Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal – Day 10

Things are going along well – Daisy peed outside twice again today, and she went back to her normal habit of peeing in several different spots rather than just going once. She’s pooping normally again too – WHEW! I never thought I’d spend so much time focused on a dog’s bathroom habits!

Daisy actually seems to focus on figuring out how to work her now only partially lame leg. Sometimes in her crate, she’ll drag her back half around, then stop and stare at the leg – she seems to be thinking about what to do. Usually she’ll make an attempt at standing in a different way; a couple of times she’s fallen over, and it’s so hard to keep myself from rushing over to help and to stop myself from gasping. But I know I can’t or else she’d become dependent on help and sense my emotions. In the end, she doesn’t seem to get hurt and she always figures out how to work that leg. It’s like watching a little 15-pound miracle. I so admire the instinct and determination in dogs.

She’s back to being Crazy Daisy again – she gets super excited when one of us comes into the house, so now DD has to get down on the floor, open the crate door and try to hold Daisy semi-still while the other of us who just came in hurries to reach in and pet her/calm her. This will be our biggest challenge – trying to keep her from re-injuring herself by getting overly excited to see us. It’s great that she has that joy back, but it’s also dangerous, both now and once she’s out of the crate. We’ve tried many ways in the past to get her to calm down a bit when we come home – she jumps with all four paws off the floor and sometimes spins around; a couple of times she landed in scary ways, though she never yiped. But that has to stop now, I wouldn’t be surprised if all that contributed to her disk problem.

So now that we’re in a relatively calm period (though we still take notice of and celebrate every tiny new improvement), I’d like to post a few pics of us passing your POTP and kindnesses on to Daisy – I know you all helped her healing along…and you still are.

Good morning, Sunshine! :D

Good morning, our little sunshine! 😀

Passing the POTP lovies on to Daisy; she's sending lovies back with a big lick.

Passing your POTP lovies on to Daisy; she’s sending lovies back to you all with a big lick.

Irresistible!

Irresistible!

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Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal – Days 8 and 9

TUESDAY SPECIAL PEE-MAIL EDITION!!!!

YES! You read that right – Daisy peed on her own this morning and tonight, and they were good long ones in a normal squatting position! Shout it from the rooftops – Houston, we have pee-off! 😀 😀 😀

This is the best Christmas present we could ever get; it’s truly an answer to our prayers. I can’t tell you how ecstatic we are! All your prayers, POTP and positive thoughts helped so much; and now our dear friend Easy can at long last uncross his tightly crossed POTP paws that were praying for Daisy’s “yellow river” to arrive – what a relief for him! 🙂

Minutes before the momentous occasion - have you ever seen so much human support surrounding one tiny pup? LOL

Minutes before the momentous occasion – have you ever seen so much human support surrounding one tiny pup? LOL

AND – as if that’s not enough – Daisy most definitely used her left leg today, both to balance and to walk! Up until now that left leg was hanging at frighteningly awkward angles when she stood or lying like a limp, broken noodle underneath her, sometimes dangling in front of her right leg and tripping her when she tried walking, which is why we had to hold her back end up with the sling so that only her toes touched the ground. But today, look at this stance!

Look at that balance!! Her back legs are actually spread and the left leg is solidly on the ground. :D

Look at that balance!! Her back legs are actually spread and the left leg is solidly on the ground. 😀

The sling is relaxed - not holding her up at all and she's holding her own - STILL STANDING!! :D :D

The sling is relaxed – not holding her up at all and she’s holding her own – STILL STANDING!! 😀 😀

She’s very excited to come out of the crate to go outside twice a day, and she seems to want to stay outside for as long as we’ll let her. But we’re still under strict orders from the neurosurgeon not to let her walk much, so we’ll just stay with the program until our appointment with the neurosurgeon on Monday.

I missed posting yesterday because I spent hours out of the house, making up for the past week of doing nothing but helping DD take care of Daisy’s needs (DD is proving to be a super amazing pup-nurse!) – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. But I’m behind in everything and yesterday was just a start at trying to catch up.

Day 8 (Backtracking, written late Monday night)
On Monday we saw yet another improvement in Daisy – she did a couple of big stretches in a sitting position, stretching her head straight up long and hard. We were thrilled! She’s also using her left back thigh muscle a little more when we take her outside. We’re hoping that will lead to her being able to squat soon because the vet now wants her to pee twice a day, not just once. We know that’s better for her, but all this time we’ve been told that once a day was all that was needed. Now he says she needs to pee every 8-12 hours, which would mean two trips down to the hospital. It’s 25 minutes each way, which doesn’t sound bad until you do it every single night and are then faced with doing it every morning plus every night – add it up and it’s almost 2 hours of travel time per day (without any traffic delays – we have to take two highways). And the morning run would be during work hours, which is impossible.

