Sunday, July 12, 2015

Crate Rest Hump Day and Staple Removal

I began writing about Tulla’s DPO to give other people who are facing the same experience information about what to expect.  In the weeks leading up to the surgery, I scoured the internet for anyone who could provide a clue of what to expect.  And now that we made it through week two, I understand why no one wrote about it.  There really is nothing to tell.

From the first days she could walk and squat to potty.  I took her off pain meds in 3 days just to try to keep her from jumping around.  So far, it seems like the biggest irritant has been the hair growing back and getting itchy….

We still have two more weeks of crate rest, but now that we have survived the first two, and have passed “hump day,” we are getting the hang of it.   She is a little stir crazy and wanting to get out, so we are playing more games, and trying to take more slow and easy walks around the yard.  But sort of like letting a dieter have one lick of an ice cream cone, it just makes her want more.  She stands and looks at the pool, wanting to jump in, and she carries one of the smaller jolly balls around, hoping that someone will throw it for her. 

Our check up and staple removal went well, and in one month we return for x-rays to tell us how much the bone has healed and of course, admire how nicely that hip joint fits together.  Once we get that report, we will begin making decisions on any necessary rehab and begin returning to normal.

On the “keeping Tulla busy” front, she now has about 5 new tricks, and we are looking for ideas for more.  Despite all the hours she has spent there, she is still willingly going into her crate and waiting patiently to come out (thanks to the two Sues- Susan Garrett and my friend Sue who bought us “Crate Games” in the first place).  That alone has been invaluable. 

I will probably make one more post, following her x-rays in August, but beside that, this is the story that isn’t.  I continue to be shocked at how she has taken this whole thing in stride.  And I’m very thankful for the hands of a skilled surgeon that made this possible in the first place. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ten Days Post bilateral DPO

I certainly appreciate how well Tulla is doing. We leave the cone off when we are around her, and she has not tried to do anything to her incisions.  She is completely off pain meds, and has a great attitude all the time- even in her crate. She moves smoothly through sits, downs, and stands showing no signs of lameness. 
Despite using every mealtime to teach new tricks through, it continues to get more and more difficult to keep her quiet.  It seems that she is significantly more over reactive to things that she would normally not react to.  For instance, if there is a bird or a squirrel in the yard, we have to lift her from the floor or she will attempt cartwheels at the door.  Today, Greg left the mower in the yard and she had to point this out, loudly and with all vigor- charging the mower.  It's like she has all this energy pent up inside and it just spills over once in a while.  Nevertheless, in the big scheme of things, this is a very small problem.

I did manage to get a few photos today and it is easy to see how ready she is to be off leash by how hard she is pulling against her collar.  We let her carry the Jolly Ball around for a while, but had to take it away when she decided to shake it.  I'm thinking that doesn't fit in the "crate rest" plan.
Four days until our first checkup and removal of staples.  It seems like the forward-most parts of her incision pull a lot when she squats to pee, so I'm a little anxious about what happens when the staples are removed.   But I guess that by two weeks it should be healed enough. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Week One.

I remember people saying “the hardest part of this surgery is keeping your dog quiet and I totally underestimated this.  We were told “crate rest” for 4 weeks, with only a short walk to potty and this has proven to be extremely difficult.  The moment she hits the backyard it is GAME ON!  I have begun to take her out once in a while on a prong collar to prevent her from “digging in” with her hind legs to pull.   And as soon as she goes potty and we start to move back to the door, she is distracted by EVERYTHING.   She picks up every leaf, stick, rock, and bug she can find and will toss them in the air to catch.  And as each day goes by, it is getting more and more difficult to keep her quiet.  In fact, if we let her go, she would gladly get the zoomies, running and jumping like crazy.

But here are some lessons that we have already learned that may help someone else prepare for this:
·         Crate training long before the surgery is an absolute must.  Thanks to a puppy gift from a friend, months ago we did the Susan Garrett “Crate Games” and thankfully Tulla will go willingly into her crate and wait patiently to come out.  Without these 2 skills, we would be in deep, deep trouble.

·         As a puppy, Tulla jumped up on people to great them, and while we were breaking that habit, I wish that I had completely eliminated it before the surgery.   We cannot walk near anyone else or she will try to get over to them and jump up. 

·         We have 2 “puzzle” games (one from a friend and one from my daughter).  Between this and trick training (next), Tulla has not eaten out of a bowl since we got home.  It isn’t a lot of exercise, but it does give her something “to do”

·         After a whining Facebook comment about how I am struggling with the crate rest, a friend sent me a youtube link of a bunch of tricks that you could train to a crate bound/mobility impaired dog.  This has been working very well!  But because of her reduced exercise, I can’t load her up on treats, so she “works” for her dinner.  She has already learned two tricks using her dinner and a clicker.

·         I’ve learned that she is more difficult to keep quiet when she is on pain meds.  Therefore, we have reduced them away and she is now on only antibiotics and NSAIDs.  No more pain meds. This surprises me-I thought the Tramadol would have a sedating effect.  It did not.    

·         The most important thing I’ve learned is that a network is THE most valuable aid that you have.  Between puzzle games and hints on tricks, I have had people to whine to when I’m at the end of my rope, people to encourage us both, and people to ask “what do you think about this?”

On last Sunday night, my husband said “well at least we are through the first week” and I said “no, this was only 4 days!” and he said “well it seems like a week already!”   This sort of sums up how it is going at our house.  Tulla seems to be recovering nicely while we continue to struggle and worry.  

Pictures this weekend, I promise!