Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

TPLO #2 Day 1 February 24, 2011

Filed under: cats and dogs,chesapeake bay retreiver,TPLO — knitwhits @ 7:31 pm
Freia's crate nametage

Freia's crate nametag

Well they say it’s easier the 2nd go around and so far that’s true, though I’ve only had her home for 2 hours. Her spirits are generally good, all things considered. I got her home and she walked  straight into her pen and pretty much settled down right away.  The set up is better this time, no extra blankets for her to catch her bandaged leg in, it’s basically just a covered foam mattress and her pillow on the ground with a bowl of water and a couple of toys nearby. Of course for now she has no interest in the toys, but so far so good.  I lay down with her for a little bit but she doesn’t seem to be as needy (yet) as she was last time.

The doc gave a couple of extra meds this go around. In addition to the pain pills, the anti-inflammatories, the antibiotics and sedatives she was also given an antacid too. I guess they had problems with a few dogs and decided to add that to the routine. I’m all for it if it makes things easier on us, though I don’t recall her having trouble last time. Better safe than sorry though.

She was the darling of the vet’s office, they told me she was very good, didn’t cry at all, and after her surgery just hung out watching all the comings and goings in the recovery area. They even made a special nameplate for her crate:


Here we go again – TPLO #2 February 22, 2011

Tomorrow Freia (finally) goes in for TPLO #2 – on her left leg this time. I’ve been voraciously reading my blog to recall how it all went the first time. It’s bringing back good reassuring memories and some not so good ones..

She blew out the other knee completely about 3 weeks ago. We were at the dog park and a couple of dominant Collies were harassing her – not really doing anything or even touching her, just behaving in a very dominant manner. She got intimidated and crept away, tail tucked. I found her at the top of a slope about 4 minutes later and she was fully 3 legging it. I knew what this meant. Her knee was well and truly gone. Such a bummer. And poor girl was so scared. I reassured her that it was all OK. The other dogs had moved on. I made a sling for her out of her leash, mainly just to help support her back end and we gingerly hobbled out of the park. What would normally be a 10 minute saunter probably took about half an hour. What also really sucked was that she hadn’t even had a chance to romp around the park when this all happened, we’d not even been there 10 minutes. PLUS on the way over there I had a bad, bad feeling. I don’t know why I don’t listen when I get those.

That first night she was in a fair amount of pain, but has steadily improved and was in fact pain free from about the 3rd day. She is still hopping on 3 legs though, especially if I let her pick up speed (apparently with the ACL it’s not a pain problem that makes them hop, they are just unstable, so hopping is a safer way for them to get about).  Here’s a video of what she looked like a couple of days after the “incident”.

Now though it’s about 3 weeks since she tore it and our walks have become shorter and shorter – at her request – I let her lead the way and she pretty much just walks me around our building. This is really no different from the first 2 weeks post-op so this view is going to get pretty old, but her comfort is the most important thing.

If there is a silver lining, her knee has been troublesome for two years now, so it’s a relief to have it finally go so that we can all move on and hopefully by autumn I can take her to some really lovely off leash local quasi-wilderness areas that I’ve not been able to take her to for over a year.

So, my nerves are shot but it’s a go. She was originally scheduled for last monday, but had some really nasty tummy bug which was being overly persistent. I felt dreadful calling Dr. Sams late on the Sunday before the surgery to see what he thought and possibly reschedule. Without any hesitation he made it clear that her health was the most important thing and that the surgery would be best postponed till she was better. This is why I like Dr. Sams so very much. He really cares about the dogs, their health and wellbeing and the success of his work. I really can’t recommend him enough. If you are in the Northern California area, he is the surgeon to see.

Wish us luck – tomorrow is going to be pretty darn awful. Maybe I should start on the sedatives now…


False Alarm? May 17, 2009

Filed under: cats and dogs,chesapeake bay retreiver,TPLO,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 7:08 pm

W_RJust a quickie here as I’ve been getting a few messages about the dog.

This may in the end have been a false alarm about her possible torn ACL in her other knee.

My dog, who is endlessly injured in one way or another (seriously I really do not suffer Baron Von Munchhausen syndrome.. ) recently ate a bunch of foxtails. Well.. I think her intention was to eat grass, but ate one foxtail, it aggravated her, so she ate more grass, etc etc.. 10 minutes later, she’s hacking, coughing, desperately trying to clear her throat and I’m on the phone to the vet.

By the time we get there she is a bit better, my vet thinks it OK to take a wait and see approach. Well I lasted about a day. She went in the morning of the 2nd day to be knocked out to get her throat checked as clearly something wasn’t right. Yup, she had a foxtail stuck in her tonsils. There was another that had abcessed in the side of her throat but they weren’t able to get anything from there.

