When a Broken Elbow Could Mean a Lifetime of Pain

A golden doodle dog sits by a window, looking back over his shoulder to the camera.


We had our golden doodle, Quincy, only two weeks before he ran up the stairs one night in April and badly broke his elbow joint in three places. Quincy was only 4 months old. We took him to an emergency vet in Redmond only to find out, yes, it was broken and would require surgery. We left with that clinic with a $800 bill and were told to call our vet the next morning to schedule the surgery.

Looking for Help

My vet reviewed the x-rays told me this surgery would require a board-certified surgeon because it was such a bad fracture (a Y fracture of the left distal humerus).The next three days consisted of surgical consultations at different clinics and, in a nutshell, a very dreary prognosis for Quincy.

One board-certified surgeon in Seattle suggested either amputation or putting him down. He said Quincy would have bad arthritis and that with this break, there wasn’t a good chance of it healing well, and most likely, it would end up needing to be amputated. (“This could very well end up being a $12,000 amputation,” were his exact words.)

Most surgeons were booked and wouldn’t even see Quincy but stressed that it needed to be operated on immediately because he was so young and his bones were growing so fast. At long last, we landed at Seattle Veterinary Specialists in Kirkland.

They saw Quincy through the emergency room. They viewed his x-rays and booked him overnight for a surgery the next day. Even though it was a bad break, Dr. Mark Engen felt confident that he could help and while he couldn’t guarantee how things would end up, he didn’t feel it would end in amputation.


The surgery went well, and we followed the instructions for aftercare. I’m not going to lie; it was not easy (about six weeks of severe restriction and being on a leash to go outside).It was several weeks before he would put any weight on his leg again. Dr. Engen scheduled several follow up visits and answered calls and my questions promptly over the next few weeks.

While attending one follow up visit, I talked to a man who was having his dog’s second hip replacement surgery with Dr. Engen. He had done a lot of research and believed Dr. Engen to be the best surgeon in the state for this type of surgery. He also has done surgery (another hip replacement) for one of my groomer’s dogs. She also had nothing but high praises for Dr. Engen.

A Happy Update

Fast forward to today (now August), Quincy runs around like any other dog, chasing bunnies and squirrels in the yard. He ran with us on the beach last month in Oregon. He does not even have a limp. Dr. Engen is a hero in my eyes. I would highly recommend him for any orthopedic surgery for your pet!

What happened to our dog was such an unfortunate accident, and an expensive one, but thankfully it’s a story with a happy ending. I’m hoping this review helps any readers that may end up in a situation like ours. Dr. Mark Engen is a person you can trust with your most precious companion!