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Hi - I have an eight year old mini poodle who needs to have surgery to repair a luxating patella. I live out in the boonies so I have to drive 4-6 hours to get to an animal hospital. Here's where I need some advice.

I have two options:

1. Drive six hours to Seattle and have her treated at a private hospital. This will cost between $2600-$2800.

2. Drive four hours to Pullman, Wa and have her treated at the WSU vet teaching hospital. This option will cost between $1600-$1800.

I want to do what is best for Molly but I have to admit that saving $1000 would be a big help to my budget.

What would you do?
 

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Welcome to the board. I'm sorry to hear about Molly's patella. It seems to be such a problem in the smaller poodles.

Anyway, other than the fact that one is a private hospital and one is a teaching hospital, is there any difference in how the procedure will be done or how Molly will be treated in either hospital? Do both have an equal reputation for orthopedic surgery?
 

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Did you consult an orthopedic specialist? I know a lot of times vets recommend surgery for luxating patellas when it really isn't necessary, a lot of small breed dogs have luxating patellas and live out their lives just fine.
If you're vet told you to have surgery I would highly recommend a second opinion from a othropedic specialist.
 

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Thanks for responding. Both hospitals have good reputations. Molly does need the surgery at this time. I've know about the problem for several years but since she is a small dog and it didn't seem to bother her all that much, I didn't want her to have surgery. About a month or so ago, it flared up. She is limping all the time, holding it in the hour and is very stiff. We've been trying conservative treatments but they haven't offered much relief.
 

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If everything else is equal, then I personally would be comfortable with going to the teaching hospital. We have a big reputable teaching animal hospital in Ontario (Guelph) and I would be happy to send my dog there for any surgical needs.

I know it's a tough decision to make. At the end of the day you need to go with your gut feeling about the two options. Does your regular vet have a preference between the two?
 
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