349 pugs rescued since October, 2005
Murdoch - 4 Year Old Male


Murdoch's Foster Buddies:

  • Bryan Davies
Adopted by Foster Parents, April 24, 2012

Murdoch was at the vet this morning for his last post-operative checkup. The surgeon was very pleased with the condition of his knee as seen on the xray. He did a very thorough manual examination and pronounced him "done". He says Murdoch is ready to break out and run now. There may be some arthritis years down the road but smaller dogs have less trouble with this. Murdoch's down to 9.9 kg (21.8 lb) and I plan to keep him trim to relieve weight on his joints as he ages.

Murdoch has fit into our family extremely well and gets along with all the resident dogs. He and Max, the chihuahua puppy, are best buddies. Most nights after dinner amid happy growling and whining, they play-wrestle, taking turns to roll over in the submissive pose and pulling at each other's jowls. We don't have the heart to separate them so we have received approval from Pugalug to adopt Murdoch. We are delighted to finally be able to call him all ours.

Here's a picture of Murdoch, fresh from the vet, saying, "C'mon, Mom, time to play fetch. I've waited way too long for this. So we did!


Foster Update, March 27, 2012

Murdoch's post-operative vet visit today couldn't have gone any better. The surgeon says he's well ahead of schedule. He has full range of motion and upon palpation, his knee was firmly positioned in the right place with no indication of it moving out of place. Bone takes 8 to 10 weeks to heal, so his activities still have to be somewhat restricted but he can now go on longer walks to build up the muscle and get the blood flowing into the leg. We have an appointment for April 24th to do his last check-up and take an x-ray to confirm all is well. The vet says that there is every indication that he will have a fully functioning leg for many years to come. He was such a good boy at the vet's and had a big play with his best friend Max when he got home.

Foster Update, February 22, 2012

Murdoch came through his Patellar Luxation Repair surgery with flying colours. The surgeon found there was no injury to his cruciate ligament but the flatness of his femur (virtually no trochlear groove) explained the high degree and frequency of luxation. This anatomical problem is quite common in badly bred dogs. The surgeon went in and carved out a groove in the trochlea (wedge recession sulcoplasty) and put Murdoch's tibia into it, securing it with a tibial anti-rotational suture which will not only keep the kneecap in place now but act prophylactically. No more trick knee, we hope.

The boy was happy to be home although obviously uncomfortable as the pain medication is wearing off. In a few minutes, his dinner will include some more Metacam for pain as well as an antibiotic to reduce the risk of post-op infection. He goes back in 2 weeks to have the sutures removed and have his progress monitored.

Rehab will be lengthy (12 - 14 weeks) and staged to his progress at any given time. For now our twice daily regimen includes 15 minutes of ice pack, 5 minutes of muscle massage, 15 minutes of passive range of motion exercises (to simulate walking) and 10 minutes of short-leash walking. He seems quite content to rest in his crate and watch the world revolve around him. He has a cherished deer antler to himself. My challenge will be to get him to use his repaired leg as he has been operating on 3 legs for so long.

Auntie Deb made him three wonderful slings to support him when he potties. In typical Murdoch style, he is in no hurry to test these out and it will be a learning curve for both of us.

If you'd like to learn more about the structure of a dog's knee, this is a pretty good site: http://orthopets.com/stifleanatomy.htm

Foster Update, January 18, 2012

We took Murdoch to an orthopedic surgeon today and it went extremely well. Murdoch was a very good boy in the waiting room and on the examining table. The vet said that Murdoch's discomfort may be coming from the strain of the dislocation itself, rubbing of the patella against the bone, a concomitant cruciate ligament rupture or a combination of any of the above. He will be able to determine if the cruciate ligament is ruptured during surgery. Following the operation there will be a rehab period of about 12 weeks with a followup vet visit after each 4 weeks. We are going to go ahead with the surgery because not doing so could result in Murdoch developing arthritis (which may happen anyway), putting his cruciate ligament at risk, being in chronic pain and/or ultimately throwing his hip out from compensating with his good leg. He will be operated on late in February or early in March with rehab extending into May or June. So Murdoch won't be going anywhere for the meantime, As a side note, Murdoch is down to 23.8 lb from 27 at intake in October. This is good from a rehab perspective. The less weight on the joint, the better. How we're going to keep him quiet during rehab - that's another challenge, especially with his best buddy loony chihuahua puppy Max by his side!


Foster Update, January 12, 2012

Murdoch continues to be a dream foster - good natured and obedient. He's not really a cuddler but he does like to be around his people. He loves playing most of all and has a new best friend in our newly adopted chihuahua puppy Max. We have to remind him to be gentle because he outweighs Max by almost 20 lb and loves to rough-house. Murdoch is also very playful with diva Tina who is becoming much more tolerant and now joins in.

We were ready to put Murdoch up for adoption in early January when we noticed he still isn't putting much weight on his right back foot. Rather than take a wait-and-see approach, we have decided to consult an orthopedic specialist who should be able to confirm/deny my clinic's diagnosis and advise next steps. We will know in a few days what the outlook is and will provide another update then.

