Freia in her BiteNot Collar
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.