Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

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

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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