Foster Update, December 14, 2011

Murdoch continues to be a very good boy who loves nothing more than to play. It will be interesting to see how he deals with the winter snow when he can't run like a loon around the backyard chasing his little rubber ball. I bought him his own Kong which he chases in the kitchen and then takes into a dog bed to chew. I've also redirected his chewing from stuffed toys to the sturdy rope which he is guarding in the picture. At night he likes to lie on Big Bed happily chewing an old dry marrow bone before settling down for the night underneath the covers.

On the health front, Murdoch's allergy symptoms seem to be under control when he is on Taste of the Wild (Bison and Venison) kibble. He tolerates raw chicken but his allergies flared up after he ate canned fish. He doesn't need medication nor previously recommended frequent bathing with special shampoo. Although he loves to run, I was concerned about his stiff gait and occasional lameness. He sometimes moves on only three legs and seems reluctant to put any weight on the right rear leg, even keeping that foot up off the ground once in a while. The first (younger) vet he saw about it suspected it was a torn cruciate ligament but we went back the next day for an x-ray and the more experienced vet believes it is a Grade 4 (worst case) luxating patella. A luxating patella is thought to be caused by a defect in the hind leg because of bad breeding - i.e. the channel (called the trochlear groove) is too smooth or flat to accommodate the thighbone (femur) and so the patella (knee) slips out of place. If it remains permanently out of place (the joints are fused outside of the groove), it is categorized as Grade 4. In cases where the cause is genetic, it is common for the leg structure and musculature also to be badly placed so corrective surgery is extremely complex and must be undertaken by a specialist, with no guarantee of success. Recovery can be lengthy, including crate-rest and physiotherapy. In Murdoch's case, the luxation doesn't impair his mobility and the vet doesn't believe he's in pain so there is no imperative to have surgery at this time. (Some vets might take a more aggressive approach.) The vet told me that restricting Murdoch's running and jumping is not necessary; let him enjoy himself. Keeping excess weight off is important so there is less pressure on the joint. Sweet Murdoch was an angel as the vet poked and prodded, palpated and flexed his leg and didn't flinch even once. He was sufficiently relaxed that he didn't need even mild sedation.

We'll continue to monitor Murdoch's allergies and leg over the Christmas holidays and will make a decision about his adoptability early in the New year.


Foster Update, November 23, 2011

Murdoch came through his dental surgery with flying colours and recovered quickly. The vet gave instructions to keep him quiet for a few days - yeah, right! The next day he was back to chewing on toys and wanting to play. He does have a bad habit of chewing at toys to get the squeakies so I've been encouraging him to chew the ropes instead of the plush animals. His two favourite pastimes are playing fetch in the backyard (he can catch the ball on the fly) and playing tug of war with me. And what's tug of war without lots of growling? At first, Tina would try to attack him because she's reactive to any growling but now she understands it's all part of the act. He is actually teaching her to play-fight and they get quite ferocious looking but it's "all sound and fury signifying nothing". He is a large boy, tall and sturdy but not overweight, so he is continuing to learn to be a little more gentle with Tina who is a tiny girl. Murdoch doesn't have a mean bone in his body and loves everybody and everything. He's such a good boy. After a brief session of bone-chewing, he settles right down at night and doesn't make a peep until morning. His allergies are definitely better but not 100% controlled yet so we're still experimenting with different foods and I'm going to try him back on kibble to see how he does. But he is a lovely, happy boy who is fun to have around.





Foster Update, October 20, 2011

Murdoch had a vet visit yesterday and behaved very well. The vet said his scratching is an inflammatory response to allergies rather than a yeast or bacterial infection. The scratching was made worse, though, by the flea he was harbouring on his back! So he and his foster siblings had a bath today and there were no signs of other fleas; nevertheless, all his bedding and ours were laundered and the rooms he inhabits vacuumed and sprayed. He and the residents have been put on Advantage for a couple of months. Starting in a few days, we will try to manage the allergies with daily oatmeal baths and Benadryl up to twice a day as needed, while we sort out if there is an improvement with a change in diet. He is also on ear meds for a week and eye lubrication twice a day for life (like most of my guys). His eyes are good except for mild pigmentary keratitis probably caused by "dry eye". His bloodwork was good with some minor outliers in his biochemistry which the vet feels may be due to the stress of change over the last few days. Unfortunately he has to go in for dental surgery next week and will lose at least 4 teeth. Murdoch is a very good boy who loves company, human and dogs. He has worked his way into Big Bed where he sleeps soundly until morning. He loves his walks and does well on-leash. He's quite a joy to have around.

Introduction, October 16, 2011

Murdoch is a friendly 4 year old neutered male pug whose owners' age and declining health made it difficult to look after him the way he deserves. He has a wonderfully curly pug-tail and great forehead wrinkles. Although he tips the scales at 28 lbs, he is not really overweight and almost has a "waist" in front of his long back legs (he's on the right in the picture with Denver). I'm told he is good on-leash but hasn't been getting many walkies lately so regular walking should shape him up to perfect weight. He is microchipped and up-to-date on all his shots. Murdoch does have some undiagnosed allergies but currently is not on any medication; he is already on grain-free food and we will attempt to determine what sets him off by trying different proteins. He lived in a quiet home where he was well loved and came with lots of toys and clothes (I'll get a picture of him in his Hallowe'en outfit once he's had a chance to acclimatize to his foster home). He is well socialized with dogs, cats and people, although we have been told he tends to be on the timid side in new situations. We'll try and get him in for a wellness check this week and post more afterwards.