So getting her to go is now reaching a crisis point. The vet says that by just going once a day, she’s still facing a risk of infection AND a risk of having a distended bladder.

In better news though, she’s sitting up even more often – always to eat and sometimes to get lovies or just to say hello. 🙂

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Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal – Day 7

Yep, it’s one solid week – 7 days – since we brought our sweet girl home from the hospital. In that time we’ve really seen marked improvement in many areas.

DD took Daisy outside for a little more time twice today and tried a couple more of her favorite sniffing areas, but still no results. I noticed from when Daisy was a puppy that she was stubborn, and she is – she doesn’t like doing things differently, so she’ll just put her little paw down and flatly refuse. And unfortunately peeing with a lame leg and a sling around her seems to be one of those “different” things that make her refused to pee. The only reason she poops at the vet’s is because she’s so upset at being there, it literally scares the crap right out of her (sorry for the crudeness!); however, today she did a small one after DD tried expressing her. Sometimes that seems to stimulate her bowels – either that or the sheer fear of being expressed produces one! Anyway, looks like we’ll be making yet another trip to the vet tonight. ::sigh:: I can’t even tell you how stressful this has become.

She did a mini half-shake today, which is another new improvement. Shaking was something Daisy had a hard time doing before her surgery, so the fact that she gave it a try and was able to do half a shake is positive. Isn’t it amazing how the little ordinary things become so extraordinary and noteworthy at times like these?

Almost a complete curl!

Almost a complete curl! And looking very much more normal. 🙂

Evening update: It was back to the vet for expressing, but we had another encouraging sign: when DD opened the crate door to lift Daisy out, she sat up, then started moving toward the open door on her own! She stood up on “all threes” – still not wanting to use that lame leg – but she’s never shown a desire to push herself up or walk out the door of the crate. We were so excited about that!

So really it’s the whole bathroom issue that remains, otherwise we’re on a good track. But two funny things – while waiting at the vet’s, a couple came in to pick up their cat…named Monster! What mischief that kitty must get up to! And also, when I went up to the receptionist when we got there, a vet tech passing by looked at me and said, “Daisy, right?” I didn’t know whether to laugh or blush!

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Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal – Day 6

We’re seeing yet more attentiveness and alertness from Daisy today, and she complained once because we were lying on the sofa without her – in this case, that’s a good thing! She hasn’t cared about that until now, and it’s normal for her to want to be on the sofa with us. As soon as we sat up, she was fine again. 🙂

DD thought she might get a pee out of Daisy today – she took her to her favorite bush and this time, Daisy actually did sniff it; up until now, she’d just stand there staring straight ahead (she reminded me of a cow in a pasture!). She slightly lowered her back end as if to pee, then quickly changed her mind. Hey, it’s a start; but meanwhile, it’s back down to the vet tonight for another expressing.

Daisy did walk a little further and seemed interested in the outdoors for the first time. 🙂

She’s off the Tramadol, but I’m sure it’ll take a couple days for it to completely leave her system, so we’ll see if it had any bearing on her not wanting to pee. We’re having unseasonably warm weather here – nearly 70 today and even warmer temps predicted for tomorrow – so that makes it easier to keep her outside for an extra few steps.

Daisy post op Day 6

Looking even more like her old self!

Evening update: We took Daisy to be expressed tonight, and she put on quite a show for the folks in the waiting room. The vet tech hadn’t even touched her and she started screeching as if someone were sticking her with pins. I made a general explanation about how she does this “pre-emptive screeching”, and they seemed to understand.

Meanwhile, we’re getting to know some “regulars” at the hospital – one couple whose dog needs bandages changed every day are always there when we go, so we’ve gotten to know them. Tonight the husband said, “See you tomorrow!” and unfortunately he’s probably right!

Daisy’s appetite is soaring into full gear now. Tonight she started whining around 11 PM and it turned out she was ravenous! So the smaller rations we’ve been giving her aren’t enough, which is good. She’s quickly working her way back up to normal portions.

