Keep safe!

Keep safe!
You are responsible for your own safety and that of your dog. The walks listed in this blog are not detailed guides. Plan your route! Click the landrover image for safety advice from Bowland Pennine MRT.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

16 days after TTA surgery

16 days on. Still appears to be going well. Leg is bearing weight when walking and continues to look better when standing. 

Today was the first close encounter with one of his four legged friends on our estate. He was desperate to play and I had to hold his collar tightly to stop him springing around. Guess he has hit the point now when he feels much better. From what I read we have in some ways hit the time of highest risk, when dogs feel better and owners relax. 

We left the dog without cone on Friday whilst we were out. The 'dog cam' revealed he spent several hours preening himself, including a good lick of his knee. I suspect all that licking made him queesy as his dinner came back up almost immediately last night - something that has never happened in his 10 year life before. Although the stiches had been out since Monday I decided to put the cone back on last night. Tonight is his first coneless night so we'll see how he gets on. 

Still in his pen most of the time but we've sat in the lounge, which is carpeted rather than tiled, for much of the day. The kitchen floor is tiled and very slippery for him so the foam mats we got to make his pen are a 'must'. Having said that, with his nighttime setup (see photo) he has a choice of beds which look good enough for a human to sleep on!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2 weeks after TTA surgery

It's 2 weeks today since I left our dog at the referral centre for his TTA surgery, and 2 weeks tomorrow since his operation. Time then for some reflection on the first two weeks after surgery. 

At this point in time all seems well. The stitches were taken out by our local vet yesterday. She thought there was a little swelling on the knee so a further weeks antibiotics were prescribed and we have a follow up with our vet next week. I wasn't concerned, the swelling, very slight, around the stitches, wasn't a great concern, but I agreed with her that better to err on the safe side given the implications should any infection take hold. It's a bit scabby where the skin has joined so again better to know that the healing process gets a helping hand. 

He still doesn't put all his weight on his leg, particularly when standing, but there are now times when his pad is properly on the floor, with some spread of his toes, the best sign we have its bearing weight. In a nutshell, it no longer looks 'lame', which is great. 

Walking wise, he is still on three walks a day, up to 10 minutes. They are very slow and we don't get far obviously, but he generally looks ok, far better than he did pre op. We are very very careful and avoid close contact with other dogs, holding his collar to stop any possible jumping if we can't. His walk isn't perfect, a long way to go yet, but better than I had expected. 

He remains in his pen whenever in the house, other than an occasional trip to the lounge (where it is carpeted) but still on the lead. You'll see photos of the pen on this blog. It has been great!  He has space to move but has been completely protected when someone knocks at the door, friends are round and when we are just getting on with stuff. 

Between me and my better half we have taken holidays to ensure he hasn't been on his own for the past two weeks. To be honest, I think we could have left him in the past few days. We did go out for an hour or two on Sunday to get him used to us not being there 24/7. For my birthday this year (before the problems started) I got a 'pet cam' which means we can keep an eye on him from our phones, it is proving really useful to check what he gets up to, which in the main is sleeping!

The comfy cone has been great, and is still on when he is unsupervised. Hopefully we'll see the back of that by the weekend. 

Perhaps the biggest challenge of the past two weeks has been nighttime. We have a 'soft' dog who has sleep upstairs in the bedroom for most of his 10 year life. Being left downstairs just doesn't work for him so we have a choice. Sleep downstairs, carry him up every night, or let him howl and cry all night!  For the past two weeks one of us has taken the sleep downstairs option. It's not a good long term option and at some point we or he is going to have to do something different. Yes, of course I could just leave him and apply the method I used when he was a pup, with a quick squirt of water when he whines at night to shut him up, before going back upstairs to bed. Not an option I'd choose after 10 years though. We made the choice to have him with us so now we need to take some ownership of the consequences. Imagine if you'd had your leg broken and pinned a few weeks ago and you were told you had to stay on your own in the kitchen all day and all night, and if you complained you got water squirted in your face!  Not going to happen in our household! 


