Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

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

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

47 Comments »

Daisy Performs Microsurgery

When Daisy was a puppy, she thought it was her official duty to unstuff stuffed plush toys. It took her all of 10-20 minutes on even the supposedly toughest of the lot. And there were a LOT.

Now that she’s four years old, she’s got a little more respect for soft toys and they can last for months. However, Daisy has developed a new skill – she’s become a microsurgeon.

Now this won't hurt a bit...

Now this won’t hurt a bit…

She received her honorary title because where she used to cause total destruction, she now has targeted destruction with extremely minimal stuffing removal. How she chooses her targets, we don’t know, but clearly certain toys – and only certain toys – require very precise surgical skills. It’s almost like she just wants to see what’s inside, then leaves it there.

SpiderMan clearly required some microsurgery to his arm

Evidently SpiderMan required some microsurgery to his arm

And Pinky obviously had an issue that Dr. Daisy the microsurgeon was able to correct.

And Pinky obviously had an issue that Dr. Daisy the microsurgeon was able to correct.

But once in a while, major surgery is required, and Dr. Daisy steps up to the plate.

Pinky's ears must have been problematic, because both needed removal by Dr. Daisy.

Pinky’s ears must have been problematic, because both needed removal by Dr. Daisy.

I’m happy to report that all surgically altered toys are still smiling and happy and seem to have suffered no ill side effects from Dr. Daisy’s medical talents. Whatever will she think of next??

We’re part of the Thursday Barks and Bytes blog hop!

2 Brown Dawgs

37 Comments »

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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Driving Miss Daisy….Back to the Vet

We decided to make a follow-up vet appointment a couple weeks early because we’re concerned that Daisy isn’t using her leg much at all, even when she stands still to eat (yes, we got her back to acting like a dog at mealtime again!). The original vet said she should have been using it more and more over the past couple weeks.

She still holds that leg up high.

She still holds that leg up high.

So we went back to our own vet to get his assessment. He’s a wonderful doctor and we trust him completely. He’s so much more interested in his patients’ health that he told us he wouldn’t charge us for any and all surgery follow-up visits, even though his office didn’t do the surgery. And he held true to his word. 🙂

The good news is that she’s healing well. Her reluctance to use her leg is normal because it’s still a bit painful at this point in the healing process.

He did a very detailed exam of her leg and said everything’s going perfectly. We can now allow her to walk all around the house, but she’s still not allowed to jump or run at all. This should be fun, especially since we tried it yesterday and she immediately got excited and hurt herself, even though we tried to keep her calm. This is NOT a low-key dog!

I guess they really are keeping my movements limited for my own good....

I guess they really are keeping my movements limited for my own good….

In another week, we’re to begin “physical therapy” in the form of taking her for walks in parks on uneven ground to force her to use the leg more for balance. Oh joy, more fun….especially in these freezing temps….

We asked him about the surgeon’s statement that Daisy has a 50/50 chance of developing arthritis in her youth because of this injury. He said that while it’s possible, the risk is far less than 50/50 because she’s a small dog of only 14 pounds, which reduces the tendency to contract arthritis from this injury. If she were to become overweight, that would be a different story. No problem there!

On the not-so-great-but-not-terrible side is that we have to put her back on painkillers in order to get her to use her leg more. Ten drops of a liquid med plus a quarter of the same painkiller she was on every day until we take her back to see him in another two weeks. Then he’ll make another assessment based on her progress at that point.

I guess I'll just keep hobbling along for now....

I guess I’ll just keep hobbling along for now….

But overall, it was a good report. We were very relieved to hear that her leg is healing well and normally. That will be our best Christmas present of all this year!

28 Comments »

Princess Daisy, or, How Surgery Spoiled This Dog

We think Daisy has become a Princess Puppy – she disagrees.
We say that surgery spoiled her, she says it didn’t.
She thinks she’s entitled to a softer life of entitlement because of all she’s been through.
We say it’s time she stands on her own 3-soon-to-become-4 paws and start acting like a dog again.

So we’re taking our case to the most fair court in the world – the Court of Blogging Buddies.

You, our blogging friends, are our judge and jury. We are officially filing our case with you.

IN THE COURT OF FAIR PLAY

FAMILY – Plaintiff

v

DAISY THE HAVACHON – Defendant

* * * * *
         CASE NO. 001-The-First-Of-Many
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

COMPLAINT

STATEMENT OF CLAIM
“Family”, both individually and combined, claimants herein, hereby file this claim against the above-named defendant and in support thereof states as follows:

FACTS
1. Daisy had to be given medication 3 times a day, camouflaged in pureed beef baby food, peanut butter, or cream cheese. This spoiled her into refusing to eat her kibble unless it was mixed with pureed beef baby food or rice.

2. Daisy couldn’t sit upright or stand for several days, so we had to feed her little amounts at a time of said kibble/baby food combination on a spoon and give her water her favorite way – via the guinea pig water bottle. This resulted in her refusing water in a bowl now that she’s sitting and standing up and refusing food unless it’s hand-fed to her.

3. Daisy couldn’t go potty on her own, so we had to carry her over to a wee-wee pad and support her back end so she could go. We never knew when she needed to go, so we took her several times a day, resulting in many sore backs. The result – now that we can walk her on a leash around the house, she drops and pees whenever and wherever she wants, despite the fact that we still put her on the wee-wee pad throughout the day AND we have wee-wee pads placed at strategic locations on her “walking path”. And she pees up a LAKE.