There seems to be no additional pain without the Tramadol, so that’s also good. The Prednisone is also done, so now Daisy is only on the antibiotic for the UTI.

We’re really happy with this progress; fingers crossed for the some pee-mail (as our dear friend Easy the silvermistygrey weimeraner calls it!) tomorrow!

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Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal – Day 5

First of all I want to thank all you wonderful blogging friends who are sticking with us through this journey. It really helps to have your support and helpful comments; it makes us feel so much less isolated in our efforts to help Daisy. If Daisy could read, I know she’d send lickies to every single one of  you. 🙂

We started the day bright and early attacking the pee problem. DD and DH took Daisy out with the sling, all of us praying she would finally do what’s supposed to come naturally. But it was not to be. She doesn’t even sniff the ground, she just stands there like a statue. Nor did expressing help do anything but upset her.

However, we’re going to try a new approach around noon – we discovered that some dogs can be expressed while lying on their sides instead of standing up, so we’re going to try that. Maybe she’ll be more relaxed that way and her muscles won’t be so tight. The dog used in the video was a Havanese, which is half of what Daisy is, so maybe that’s not a coincidence!

The plan is to take her out to exercise her legs a little bit, which tends to tire her just a bit. Then we’ll bring her in and lie her down on a wee wee pad and put on the calming music we were using. We’ll pet her for a while and when she’s calm, we’ll try expressing, Maybe it’ll be less traumatic for her that way. Report to follow.

Daisy’s appetite is very good today, she’s now eating heartily on her own, we don’t have to feed her by hand one kibble at a time. Another good sign.

Hey, I remember this stuff! And with a dollop of pumpkin too - how gourmet!

Hey, I remember this stuff! And with a dollop of pumpkin too – how gourmet!

Afternoon update: Well, trying to express Daisy while lying down didn’t help. BUT – whatever DD did helped to push a poop out of her LOL! So it’s back down to the vet tonight. I really hope this doesn’t continue through the holidays! I’ll be changing the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Peemas”…please!!

Have you ever seen the Seinfeld episode where Elaine goes to the doctor for a rash and ends up with “Difficult” on her chart, and no doctor will see her in the entire city of New York? Well, we thought it was just a bit of TV fun, but now Daisy has “difficult” on her chart!! The vet we saw on Thursday night to express Daisy told us that “difficult to express” is on her chart AND she had SO much trouble finding Daisy’s bladder that she actually had to do an ultrasound to find it!! So even though we’re upset that we can’t help her, we don’t feel as bad as we did now that we know two experienced vets have also had a tough time!

Daisy went to the vet again tonight to be expressed again. I really hope this doesn’t last much longer; I certainly don’t want to be driving her there on Christmas or New Years Eve! But the vet thinks the Tramadol might be inhibiting her ability to pee and she really doesn’t seem to need it anymore, so he told us to stop giving it to her and see if that makes a difference. He said her motor functions are intact and there’s no physical or medical reason for her not to go. Tonight he expressed her outside to give her the idea that she needs to return to normal.

Another positive thing: when DH came home tonight, Daisy got excited to see him and excitedly maneuvered herself around in her crate to face the door so he could pet her – so quickly that we were afraid she was going to hurt herself. This is an improvement too, because up until now when he’d come home, she’d just look at him and wag her tail, sometimes just the tip. Tonight was a full-on greeting!

And finally – she’s becoming very alert to sounds and recognizing what they are. When she heard DD preparing her food, she perked her head up and held it there; she also sat up!

What's that? Do I hear dinner being served?

What’s that? Do I hear dinner being served?

Sitting up for about thirty seconds was more than she's done since her surgery eight days ago.

Sitting up for about thirty seconds was more than she’s done since her surgery.

Let’s see what the weekend brings!

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Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal – Day 4

We had a very aromatic evening – Daisy had her first poop at the very end of Day 3! We didn’t even know until the smell hit because she just remained lying there as it slid out (sorry to be so descriptive), but she panted like she was giving birth! We’re very relieved and hope things will start “moving” at a normal pace from now on, at least every other day. (I only wish it wasn’t so cold out so we could open windows when these aromatic treasures arrive at night!)

No calming music needed again today. The small, flattish pillow we put in the crate seems to be making a big difference in Daisy’s comfort level. She puts her head on it and her spine is level all the way through her neck. She appears to be very comfortable and almost always uses it; in fact, she’s starting to try new positions and we saw a little curl in her position today, both of which are very positive.