Saturday, April 23, 2016

9 days after TTA Surgery:

It's a week and a half since the dog had TTA surgery for a partially ruptured cruciate ligament. 

Progress still seems good. Outwardly, the hair on his shaved leg has started to grow back so it's less obvious he has had recent surgery. His knee looks fine. No redness or swelling and stitches still fine. Hopefully they will be out the day after tomorrow. He seems happy, other than the confinement to his pen. His pen has though been one of the most important features of the last week or so. He has always had the run of the house, and slept upstairs. Stairs are a complete no no and our kitchen come living area has tiles which can be slippery. The foam mats and pet pen from Amazon and eBay have been a godsend. Without them we would not have coped with people coming to the door without serious risk of him injuring himself. 

He now sleeps well. The comfy cone is on whenever we are not watching him. The hard plastic cone is redundant but still there should he take a persistent liking to fussing his stitches. 

We have stuck well to three 10 minute walks a day. It is enough, and at times I continue to worry whether his is straining other legs. Walks feel relatively low risk though. It's when he gets in a boisterous mood in the house that he bounces around the most. As I've said, he is in a pen so we have done what we can to limit the risk, but it still makes for a tense moment when he senses food is about to be served. 

Whilst walking he bears weight on his leg but still tiptoes a lot when standing. It does look better than it did, but I will be glad to see him put his foot fully flat and put weight on it over the next few weeks. 

My better half has three more days off, after which we'll both be back at work. Happily we have our friends at Home Comfort Pets who will look in on him a couple of times and take him for a lunchtime walk later next week.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

1 week after TTA surgery

It's now a week since the dog's TTA surgery for a partially ruptured cruciate ligament. 

We are still on 10 minute slow walks three times a day. He is coping well with them, with hardly any limp. When standing he is putting a very little more weight on his hind leg but he is already much more steady in his pen or turning on his bed to make himself comfortable. 

The stitches still look good. There has never been any discharge from them or excessive redness or swelling around his knee. They don't seem to bother him much but he will try to lick them occasionally if his cone isn't on, so he wears it whenever he is unsupervised and at night. 

We are booked in at our local vets to have the stitches taken out on Monday, and also booked in at the Referral Centre to have follow up X-Rays in 3 weeks time. 

The dog doesn't like the confinement of his pen much, even though it keeps him to the area where his bed has always been positioned during the day. Of course that's probably because he used to spend all day on the sofa, ignoring his bed!

Happily, some time off work has meant we can now spend a while sat in the garden, with him tied to a short lead on my leg. It's nice (for us both) to be outside though having been stuck inside for so long. 

Nighttime is now fine. He has slept all through the last two nights thankfully!

Monday, April 18, 2016

4 days after TTA surgery

There's a trend developing if you hadn't noticed - nighttime blogging!  

Another good day of post TTA operation recovery. All three walks were excellent. The hardest thing now is that he is becoming a bit more confident and wants to go further than allowed in the time we have. My aim is to get to 'the' big tuft of grass where our local cycle track meets the road, a favourite spot for the dog unsurprisingly.  His aim is now to get to the concrete settings of the crash barrier a little further down the road, also a favourite dog spot!  Needless to say, I win, but only after gentle but firm persuasion to turn him round and head back. 

He looks more steady in his pen now. He often doesn't put much weight on his leg when making himself comfortable turn on his bed, but, when his cone is off, has used it to gently scratch his neck. I take this as a good sign that movement is getting easier and not painful. I thinks it's incredible given the inside of his leg looks something like this (not his X-ray)

No poo today, but I'm sure that will happen again. 

The comfy cone was delivered, and looks the part. It seems to be sturdy enough for him not to be able to get to his stitches (he isn't really bothered in them anyway) and must be so much more comfortable than the plastic cone. Sadly though he still cries after an hour or two with it on, so after an early night he woke me up at 12.00 where I spent 20 minutes or so calming him, then briefly at 2.00am and 4am. By 4am I figured I've had a good 4 hours sleep so (relatively) not bad. Sure I'll get another few hours in later!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

3 days after TTA surgery

Today (can I say that at 4am?) was the dog's second day home, the third since his cruciate operation. I'm getting used to this view!