Since she was being knocked out I asked also for a nail trim and for them to check her leg while she was sedated for any drawer movement.. Nothing. Though the vet said that there was some “lateral” movement, whatever that means, but no drawer movement. So, she has something wrong, but not yet needing any further action.

She came back from the vet very groggy (falling asleep standing up trying to watch me!! soooo cute!) I had to lay her down so she didn’t hurt herself! But no more throat clearing, so that was taken care of.

Three vet appts since the knee began bothering her and three different vets, but the concensus is to wait and see. I take her to the park daily for 1 – 1 1/2 hours and she barrels about, rock climbing, swimming, playing and ball chasing and is not even limping anymore, so maybe it was some sort of strain. If something bothers her I give her 1/4 of a Rimadyl and by the following morning she’s right as rain. And I’ve not even given her any for a couple of weeks now.. so.. your guess is as good as mine. Needless to say, I’m not worried right now about it.

Though of course she is limping once morel.. but, I should say, not limping from her knee..

Now she’s done something else.  Darn dog. I found another foxtail in her front paw which,  with a bit of a struggle she let me remove, but then she was limping madly – actually hopping –  on her back paw (operated leg). Poked around her toes for yet another foxtail but nothing. Later that night upon re-examination I found a pretty nasty slice in her paw pad, probably from the rocks at the dog park, or more likely some broken glass, as the cut is a clean slice.

Poor pup.. does it ever end?

In other news.. my latest obsession? Wardrobe_remix on flickr. I started a flickr group for the people that knit my designs to post their pictures, then one day was wearing an outfit that I liked, so.. it ended up on W_R.. and now? I think everyday about what I’m wearing. Working at home it’s easy enough to get sloppy. Especially when my primary outing is to the dog park – silly to look too nice there, you only are going to get covered in mud and slop from the goofy happy wet soppy dogs. But I don’t know, W_R is fun. It’s made me look at what I wear more carefully, and care about what I put together, even on a day when I don’t want to document my clothes. So the picture? it’s a wardrobe_remix one. My plan is to include Freia in each one.. I’ve only done a few, but it’s a start – if a late one.


Under the Knife – Freia’s TPLO – Week 4 December 9, 2008

Filed under: cats and dogs,chesapeake bay retreiver,TPLO,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 6:30 pm

Well Week 4 has come and gone in a flash. A whole of of not much to report really.

I don’t really see any vast amount of improvement – she’s already quite a bit further ahead of other dogs at this stage,  but she does have  more energy, her ears are more forward and alert as she walks (reduced discomfort in her leg) and she’s raring to go, of course. I have also noticed her knee has increased in size somewhat, since she’s not limping I’m thinking it’s bone growth. This was somewhat confirmed after seeing another dog that is about 6 months post op (who happened to have had the surgery at the same doctor) and her knee was slightly larger on the operated side.

This dog owner was less restrictive with his dog and had her trailing him to work at one month and off leash at the park at 12 weeks – he sounded somewhat regretful of that decision but was swayed by those puppy eyes. I had to laugh as that is rule #1 – who’s the boss here anyway? Freia’s tried the puppy eyes trick on me but it won’t work, it just won’t.. (I say that now..). The surgery leg is somewhat visible on this other dog, her knee seems less flexible, but her other leg also now has a torn ligament which he will be taking her in for surgery once more early next year. Needless to say, this dog continues to be one of the fastest runners at the park.

Though I wasn’t able to take Freia with me to the park, it did me a world of good to walk with my dog-owner friends, and was also useful as a reminder to see how much rough-housing happens there and how Freia is definately not ready for that nor will she be in a month from now either,whether she gets the all clear or not, it will be a tough day that first time she’s off leash again.

I continue to do her rehab exercises, this week coming up she goes from 5 minutes with the ankle weight to 10 minutes, and our walks go from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. Will do her a world of good. We are doing a lot of walking games, figure eights, esses and it’s actually good on a couple of levels as it reinforces some of her previous rally-O training too. Keeps it interesting for me. I’m also no longer avoiding her doggy friends on the street and that is keeping her well adjusted, she likes to be social with pups and people and in the end I’m not fascinating to her 24/7, close, but not quite.. Variety is the spice of life.


Under the Knife: Freia’s TPLO – Week 2 November 19, 2008

Freia in her BiteNot Collar

Freia in her BiteNot Collar

Wednesday 11/19:
I’m definately seeing a happier dog the last two days. She’s been pretty zonked out during the day which is great, but today hit a new energy spurt. .. I hope it subsides!