A bit of a more normal curl here. Before this she kept her whole self straight.

A bit of a more normal curl here. Before this she kept her whole self straight.

This morning she started to get a bit restless and whiny (but not the pained whining of two days ago), as well as shifting positions in the crate frequently. This always makes me nervous because of that lame back leg – I’m always afraid it will get caught in a crate opening (that happened yesterday) or she will twist it in just the wrong way and create another issue. I guess all that rest and sleep yesterday gave her more energy today!

Daisy licked us for the first time! She also perked her head and ears up when she heard the dishwasher beep – until now she wasn’t interested in anything, including a couple of loud noises from outdoors. AND – we heard the first little “bfffff” today! It was quiet, but it was there. 🙂

I saw Daisy move her left leg from the thigh this morning. We gave her a little thigh massage and manipulated the joints gently in that leg last night; after a few movements, she let us know it was enough. It’s so interesting to see the difference in her signals – when she wants the vet to stop doing something, she turns her head fast as if warning that a nip is imminent. With us, she either licks our hand in a particular way or gives us a soft look while pulling her leg away gently. Dogs are amazing communicators and I’m fascinated at how they treat those they know and trust differently from those they’re not very fond of.

Daisy, contemplating the meaning of the universe. She has much more time now to work out the deeper things in life. :)

Daisy, contemplating the meaning of the universe. She has much more time now to work out the deeper things in life. 🙂

Anyway, we’re going to continue the massage and movement a few times a day to see if that helps. This morning she was trying to rearrange herself in her crate, but her left leg was stuck way far out. She looked at it, seemed to think about it, and then I saw her pull it toward her with one quick movement. Very encouraging. I believe the thigh muscle will improve over time – what seems not to be working is from the joint down to her toes – the bottom half of the leg. I can’t tell if she has feeling in that section, but I’m sure we’ll find out more when we visit the neurosurgeon on the 21st.

Of course, there has to be a negative – the pee problem is back – we went way past the 24 hour mark with no new pee today, but we didn’t panic because she hadn’t drunk all that much water. But by night time, we had to try to make her go. We put her on the wee wee pad and tried to express her – all we got was crying. We took her out back with the sling, hoping her natural and usual pee environment would stimulate her – nothing. As a desperate final resort, DD carried her to her favorite fire hydrant, hoping the smells there would stir her – still nothing. Back down to the hospital at 10 PM, because 36 hours without peeing always seems to panic vets…which panics us.

And it wasn’t good – Daisy has the early signs of a UTI because she’s holding her pee too long. Yesterday’s big pee wasn’t a breakthrough after all, it was just that she had so much pee that she couldn’t hold it in, which wasn’t good. The vet couldn’t express her tonight either, she had to take a sonogram to find her bladder! She said Daisy’s resisting (her medical chart actually says “difficult to express”), and then when we take her to the vet she gets nervous, which tightens her muscles even further. It took effort for the vet to express her – they didn’t even get home until 11:30 PM. She said Daisy should be peeing twice a day, and if not, we have to bring her there to be expressed, even if it’s twice a day. Well, we can’t – we work. So night is the only time we can do it, which also isn’t good.

But the vet said she’s healing well otherwise and does have motor function in that left rear leg. We were given clearance to walk her a little bit outside to keep her muscles from atrophying and to get that left leg working again – and ultimately, of course, to get her to pee. Who’d have thought this would be our biggest challenge?!

One positive thing in all this pee madness – when DD and DH had her out back (everything is a two-person operation now), they encouraged her to walk forward and she did, using three legs and a little bit of her lame leg! A little bit is a start! Also, she was willing to walk forward instead of backward, like she did after the surgery, and she didn’t spin in circles either.

I never thought I’d be wishing for Santa to bring Pee Ability to Daisy for Christmas…

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Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal – Day 3

Day 3 – the day of The Incident. Not anything bad for Daisy, just for us. You’ll read about it and see pics at the end of the journal.

There was a big positive change overnight – Daisy slept through the night – that’s a BIG difference! And today (Wednesday) during the day, we didn’t have to put on any of the music that calms her and makes her fall asleep. Yesterday and Monday we played that music almost endlessly because she was whining so much and seemed so uncomfortable. BIG forward movement!

And one more big positive thing – she peed on her own this morning! Granted, she peed all over herself and the crate bed while she was lying down, but who cares! We didn’t have to try to express her again, and that’s all that matters. She HATED that. We were about fifteen minutes from trying to express her when DD looked in her crate and saw darkness on the fleece blanket – hurrah! We removed the bedding and while DD cleaned Daisy up on a clean wee wee pad, I changed her bedding.

