial veterinary care and was fostered for a couple of months.

Lucky Lucky is a young dog originally estimated to be 5 years of age, although his caregivers believe that he may actually be a couple of years younger. While his age may only be an estimate, what we do know about this sweet boy is that he has suffered a serious injury to his left front leg which has rendered him in need of a surgical repair. While he does not show outward signs of pain, he has apparently grown accustomed to living with his condition and limps as a result. He also has a severely decreased range of motion in his left elbow joint.

Upon examination and reviewing his X-rays, Lucky was initially thought to be suffering from arthritis. Because of his orthopedic condition, we tried to get him qualified for an elbow arthritis research study at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge. Anticipating his participation in the study, Lucky was moved to his current foster home in Louisiana.

Unfortunately, the specialist conducting the clinical trial at LSU evaluated Lucky and determined that it was not typical arthritis that plagued our boy but an older injury that had healed uncorrected. His clinical diagnosis is reported as chronic left elbow subluxation (dislocation) with severe ankylosing ostearthrosis. New bone formation and mineral fragments have grown on/around the severely damaged joint. As a result, Lucky did not qualify for inclusion in the study. The next step was to seek a surgical consultation to address repair or removal of the damaged joint. Lucky

From that point on, his caregivers conducted much research and sought out specialists who might be able to address Lucky's lameness. Surgeons from Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and Texas discussed Lucky's condition with both of his foster parents. The general consensus was that Lucky had three options: amputation of the affected limb, elbow arthrodesis (fusion) of the joint which would affectively render the leg rigid, or elbow replacement.

In further researching the replacement option, we learned that this type of procedure presented a few negative points:

  1. It is normally conducted on dogs that are much older, as the longevity of the new joint would not typically last for the normal lifespan of a younger dog.
  2. The replacement should only be done on a joint that is not malformed or dislocated.
  3. The dog must be of adequate size for a replacement.
  4. Replacement is a rare procedure done by only a few specialists.
  5. The cost would most likely be in the $6000-$8000 range.

Lucky Determined to find the right solution for Lucky, his foster dad continued to search for other alternatives. His perseverance paid off and a surgeon was located in neighboring Texas who had previous success with a very rare procedure of complete elbow reconstruction vs. replacement, or at least as a precursor to it. Dr. Caleb Hudson of Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston confirmed that Lucky was a poor candidate for a replacement because of the luxation in the joint. However, on the positive side, he determined that Lucky's elbow bones were still normal enough to fit back together in a reconstruction surgery. The process would involve Lucky wearing a spica splint for approximately a month or more until the structures of the elbow healed. (A spica splint goes around the chest, shoulder joint and leg, resulting in immobilization of elbow and the joints above and below.) Dr. Hudson also reported that, in many cases, the patients do well enough after the procedure that a replacement may not be needed at all or may be put off for many years.

We are currently awaiting Dr. Hudson's formal acceptance of Lucky's case, availability to do the procedure and cost estimate. In the meantime, Lucky is taking anti-inflammatory medications and is enjoying life with his foster dad and the many other dogs in his foster home. He is a happy-go-lucky fellow who is very confident and friendly. He has a great personality and enjoys being the pack leader.

It is our mission to assist Lucky so that he can enjoy the life he deserves – a life with minimal to no pain – and find the very special Forever Home that he deserves.

UPDATE 5/21/2017: Lucky Lucky's surgery has been completed and he is on the road to recovery and a much more comfortable life. On May 15, our boy traveled with his foster dad from Baton Rouge, LA to Houston, TX, where he underwent the surgical reconstruction of his left front elbow the following day. His surgery was a lengthy one, but Dr. Hudson, his extremely skilled surgeon, was very optimistic of its outcome.

Dr. Hudson completed a debridement of the elbow joint, successfully salvaged some ligaments, reshaped the ends to fit properly and placed a pin in the joint to stabilize it. The pin is to be removed in 3-4 weeks. Lucky stayed at the surgical center in Houston until his release on Thursday, in order to properly address pain management, keep an eye on the surgical site, and change wound dressings. His specialized cast covers about one quarter of his body. Lucky

Lucky went back to the surgical center on Friday to have his bandages changed and to receive clearance for the trip home. The casted bandages must be changed regularly, but that can be done by his regular veterinarians in Baton Rouge. Over the next several weeks and as the healing process continues, the ligaments and muscles should tighten and strengthen, allowing the joint structure to remain intact. The pin is in place to maintain the joint continuity during that initial healing, and Lucky will need to remain pretty inactive for a couple of months to facilitate proper healing.

Lucky has been a model patient. He is a well-behaved dog who is receiving great care from his foster dad, so we are hoping that his recovery will run a smooth course. While his foster dad visited with him at the surgical center, he treated Lucky to a biscuit. He was so mellow from his pain medication that he took the biscuit in his mouth and just held it there. He wagged his tail a couple of times, but otherwise didn't move. What a great dog he is!

Many thanks to all of Lucky's supporters. We are grateful for the opportunity that your generosity has allowed us to provide to Lucky.

