Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

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

Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal – Neurosurgeon Follow-up Visit (Day 16)

Let’s get right to it – the neurosurgeon was thrilled with Daisy’s progress so far! Especially considering that she was in such iffy condition when we brought her home coupled with the fact that the surgeon had said we should only expect to see small improvements weekly, specifically NOT daily. BUT as you saw in this recovery journal, Daisy did make progress daily, and our little girl surprised even a highly experienced neurosurgeon.

The surgeon asked, “Can she walk a little for me?” DD put Daisy on the floor, and she tore across the room to run and hide behind me! I walked a little so Daisy would walk, and I must say, she put on her best show! The neurosurgeon was impressed with all of her progress. Still, Daisy has to have four more weeks of strict crate rest – we still have to carry her down to the curb to go potty, and no extended walks yet. But those four more weeks are shorter than were expected – it was supposed to be eight weeks of strict crate rest; two weeks were shaved off. 🙂

Her left rear leg did react to testing, which it wasn’t doing before the surgery. And that’s only after two weeks, so it will probably get even stronger and better over time.

AND – no more sling! We can take her on her short walks without using the sling at all – at this point it wasn’t holding her up anyway, it was just there in case she needed it and to give her confidence. Walking her and carrying her in and out will be much easier now.

And we can bathe Daisy and groom her – thank goodness! She’s getting a bit…::ahem::…scented these days…and her hair has gone wild without a trim!

LOOK AT THAT CRAZY BEARD!!

LOOK AT THAT CRAZY BEARD!!

That’s the good news – which is all the most important stuff anyway.

The medium news, which we can adjust to: no rough play, meaning no more tug-o-war, no more chasing toys, no more intense running – EVER. And while we can certainly eliminate those more high-powered activities, it’s going to be a battle getting Daisy to stop. Tug-o-war is her favorite game, and racing like a lunatic through the house is a favorite activity. We can ignore her prompts to play tug-o-war (though it’s hard not playing something with her that we know she loves, especially when she teases us with a toy), but how do we stop her from racing around? Maybe we’ll have to limit her to smaller areas of the house – lots of baby gates will be needed!

Also, though her incision is healing well, the surgeon said she seems to be having a bit of “suture reactivity”, meaning there are little bumps along the incision from the stitches under the skin (possibly an allergic reaction). It’s not bad, though, and we can put either Vitamin E or triple antibiotic cream on it to help it along. She said if we see little ends of stitches popping out through the incision anywhere, “just pull them out” – I think we’ll leave that to DH, he’s much better with icky stuff than we are! Hopefully we won’t have to deal with that anyway.

Peach fuzz is getting longer and softer, but doesn't this remind you of a fire break in the woods? :)

Peach fuzz is getting longer and softer, but doesn’t this remind you of a fire break in the woods? 🙂

The bad news: this could happen again. The surgeon said she’s seen dogs go through 2 or 3 disk surgeries in a lifetime, though it’s not common…but it can still happen. DD asked what we can do to prevent it, and the answer was “Nothing. If it happens again, it’s not your fault – this is a degenerative disk disease.” So while we will limit her activities, the surgeon said she could pop a disk just by stretching or walking off a curb. We’re praying it doesn’t happen again – mostly because we don’t want her going through that agony again, but also because our wallets can’t really handle any more expensive surgeries!

In my view, the good news far outweighs the bad news and the bad part may never happen anyway. So we’re happy, she’s happy, the surgeon is happy – our Christmas will be jolly! 😀

I got a good report from my surgeon - I'm a happy pup again! :D

I got a good report from my surgeon – I’m a happy pup again! 😀

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Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal – Day 13

Yet more progress today – Daisy tried to scratch her ear with her left back paw! She actually picked up the paw and made an attempt, but it wasn’t strong enough yet to do the job. So after a few slow, cautious swipes that either didn’t connect or were just too weak, she gave up. DD went over and gave her a good scratching, and did Daisy ever love it! Now I’m more sure than ever that her back leg will regain its strength and ability, and even if it ends up not being quite what it was, it will be enough for her to get around and use it. But hey, only two weeks ago she had NO use of it at all! 😀

And now when one of us comes home and goes straight to Daisy’s crate to pet and calm her, when we open the door she’s actually trying to come out! More good progress.

Cuddling with one of her favorite soft toys

Cuddling with one of her favorite soft toys

We go back to see the neurosurgeon on Monday, and I’m anxious to hear what she says. Daisy does want to walk more, so I hope she says we can do that. I know she’ll still be confined to her crate for another 4-6 weeks, but she’s very interested in her twice daily walks and is trying to walk faster (we’re not letting her do that until we get the okay from the doctor). DD only uses the sling as a precaution now, she doesn’t actually hold Daisy up with it. This little pup is doing it all on her own. 😀 😀

She also did a full shake-off today, and her tail is up again. Always a good sign!