Daisy post op first pee

We got the idea of how to set up Daisy’s bedding from a wonderfully helpful site called Dodgerslist.com. He’s a vet who owns rescue dachshunds, so he’s very experienced with dogs’ back issues and surgeries. Daisy’s bedding consists of a piece of memory foam cut to the size of the crate floor – this is wrapped securely in a trash bag. On top of the trash bag is a wee wee pad, and wrapped around that is a doubled-over fleece blanket, firmly taped to the underside of the crate floor.

The fleece blanket had a nice little wet patch, but when I unwrapped it, I was thrilled to discover that the entire big wee wee pad was completely soaked and heavy! What a relief! We praised her like crazy so hopefully she’ll keep going on her own.

The left rear leg is still dragging. It’s really pathetic to watch her trying to shift herself around in the crate, dragging that leg that’s twisting underneath her. She manages, but it just breaks my heart. To see a formerly functional leg dragging like this is tough on a softie like me. I keep wanting to run over and help her, but the surgeon said definitively not to. ::sigh::

This was Daisy yesterday - you can see how her position shows how uncomfortable she felt.

This was Daisy yesterday – you can see how much suffering was going on.

This is Daisy today. Just one day difference and she looks less pained and more comfortable.

This is Daisy today. Just one day difference and she looks less pained and more comfortable.

Daisy’s appetite is still quite diminished, but that was to be expected. We don’t want to overfeed her because of her lack of activity and the peanut butter that she’s getting with her meds. The surgeon said the worst thing would be if she gained weight right now. And since she hadn’t been eating much in the hospital, we also didn’t want to shock her shrunken stomach with too much food or make her vomit; I imagine that would be extremely painful after spinal surgery. So we feed her 10-20 pieces of kibble 2-3 times a day, depending on what she’ll tolerate. We keep checking to make sure we can’t feel her ribs too prominently or any other signs of too much weight loss. So far so good.

We’re managing with the Tramadol through the method I talked about in Day 2, but we’re keeping all of your wonderful suggestions in our back pocket in case this eventually fails.

The incision is looking good.

So here’s the story of The Incident.

We have moved our computers into the family room on folding tables so we can be with Daisy while we work. Everything in the room has been shifted so her crate is in the middle with plenty of room for us to access it and soft ramps we built leading to her doors. (We couldn’t care less what a wreck it looks like, we’d do anything for our sweet girl!)

Now that you have the picture…

DD was maneuvering Daisy out of her crate after her heroic pee. Poor Daisy was afraid she was going to be expressed again and wasn’t making it easy. Once she got her limp leg clear of the crate, DD moved quickly backward in a crouched position and slammed into a folding table behind her – that just happened to have my full cup of coffee on it – very black coffee. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you the result:

Whatever next?!

Whatever next?!

What the heck, after all this is over, that carpet is getting shampooed anyway!

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Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal: Day 2

I’m behind in posting this, it was supposed to go up last night at the end of Day 2, but I was hoping to have some pics to share. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to crop and define them, so this is just text. Sorry about that! Tonight’s post for Day 3 will be better.

There was a little less whining during the night Tuesday night, which we’re taking as a good sign. Daisy is doing a fair bit of panting, though, which may be due to pain or perhaps it’s a side effect of the meds.

Moving around is very difficult for her because of that limp back leg. She just kind of drags it or just drags her entire rear end around without picking it up as she turns in circles to rearrange herself; once in a while we’ll see her pick it up but not bend it or use it at all. If it wasn’t for that leg, she’d be doing much better. She seemed to have trouble staying comfortable today and there was a bit more whining in the daytime.

We’re feeling generally positive, though – the incision looks good and Daisy’s affect is much better than before surgery. At that time, her ears hung limply (far different from a relaxed look), she barely moved, and she had a constant “help me”, pained expression. It was pathetic and heartbreaking. Now, even though she’s enduring a painful recovery and difficult treatments, like being expressed totally against her will, being taken out of the crate twice a day which causes a lot of discomfort for her, and having to take meds she hates, when she’s lying in the crate her ears are perkier, her eyes are brighter, and the “help me” look is gone. Blessings, every single one.