I took her to the ortho this afternoon to have them remove her bandage. I could have probably done it but she’s so squirrely that she would have squirmed her way around me while I had the scissors in my hand. And to bring someone in to help would have made her too hyper. This way, by going back to the ortho they can also check the incision to make sure it all looks good, with the trained eye that I don’t have.

Since the bandage is off, those staples are going to be awfully tempting to her for the next week so I ordered a BiteNot collar. It may have been $35 poorly spent though cos she hates the darn thing. She doesn’t seem to mind the E-collar (cone) so maybe I’ll stick to that. I’m going to give it a few more tries before I give up on it competely.

The vet tech said her longer than 5 minute walks were fine, and if she does get too hyper to either cut back on the Previcox or give her some ACE. Pain, in theory, should act as a deterrent. I think that may be true for some dogs, I don’t know that Chessies ever read that rule book. They also said that because she’s in such great shape that she should continue to heal well and quickly. They also said ice her if needed, but again, a bit of pain should calm her down, and icing wasn’t necessary given that she has no swelling or bruising.

So far no seroma, and as long as I can keep her from licking her leg, that should continue to be the case. I asked, and received copies of her Xrays, check ’em out

Xray 1

Xray 1

Xray 2

Xray 2

Pretty harsh, huh? 26 staples. 6 screws that go through her bone (and out the other side??? yikes). And if you look at the 2nd image you can see how far they rotated the bone to create the new angle. Amazingly that should all fill in with new bone growth in 8 weeks, can’t wait to see those Xrays!

Here are some pictures of the incision, I’ll put them in smallish for the squeamish. They aren’t really that bad. I’ll leave out the really stark one! She hasn’t messed with the staples too much yet, but I imagine it’s right about now that they start getting really itchy.


I think you can see the plate in this one

I think you can see the plate in this one

a bit red, but otherwise not bad

After our walk in a short while I think I will take her upstairs tonight. Last night was the 2nd night in a row that a giant spider crawled over me in my bed next to her and since I’m a major arachnophobe, I think that I’m done with sleeping on the ground floor. The vet told me (again) that it would be fine to walk her up there, but to just take it slow. In preparation for the “big move” I’ve set up a middle floor spot for her on my old futon.

Friday 11/21
No news is certainly good news. I’m continuing to see slow but steady improvement. She’s much more comfortable now being able to bend her knee without the bandage. I thought she might be a little less steady walking without it but that is not the case. She has almost no trace of any limp when walking, but when she’s moving around in her pen, she is still clearly favoring her leg. She will occasionally stand putting some weight on her right leg, but not full weight yet, as expected.

Our first night upstairs was kind of a pain. She’d had a new bone that day and maybe that was a mistake. She kept thinking she needed to go out and was not enamored with wearing the cone to sleep – she slept coneless in the pen with me since I would wake up easily if I heard her licking her leg. But with me in my bed and her on the floor, that would be something I could certainly sleep through. Trying to get the harness on her in the dark, half asleep was amusing to say the least.

Anyway, we were up and down the stairs far too many times for my liking, and we’d go out but nothing, so I eventually just put my foot down and told her “enough, go lie down”. She huffed and puffed a few times but eventually gave up and went to sleep. And I got to sleep in my bed! Heaven!

Last night was less eventful, she’s still not thrilled with the cone and neither am I. I can’t wait for her staples to come out on Wednesday and then we can both have a bit more freedom.

Making a safehouse on each level has taken a bit of planning. As I’m in a loft I don’t have doors to close or regular rooms per se.

Her day-to-day home

Her day-to-day home

She mainly hangs out with me in my office. Since I’m down here about 14+ hours a day she can be with me and I can keep an eye on her. This was also where I was sleeping with her for the first week till the bandage came off.. and till the spiders started getting brave.  I have a grid on the left side and I’ve attached the walls of the Xpen to it to make it larger than the Xpen was by itself. She has room to play and loll about, but not enough to go very far.

Her other new hang out spot in the evening time is now in an unused corner of the living room. This is my old Queen size futon.

Option #2 - the old futon

Option #2 - the old futon

I’m using the frame as the walls to keep her in. They kept falling over so now I have the “entry” rigged with a belt and the side of the frame near the wall is now attached to the handrail of the staircase to prevent it from tipping inwards. Not very elegant, but it works, and I can hang out with her or I can sit on my couch and she can still see me, though she would rather sit with me and she cries.. sigh.. She has used the futon as her upstairs bed for a while (not unfolded like this) so it is familiar to her, she just doesn’t get why she has to be fenced in. Oh well.

3rd Level - bedroom

3rd Level - bedroom

Lastly, at night, she’s in her “usual” spot, only now I have it cordoned off with a large baby gate. Since my bed weighs half a ton, the baby gate, once shut, is going nowhere. Again, she’s been fussy here, but hopefully once the cone comes off she’ll be better.