Update 6/9/17: Three weeks into the recovery process, Lucky is doing very well and has adjusted to the Spica cast which keeps his leg straight and joint immobilized. The bandages inside of the composite fiberglass cast are changed weekly at his local veterinary clinic. Lucky

Lucky was in obvious pain for the first several days after his surgery, despite an oral Rx pain medication. He has come a long way in his recovery, however, and does not appear to have any discomfort at all now. His foster dad suspects that as the soft tissue has healed, the pain has declined. Lucky sleeps next to him in the bedroom at night and has recently started jumping on the bed without any assistance. The hard part is getting him OFF! Lucky

Lucky's spirits are high. He remains the same the happy, good-natured boy he has been since he came into ESRA's care. He needs to be monitored closely or his foster dad warns that he'd be outdoors with the rest of the pack chasing squirrels and carrying on a conversation with the dog at a neighboring property. He has become quite the three-legged trotter and doesn't seem to be troubled at all with the cumbersome splint that keeps his leg so immobile.

On June 19th, Lucky will take a road trip back to Houston, where his orthopedic surgeon will remove the pins from the surgical site. If all goes well, Lucky will be able to travel home that same day. We are sure that Lucky will be very willing to try out his newly reconstructed joint, but he will have to do that slowly and with great care.

Please keep this special boy in your thoughts and prayers as he prepares for this next stage in his recovery. Many thanks for your continued support of Lucky. He has come so far as a result of your kindness.

Lucky Update 6/27/17: Lucky had the pin removed from his elbow last Monday (6/19) in Houston and appears to be doing well. He is also out of the restrictive Spica cast. Lucky's surgeon said the joint looked good and was still intact when he X-rayed it both prior to and after the pin removal. He seems pleased with this stage of Lucky's recovery, but would like an update in another month or so and may want to see him again depending on his condition at that time. Lucky

Dr. Hudson was able to salvage the tendons and had to shorten the muscles, so the joint is incredibly tight. Lucky doesn't have normal movement yet, so his foster dad must put him through physical therapy daily to manipulate the elbow joint and leg to help promote continued healing and stimulate increased flexibility of the muscles and tendons. Unfortunately, Lucky is not a big fan of his daily workout(s) and tolerates them at best.

Lucky doesn't seem to be testing the leg, but that may be more out of habit and due to the lack of flexibility. Ironically, he shows absolutely no signs of pain. With continued therapy and time, we anticipate that Lucky will begin using the leg more frequently and bearing more weight on it.

We continue to express our gratitude to each of Lucky's supporters and fan-base! He has developed quite a following, and we are pleased to continue sharing such positive progress reports with each of you.

UPDATE 7/31/17: If a picture paints a thousand words, then a video can tell a whole lot more! We are happy to share these videos with you of Lucky today. As you can see, his recovery is progressing nicely. In fact, Dr. Hudson (his surgeon) believes that he is doing very well at this stage of recovery post op. While Lucky is still tentative using the reconstructed leg, his foster dad thinks this is not because of pain, but rather out of habit from not using the leg for quite some time. Dr. Hudson also shares that Lucky may always have a limp, but the reconstruction was performed to provide him with a much better quality of life. We think that is certainly something to celebrate!



Katherine Kinsel  
Eileen & Ed Parker In memory of Mike Flynn
Denise Jenkins In memory of our loving Mason, aka Macy
Debbie Lee In honor of Paisley & Jasper
Jill Parnham In memory of Hunter (BooBoo)
Gail Breckle In honor ofuUnity in helping these dogs
Lynn Butler In honor of Lucy and Casey who are rooting for you Licky!
Christine Zajac In memory of Tucker
Wayne & Mary Gilbert In memory of Fab 4: Remy, Mac, Jessica & Pesto
Leslie Paulsen In honor of Elizabeth LeDuc
Katherine Kinsel  
Catherine Sandy In memory of Herb Sandy
Jane Chiavelli In memory of Knighton, Hopie & Jack and in honor of Sophia and Manning
Tim Brinson In memory of Grant - Texas Star Springer
Barbara Bracken In memory of Gus
Cary Branthwaite  
Marlene Wallahan In memory of Mandii Sue and Molly
Suzanne Knight  
Deborah J Bolino In honor of Alvin, Kobe and Tina
Nicole Ward  
Carol Babcox  
Julie Noyes  
Shirl Benton Graf In memory of Abby and Lucky
Bart & Lee Ann Glenn In memory of Buddy and Emma
Jacque Losi In honor of all Special Needs pups
Bridget Brooks In memory of Kendall and Berkley - here too short of a time.
Dessie Botham In memory of Harry & Frasier Oraying
Ellie Anschuetz  
Anita Howard In memory of my Dad
Alyssa Dermott  
Judith Schneider  
Maria Morrell  
Amy Smith In honor of Penny.
Roberta Wallingford In memory of Lily
Nita Watson  
Mary Guttieri  
Edward Warmoth In memory of Heidi, the love of my life - my tri-pod Springer
Alice Cooper In memory of Jake, Max, Maggie & Josie
Glay Wiegand In memory of Sport
Diana Hilton In memory of our sweet Pepper. Our time together was too short and in honor of Lucky who needs our help.
Gary & Linda Plate In honor of ESRA's management who have graciously agreed to assist sweet Lucky.
Victoria Nielsen In memory of my sweet 3 springer babies, Arco, Patrick & Jenny
Ellen Munson In honor of Sophie's 2nd birthday
Rene Pizzo In honor of amazing and talented veterinary specialists
Diane Nagel  
Joseph Nasuta In memory of Woozer
Monica Smith
Cathy & Gus Scheffer