The unexpected “oh dear” issue. Gas. Really putrid, nasty clouds of the stuff – and there’s no escape, we have to stay in the room with her! (Now that’s love LOL!) Daisy hasn’t pooped since she got home, but they didn’t expect her to until Wednesday (tomorrow, but I can’t see it happening). Last night when the vet taught DD and DH how to express Daisy for pee, he checked her colon and found it empty, so he wasn’t at all concerned that she hasn’t pooped. However, she’s passing gas that would knock a T-Rex on its butt. And of course it’s cold out, so we can’t even open windows. Oh, the sacrifices!

Licking bald spots. A good portion of Daisy’s front leg is shaved from where the IV was, and she’ll start licking it. I allow a little bit of it, but then I have to stop her because too much licking can cause hot spots and infection. The absolute last thing we need. Thank goodness she can’t reach her shaved and sutured back!

Tramadol battle. We use natural, organic peanut butter, which is much softer than regular brands. We’ve found that adding crushed Tramadol in with the peanut butter and then freezing it for about ten minutes makes it just solid enough for us to get it far enough into her mouth that it immediately softens and she starts mushing it with her tongue, then swallows it. She pulls a face, but it’s in her! We’ll see if we can keep getting away with that, she has a long way to go on this med. If this starts to fail (aka, if she starts outsmarting us with this method too), we’ll try putting the crushed pill in hamburger.

Acknowledgement! When Daisy heard her buddy barking from down the street, she picked her head up and took notice with her ears raised to half mast – something that she didn’t do in the days before surgery or yesterday. She didn’t bark – the only sounds she makes so far are whining and moaning – but she did become alert, which we’re taking as another positive sign.

Expressing. Daisy really hates this process, but we have to do it until she goes on her own. DD got a small puddle out of Daisy at noon, but nothing came out tonight. Daisy didn’t drink a lot, but still, dogs usually have something saved up. If we can’t get anything out of her by 11 AM tomorrow, we’ll have to take her back to the hospital for help with it again. We really hate to put her through that – going there is always so traumatic for her.

And with all that, Day 2 is finally over and done. At this pace, it’ll feel like a year before the 8 weeks are over!

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Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal: Day 1

First off, I can’t thank you all enough for your words of encouragement and support. When I feel low and painfully worried (which happens often), I reread all your kind words, and they really help. Thank you for always being here for us.

We’re journaling Daisy’s recovery, at first day-by-day so we can keep track of everything. Hopefully as the days go by, things will “normalize” and our updates won’t be quite as frequent. I hope to put up some “fun” posts in between!

Daisy’s surgery went well, she has a long incision down her back that we need to keep an eye on, but so far it’s doing well. If you hate seeing sewn-up incisions, scroll past this photo!

Daisy post op incision

There was a 95% chance of a positive outcome from the surgery, and Daisy is doing relatively well except for the fact that her back left leg isn’t working well yet. It’s just kind of hanging and flopping a bit, and when she’s lying down it’s in freaky positions, but the neurosurgeon said not to rearrange it. We weren’t sure if it was paralyzed, which really scared us, but today we saw her move it a little bit, so we’re hopeful.

Monday, 12/7 – First Full Day Home

Today felt about a week long, mostly because even though the hospital gave us great instructions and written information, there are always things that are different from what’s written as well as problems you run into along the way. We’re adjusting, but I feel like it’s going to be a very long 8 weeks. (Total healing could take a year or so.)

Calming the whining – We’re not hearing any of the horrible loud, constant crying and yiping or pathetic pained facial expressions that went on around the clock for two days after Daisy’s meniscus/ACL tear surgery. That’s what we were expecting this time. But it’s not as bad – there are extended periods of whining that sometimes get a bit louder. We did some research and discovered music specifically modulated to heal and calm dogs, created by a neurosurgeon along with a composer. The one we got is harp music (Harp of Hope: Animal Therapy Edition) – and it’s miraculous! We put it on when Daisy is whining and within five minutes, she’s in a deep sleep that lasts for a good half hour. There’s also piano music created the same way called Through a Dog’s Ear that will be our next purchase.

Daisy post op spine 1

Eating – For some reason, Daisy won’t chew her kibble. We can’t give her canned food because it gives her diarrhea, so we’re soaking her kibble to make it soft and mushy. One problem overcome! She won’t eat much, her appetite is affected by the pain, the meds, and her inactivity (which the vet said was normal), so we give her what she’ll take a few times a day. She eats about 10-20 pieces each time, and we’re happy just to see she has any appetite at all.