There is no concensus about which part of the recovery from TPLO is the hardest. Some say it’s the first two weeks, others say it’s the last 2 weeks when you spend all your time trying to keep them from running, jumping, playing. So far, I’m hoping this is as hard as it gets. Last week I was just plain worried about her and how stable she was, how much I could walk her, risk of infection, swelling, seroma, her reaction to the painkillers, and so on. This week, she’s off the pain killers, but the bandage is off so I either have to keep the cone on her head (the BiteNot was a wasted $35 for her) or watch her so she doesn’t bite/lick her stitches. Plus, she’s feeling good, last night she decided she was going to bolt up the stairs in her usual way. Fortunately, and much to her surprise, I caught her harness mid-jump, but it was definately a warning to me – and this is only day 9! Today also she saw my neighbor and got in a jump on her too.. so, week 2 is challenging, but not so much worrying, though I did have a moment today that I was thinking her upper leg looked a bit swollen, but as I continue to study it, it seems normal when she stretches, so I don’t know.


Staples Day 9

Her stitches/staples look pretty good, though strangely enough they’ve mysteriously gotten a lot cleaner from when the bandage came off.. Little sneak. But nothing looks alarming, and she’s not obsessively going for them thankfully. Interestingly enough as I just re-read this post I can clearly see an improvement in her leg, there is much less swelling both in the leg itself and in the stitches. To reassure yourself, if you, dear reader, are in the predicament of going through a TPLO with your dog, grab your camera as this was definitely reassuring  for me just now to have real “proof” of improvement.


A bet gone wrong..

Her hair is beginning to grow back and she has a soft fuzz now covering her bald leg and the square patch on her butt that looks like some sort of strange shaving accident, or a bad bet.

Monday 11/24
A few milestones: Freia stood on her TPLO leg to pee! Yes, she’s an odd one, sometimes she pees like a boy, she was a bit wobbly, but she stood on the bad leg – woo hoo! She also sat squarely on her behind the other day instead of having her operated leg sticking out to the side. Some dogs have their leg out to the side before the operation as that way they don’t have to bend the knee as much, but Freia, with a partial tear, was still pretty much tucking her leg in. Post-op of course that all went out the window, but it seems as though she’s steadily returning back to normal. I decided to let her sleep without the e-collar on as she’s pretty much ignoring her staples, so we’ve both now had 3 decent nights of sleep. I have become super sensitive to her though and if I hear her licking in the middle of the night I’m able to stop her pretty quick. The staples still look great, better and better every day, in fact to look at them now outside of the staples themselves it now looks like a fine white scar line, not much sign of a cut anywhere. Another milestone typical of this surgery is the 2 week mark the dogs become riddled with separation anxiety. Well, this one’s always been a little ahead of the curve and sure enough, right about day 9 or 10 she’s whining and crying if I leave her alone for more than a minute. It’s enough to make you crazy. She did make another try at bounding up the stairs last night, but I stopped her in time again. 6 1/2 more weeks.. so close and yet so far..

She has finally shown interest in her everlasting treat ball, which she worked on for over 4 hours last night and allowed me to escape downstairs to wind some yarn for a new project. She started in on it again this morning but it was temporary, the FedEx truck was more interesting…

Staples come out on wednesday – can’t wait – then I will be able to leave her alone (which I’m doing already)  and not worry about her chewing her leg off while I’m out.

Tuesday 11/25
I woke up this morning with a whole new respect for parents of special needs children. This is what my life has become, granted it’s (hopefully) only for 8 weeks. I can’t imagine this being my life for the rest of my life.. I feel pretty pathetic complaining when it’s put in that perspective.
That being said, after Freia tried to jump on the bed this morning and then when we were accosted by some dimwit with his dog off leash I thought.. maybe it’s time for the Ace.

Ace is short for Acemoprazine or is it Acepromazine.. I dunno, anyway, it’s a sedative, not for me, for the dog.. though it’s tempting.. I hemmed and hawed as I made her breakfast and opened the bottle of pills, took one out, put it back, took it out again. Cut the tablet into 1/4’s and smooshed one quarter in with some food. With some trepidation and guilt I popped it in her mouth. Unsuspecting pup swallowed it down.  Well, it’s now almost 4 pm and I’ve gotten more work done today and more peace, more room to think and not worry than I’ve had in weeks. I almost feel human. I’ve even spoken to friends on the phone, had pleasant email exchanges with other friends, shipped out a few orders, updated my website, added a new design, created my newsletter, all with my little gal soundly and contentedly snoozing away next to me.

Yep, Ace really is my friend. I may even get to enjoy thanksgiving after all.