THEREFORE, we ask our blogging judges to rule – has surgery spoiled our Daisy and turned her into a Puppy Princess?

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I beseech you....

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I beseech you….

56 Comments »

Monday Mischief: The Dreaded CONE Has Appeared!!

Oh yes, it happened. The Cone of Shame has taken up residency in our home.

Daisy started licking at her stitches, and the vet happened to call to check up on her shortly after. We told her about it, and she said, “GET A CONE IMMEDIATELY!” So off DD went in search of a “comfy cone” – a soft cone that allows a dog to lie down comfortably without having a stiff foreign object around her head.

But of course, things are never that simple with Miss Daisy.

Just the opposite of the way she hangs her head and refuses to pick it up when we put a hooded coat on her, when the dreaded cone was put on, she raised her head skyward and refused to bring it back down. Like she thought she was wearing a sky funnel.

You're not serious with this thing?!

You’re not serious with this thing?!

Ever try getting a dog into a crate with their coned head sticking up like a giant flower? Daisy got stuck in the doorway hobbling in and got stuck hobbling out again.

When we got home from our brief outing, we found Daisy resting her chin on one of the crate bars rather than trying to lie flat like she usually does.

That's no halo, that's the cone's reflective edge!

That’s no halo, that’s the cone’s reflective edge!

Our solution is to start using our last dog’s crate; as she was close to 60 pounds, it’s a much bigger crate and will be far more comfortable for Daisy during her head-coned period.

There's a dog in there somewhere.....

There’s a dog in there somewhere….. She refused to lower her head!

Aside from that, I think Daisy’s coming along well. Of course she still can’t move around, but she’s starting to want to move around, which I think is a good sign. One of us has to always be sitting by her side to stop her from jumping up when she hears a sound that sets her off – she doesn’t realize her own limitations. However, she’s still experiencing some pain and we still have to give her pain meds when she needs them, but at least now we know what her pain signs are.

We’re finally back in the Monday Mischief Blog Hop!

37 Comments »

Turning The Corner?

I don’t want to speak too soon, but I believe we’re seeing some bits of improvement here!

Daisy’s whining is down to minimal amounts. We actually slept last night!
She’s learning to hobble on three legs in order to re-position herself on the couch.
She’s able to lie on her injured side, which she wasn’t able to put pressure on before. This allows her to find more comfortable positions.
Her eyes are less bloodshot.
The leg is less red, and the redness is confined to the incision area.
Not to be crude, but she finally went to the bathroom! (She also threw up, but I’m not surprised after not eating and taking all those meds.)
She’s acting more interested in what’s going on around her and is reacting to sounds again.

When I think about it, I realize we were actually blessed by having only one really rough day and night; other small dogs experience longer periods of severe pain, like our vet’s poor dog did. Yesterday I’d never have expected this much of a positive change.

Daisy's more upright and looking brighter today - compare that to yesterday's pitiful puppy!

Daisy’s more upright and looking brighter today – compare that to yesterday’s pitiful puppy!

We’re also extremely blessed with a wonderful, caring community of blogging friends who have been so caring, sympathetic, and attentive. I think all your positive thoughts and prayers helped! We thank everyone for their kind wishes, prayers and positive suggestions – you guys are the BEST community I could ever want. It gave me great comfort to read your comments throughout the day, as I sat here hour after hour feeling so helpless, worried, and occasionally weepy all day yesterday. Watching a loved one struggling with pain, confusion, fear, and discomfort is one of the hardest things to endure, especially when you can’t communicate to them what’s happening, why, what not to do, and that it will pass in time.

I know we have a long struggle ahead, but unless Daisy re-injures herself (NOOOOOO!!), I feel like the worst is behind us. Thank you so much for being there for us.

 

31 Comments »

Raising Injured Daisy

Daisy’s home!! Hooray! Our little family is complete once again.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that she’s suffering – a lot. And we’re suffering right along with her; we can’t stand to see her hurting. She’s in a lot of pain despite the painkillers she’s on.

DD and I were up all night last night with her. She’s constantly cry-whining pathetically, occasionally yiping, and always shifting around cautiously trying to find a less painful position.

We called the emergency vet last night around 1 AM – we were both in tears – and she was so kind and understanding. Turns out her small dog had ACL tears in both knees at different times, and she said some dogs go through recovery like nothing happened while others feel pain severely. Unfortunately, both her dog and ours are the latter. Also unfortunately, shy of taking her in for one more pain shot, there’s nothing we can do.

Daisy drank two bowls of water (!) and ate her dinner as normal last night, but today I can’t get her to eat her food, nor have we been able to get her to use the bathroom at all since she’s been home. Standing seems to exacerbate the pain even though she keeps that leg raised, and it’s hard for her to calm down afterward.

It’s heartbreaking to see her suffering so much. She keeps turning to me for help with those big, sad eyes, and there’s nothing more I can do. If I could take the pain away from her, I would do it in a second.

Please help me

Please help me

I'm so happy to be home again!

I’m so happy to be home again, but OUCH!

Hey! Don't take a picture of my nekked butt! (Looks like she's wearing a furry sock!)

Hey! Don’t take a picture of my nekked butt! (Looks like she’s wearing a furry sock!)

The source of the ouchies.

The source of the ouchies.

Comfy cozy with all the love of her family around her.

A brief moment of comfort.

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