Meds – Daisy refuses to take her Tramadol pain med, even smothered in peanut butter or pumpkin. We tried mushing it into her softened kibble, but she’s actually sniffing each kibble and rejecting the one with the Tramadol – complete with a shiver when she smells it. We thought we’d gotten one into her this morning, but we discovered that this little sneak of ours had dropped it and laid on top of it, hiding it from us. She has had no pain medication since we brought her home Sunday afternoon. This is when its difficult to have a smart dog – they know exactly how to get around whatever they don’t want! We have been able to get the Prednisone into her, though. That Tramadol must taste horrible!

Going Potty – Nothing since we’ve brought her home. The neurosurgeon said that if she didn’t pee for any 24-hour period, we had to express her or she runs the risk of a UTI, plus a full bladder presses on the spine and causes more pain. This is something we’ve never done, so we watched some YouTube videos about it and also read the instructions the vet gave us. Of course, it did come down to this, but we couldn’t get it to work. So we had to run her back to the hospital tonight so they could show us what to do – fortunately they’re a 24-hour emergency hospital, so doctors are always there. They’re extremely compassionate and helpful – they encourage us to call any time of the day or night if we have questions or concerns, and to bring her in if we feel the need to have someone see her. I can’t tell you how comforting that is.

It wasn’t a pleasant experience with the expressing – the vet found that Daisy’s bladder was so overly full, it was dangerous. He showed DD how to express her – we’re supposed to be able to feel the bladder, but we can’t feel it (nor could he) because her abdomen muscles are so tight and firm. He helped DD do it, but Daisy yiped and screamed and even tried to bite him. It was horrible, but it got done. Now we’ll have to try to do it ourselves, but he told us that if we still have trouble with it, we can bring her in any time of the day or night. These doctors are truly a blessing for us.

Physical movement – Being confined to 8 weeks of strict crate rest doesn’t allow for much, but then again Daisy doesn’t want to move anyway. We have to use a sling on her back end and hold her so that only her hind toes touch the ground and her front legs do all the walking (of which there are only a few steps a day). Her left back leg is limp right now, but today we saw some encouraging small movements driven by the thigh muscle. She can’t put any weight on it at all, but clearly it’s not paralyzed. When she rearranges herself in her crate, she just kind of drags her back end around. We have faith that this will be temporary.

Daisy post op sling

We were told by the neurologist that improvements should happen by the week, not by the day. Yet we saw a couple of small improvements today already, so we’re very encouraged. We’re dreading having to express Daisy three times a day until she pees on her own, and like new parents, we’re still waiting for her first poop, which might not be until midweek.

Onward to Day 2 tomorrow.

 

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Daisy has taken a big turn for the worse; please pray for her

We’re asking our blogging friends for a lot of POTP right now. Daisy is in surgery for a severely misaligned and swollen disc. She’s only 5 years old.

For the past week she’s had back pain again and was on meds, but they didn’t do much good. Yesterday she could barely raise her hind quarters without great effort, and she preferred to lie in one spot for hours. Going down one tiny step to the outdoors made her screech.

We knew this wasn’t good. She was moving backward instead of forward, even on meds. We made an emergency appointment with our dear vet, who did some tests and discovered this was a neurological problem. It could be one of three things: a disc issue (bad but not impossible), a tumor (very bad), or a blood clot (the worst). He called an excellent neurologist and sent us straight over to her.

Her first assessment was that with high-powered meds and 8 weeks of crate rest, things could get better, but she could also become paralyzed suddenly. She would also run this risk for the rest of her life. Or we could opt for surgery, with a 95 percent chance of recovery. If Daisy were to become paralyzed, the odds went down to 50/50.

We authorized an MRI so we could make an educated decision; it showed a severely misaligned disc with a lot of swelling. At that point she pretty much took the choice away from us – without surgery, paralysis was a very real possibility and Daisy would definitely live her life in pain. Constant pain.

We wanted to avoid surgery at all costs, but we couldn’t. She’s in surgery now and if she does well, we bring her home Sunday for 8 weeks of crate rest (and some frightening things the surgeon said we’ll see, but we’ll talk about them as they happen).

Meanwhile we are praying harder than we ever have in our lives. We’re asking our wonderful blogging friends to send positive thoughts and prayers to Daisy for a successful surgery and full recovery. We need our sweet little girl to get through this and be her silly little self again. Nothing would be the same without her.

Daisy

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