Her favorite crate position  - always with her head on her little pillow. :)

Her favorite crate position – always with her head on her little pillow. 🙂

My wonderful holistic doctor, who has four big super-healthy dogs of his own and has done extensive studies on the dog version of holistic medicine, has given us a lot of good advice along with turmeric and probiotics to put in her food. So I feel like she’s getting the best care from every medical direction. 🙂

And on a lighter note, some peach fuzz is starting to grow in on her shaved back. 🙂 Meanwhile, the rest of her hair is growing out of control! Just wait til that first bath and grooming… 😉

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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 – 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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Monday Mischief: Cushy Doggy Prison

Now that Daisy is starting to feel better, she’s also starting to feel energetic. She thinks she can go right back to her normal activities, which of course she can’t, since her favorite normal activities are jumping and running. 🙂

The vet said this would be the most difficult time period to keep her still, and boy, was he ever right!

I know her leg still has a long way to go because she still won’t use it much, and if we pick her up the wrong way, she lets out a tiny little whimper. Fortunately that rarely happens.

BUT – during her energetic periods, it can be very hard to keep her from jumping off the couch. So we have to improvise and get a little help from our friend and Daisy’s enemy, The Gate. We expand it, turn it sideways and put it in front of her while one of us sits next to her on the couch, so she’s totally blocked in.

Drat! Foiled again!

Drat! Foiled again!

It may look like a Doggy Prison, but it certainly is a comfy one!

We’re part of the Monday Mischief Blog Hop!

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Back Home From Spay Surgery – Not a Happy Havachon

Well Daisy’s back in her own comfy home after her spaying on Friday. Thank you to everyone who expressed their concern and support!

You don’t know what I’ve been through!

I don’t remember my last dog having so much discomfort after her spay surgery, but then again, it was a long time ago and she was bandaged. Vets don’t like to bandage dogs anymore unless the incision starts bleeding, the dog starts chewing/biting at it, or it becomes infected.

We dropped Daisy off at 11 AM on Friday, and both DD and I were surprised at how teary we both got when we had to leave her behind. We followed our game plan of staying occupied – we went to one of our favorite local cozy lunch spots, then went to the mall and Starbucks (three cheers for Raspberry Mocha Lattes!!). That helped, though we did find ourselves checking our watches, waiting for 4:00, when we could call the vet and see how Daisy did.

The report we got was good, they said she did well and was coming out of the anesthesia. She was on a heating pad and covered in a blanket to keep her warm, which they said helps dogs come around faster and easier. Her favorite veterinary assistant was spending the night with her and a couple other dogs who’d been spayed that day, so we knew she was in good hands.

When we picked her up at noon Saturday, she looked pathetic. Her rash, which we still have no diagnosis for (the vet feels it’s either food related or fall related, but we won’t know until after her surgery has healed; I’m wondering if it’s the carpet cleaner from the last time we had the carpets done), got much worse because they had to shave the entire tummy area, which really irritated it. The spots are flaming red now. She also had a slight ear infection, caused by the rash (it’s common for dermatitis to affect the ears). So they took care of that, plucked more hair from inside her ears, and slathered her with an ointment that has her ear/neck area and tummy/leg areas disgustingly greasy.

And we can’t bathe her for 2 weeks. Ugh.

They also did a full blood work-up and removed 2 baby teeth that refused to come out on their own. She doesn’t seem to be feeling any after-effects from the tooth removals, yesterday she was chewing happily on a hard Nylabone.

She wasn’t as out of it as they thought she’d be on Saturday; in fact she was practically frantic when she got home and we could only get her to rest by sitting on the floor with her, which DH did most of the afternoon. Yesterday, Sunday, she was better and starting to move more freely.

But today she’s having a lot of discomfort and whining pathetically. She can’t walk normally – it looks like she’s trying to scratch with one hind leg while she walks. She also can’t lie down comfortably unless she’s curled on her side in her soft, cushioned bed, but I can’t get her to stay there. It seems to me that there must be some discomfort from the stitches and maybe itching from the skin and muscle starting to heal…? I’m watching for any signs of infection.

It’s pathetic though – she’s running weirdly in short bursts and whining, then trying to sit but can’t get comfortable, so it all repeats over and over again. She seems really agitated. She’s tired but ends up standing most of the time.

I hope this is normal for the second full day after surgery – any advice from fellow dog owners?

It’s so frustrating to see your puppy looking and feeling so awful and not be able to do anything to help!!

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