Freia had her staples out today. Her visit to the dr’s office was a speedy one, I don’t know how they get those things out but they do it in a flash. Freia’s a little frightened of them there, she must have some memory of the operation, but she also knows that they dole out treats, so she’s a bit conflicted! They said she was progressing well. As long as I can (try) to keep her four paws on the floor – ie, no jumping (ha!) that she should be fine. She’s officially up to 2-3 10 minute walks a day now, which we’ve really been doing since the beginning of the 2nd week, and they said it was OK if I did 15. As long as she continues forward then we’re doing fine. She is pretty much pain free. Her held is still held down a bit when she walks, so I can tell there is some discomfort, but the slower we go the more even her stride. She’s taken a few little trots (not approved by me) and has not three-legged it at all.
It’s a bit deceiving as when she’s walking she looks fine, and at home I keep her restricted to the Xpen or the futon, so I don’t really see much toe touching, but I think, … I think… she’s actually toe touching a bit less than she was before the operation. Now, she does still have a pronounced limp as she moves about within the pen, clearly she’s not healed and there is some discomfort. However, she will sleep with her knee fully bent next to her, or under her, so she seems to have full range of mobility. Her foot is not at any sort of funny angle, but is at the same angle as her other foot, so there’s no apparent misalignment there. She stands on the TPLO leg to pee, she uses it to scratch her ears, so clearly she’s feeling pretty good!
Someone suggested Deer Antlers as chews for the dog, and before you get your knickers in a twist, the antlers are harvested annually without causing any pain to the deer. Freia loves these and I have to say, so do I. They are odor free, mess free, they don’t seem to crack or chip like a bone, but keep her entertained for quite a while, and seem to last forever!! I got them from here: http://www.bonusvelvetantler.com/home they are very reasonably priced especially as they will seemingly last a very long time. I got a couple of 4″ and 7″ and they seem just right for her.
Thursday 11/27 (Thanksgiving)
Debating whether or not to knock her out today when I leave to go to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s soooo quiet at my house though that I think it should be safe. I’ll not be gone for long. We went on a 15 minute (maybe even 20?) walk today, not that far, maybe a total of 3 blocks around, we take it slow. Today’s her first day that she goes to alternate days for the anti-inflammatory, and I won’t be home later to make sure she doesn’t swell up, stupid of me to take her today, but it’s been a few hours now and she looks fine. Funny thing is she’s super tired after it, she’s not used to taking longer jaunts now after these last two weeks of little end-of-block walks.
Well, she slept most of the day so I decided to let her continue to sleep drug free. Of course as soon as I left the house I saw these ragamuffin kids running around my neighborhood. Left me with visions of them seeing the “Do NOT Knock” sign on my door and being troublemakers and knocking like crazy to piss off the dog. I need not have worried. I got home and she was fine, though crazy excited to see me, probably did more harm in those 30 seconds than any longer walk.. sigh..
Still very quiet outside cos of the holiday. Nice. Peaceful. Nothing for Freia to get amped about. We stayed mainly upstairs today with me sitting with her on the futon while I was working on a sweater. No post Turkey Day shopping for me, who really needs anything?? I mean Really?? Will post pics of her staple-free leg shortly. I have to say, her healing is rapid and rather unremarkable, which is of course a good thing, and makes for a pro-TPLO blog (which I am now, for sure), but it’s not very eventful, just lots of resting.. I did shoot a little video of what I do to keep her distracted for hours on end when she’s not sleeping. Once it’s edited I’ll put it up. Now that would be useful as that becomes the biggest challenge at this point.
I’m finding my biggest challenge with her now is me. I keep forgetting that she’s not ready yet for longer walks, that she’s only just over 2 weeks into this. She’s doing so well. It’s deceiving. There is such a tempation for me to let her out of her “prison” but I really have to remember that I have a house of slippery wooden floors, now is not the time.
There’s all sorts of horror stories about dogs breaking their other leg bone during the healing phase, overdoing it and blowing out the other knee, developing patellar tendonitis (again maybe from overdoing it?). Plus she’s been extra whiny this morning, so I’m here on the futon again. It’s a hard futon, not exactly comfortable, but it stops the whining.. now she’s conked out next to me. I’m going to move and make myself some waffles for breakfast.. how long do you give me before the whining starts?
We had our appt today with the rehab specialist, she was very happy with how Freia walked and said she was quite a bit ahead of most dogs in her recovery. She first had me walk Freia a few steps so she could see how her gait was. Freia was clearly nervous at being there so was sort of slinking along the floor, which I explained to Sarah, the rehab gal, and she still could see that Freia was in great form. To quote her: “Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that she’s doing very very well, she is using her leg, she’s walking well. The bad news is that you (meaning me) have to remember that her leg is just held together with screws.” I have to say, none of this came as much of a surprise and over the last few days I do keep reminding myself that she’s not ready to wander around the house or play or trot or anything really. But it’s SO deceiving! She feels great, she wants to bolt up the stairs, run on the grass, tumble with other dogs, but not to be.
We then went over a couple of things to strengthen her leg muscle, she gave me a little ankle weight to tie around her leg. This feels funny to her so she high-steps her back leg, bending the knee more and working that big leg muscle. It looks terribly cute when she does it! It weighs hardly anything, but it does the trick. The other exercise that I’m to do is to cup her good foot and tickle it a bit to force her weight more onto the TPLO leg. This is a bit tricky as she quickly figured out that she could lean into that foot even though I was holding it up as I would support her. So you can only do it for a couple of seconds before they shift their weight onto you, instead of the “bad” leg.
This is all very interesting to me as it seems a lot of orthos have the dogs on 8 weeks of complete restriction and to begin walking only at the 8 week mark. I’ve been cautious with Freia but still keeping her doing the minimum amount of exercise as prescribed, but I was worried about things like bending her knee and so on, and here Sarah was telling me to seek out curbs, to do figure eights, esses and circles with her, this is real rehab! She did say that Freia was already ahead of needing to do PROM exercises which is great as I don’t think she would have been too tolerant of that, but the ankle weight doesn’t bother her and neither does the toe tickling.
It was really nice to get confirmation of what I was thinking about Freia’s good condition. I think keeping her active, but doing the surgery before the tear was complete was the right way to go, her strength and general good health have served her (and me) well. Tomorrow is officially the beginning of week 4. Week 3 has gone by very quickly, still another 5 weeks to go before xrays, and even then it’s still only continued leash walking for another 4 months, but time is beginning to speed up in this – as people said it would – it really does get easier.