Lynn and James took Abner in for a follow up visit with Dr. Olson this morning. It wasn't the best of news. He has developed gangrene in the injured leg, which needs to be amputated at about mid-femur. Given the circulatory system compromise and lack of intact fascia that isn't entirely unexpected. Dr. Olson did a masterful job of the initial wound repair, but I think we all knew that having it heal completely would be a very long shot. Lynn, James, Dr. Olson and some other volunteers did everything possible to care for him, but keeping the leg just isn't in the hand he's been dealt.
This morning his hematocrit was 19% (pretty anemic) and his blood protein level 4.5%, up from 4% on Thursday. He still has a long way to go, but he does seem to have improved over the weekend. Dr. Olson also reports "So far, just a small amount of cutaneous tissue is about to slough. The line of demarcation is pretty clear as of this morning, and that amount of skin is significant but manageable. Not sure if it's fate, the cream (misoprostol) or the laser treatments.
Dr. Stuve, who is highly respected as a veterinary orthopedic surgeon, will be performing the operation. Although Dr. Oson is certainly qualified to perform the operation she felt it would be less risky if performed in a more sophisticated operating room than she can provide. It could not have happened at all without her generous financial support. Abner's co-owner and I are flat broke, and there was no way that we could have come up the the "up front" money needed to cover this very necessary amputation.
I would think that most of us have seen three-legged dogs in the past, and most of them get around just as well as the more common four-legged kind. The loss of a leg won't make Abner any less lovable nor less "busy" (Abner is almost always a very busy boy exploring his world). So long as there is enough viable skin to cover the stump he should heal just fine.
There are other, darker issues affecting the humans involved with Abner's life and care. Everyone involved has been on edge for several days. Emotions are volatile, nerves are raw and things have been said that perhaps should have been stifled. None of that is particularly important tonight. Tonight the important thing is maintaining positive thoughts and prayers for sweet Abner, and wishing him good fortune with his surgery and recovery. The rest of it will just have to be sorted out in its own time.