Our three very short walks went amazingly well, having left the confines of the garden each time and venturing a short way down the road. We haven't actually crossed a road though, so all entirely on the flat. His gait is good and if it were not for his shaved leg others would have not noticed anything wrong with him. 

The biggest issue so far is that he hasn't slept much with his cone on. He cries and ends up pretty distressed after a while. The upshot of that is that most of the time either me or my better half have sat with him, only using the cone when we are distracted, or when I've been asleep. 

Thursday night was the worst, with about 45 minutes sleep. Friday was 2.5 hours or so and having gone to sleep at midnight I was woken by loud wimpering at 3am. After an hour or so of cuddles and licks he has now just fallen asleep, minus cone, so I'll be sat here for an hour or two before I might stick it back on an try to get some sleep myself. Happily, no work for a few days so I can catch 40 winks "whenever".

A "comfy cone" is being delivered today so maybe tomorrow nights sleep will be better. It really is important though that he can't get to those stitches until they come out!

His knee still looks good. No major swelling or redness. No discharge. Couldn't imagine it could be any better. 

The 'pen' we made is serving it's purpose well. He is confined to a small area even when we are in, so no problem with him leaping up if someone's at the door, trying to get on furniture or racing across our tiled kitchen floor. At night I've moved a bed from his crate so he doesn't bang around in it with his cone. He is such a soft dog though that he still taps the bars from time to time to tell us he is fed up in it and wants human contact. We are such soft owners that we hop over the low fence for a cuddle in his pen!  Character wise he is back to normal though, very affectionate and "needy". 

Oh, I nearly forgot, you may have read that your dog might not have a bowel movement for some time after surgery. His first was this afternoon. Lots of it but reasonably firm. Dog owners will understand the significance of this momentous occasion 😊.

Let's hope this good progress continues!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

2 days after TTA surgery

The first night was harder than expected. I slept for 45 minutes or so. Every time I tried to sleep the poor dog cried so I sat and watched whilst he eventually settled. 

Although booked off work I had wondered whether I'd get some things done at home. It wasn't to be given my zombie-like state for most of the day. 

But enough of me. The dog is doing ok. He happily ate breakfast this morning and has been drinking as normal. We had a walk around the garden for 5 to 10 minutes this morning and again this afternoon. This evening we ventured a few minutes down the road. From previous posts you'll have seen that our surgeons advice is 10 minutes walk three times a day, for the first four weeks. He is putting some weight on his leg and already limps less than he did pre op. 

This afternoon he allowed me to sleep for nearly two and a half hours without crying. Very welcome! Sadly tonight he has had me awake after just an hour or so of sleep, so it's now 1.15am and I am very tired. Now I'm awake the dog is sleeping like a baby!

I think the cause of today's crying isn't the pain in his leg, it's the cone of shame. He tollerates it well when it first goes on but after an hour he clearly finds it uncomfortable, hence the crying which ends the second it's off. When he woke me tonight he was clearly distressed, panting heavily and needing affection. I wish I had bought a comfy-cone, although I have heard that not all dogs take to them either and they are not always as effective as the plastic e-collar. I would like to try though as sleep is becoming a priority and I dare not risk shutting my eyes to sleep when he has no collar on. 

The knee itself looks pretty good at the moment. The light dressing came off today, so I can now see the stitches. Of course it looks very sore but not nearly as bad as I had feared, having seen Google photos of dogs with bright red extensive bruising and swelling. His looks pretty neat and tidy. 

The yellow is iodine of course, not bruising. 

So, all in all, a good day apart from sleep deprivation!

Friday, April 15, 2016

1 day after TTA surgery - the middle of the night

So, the time is now 2.42am.  Tonight's learning (so far) s:
- it clearly hurts after a major operation. It is very likely your dog will cry, at least until 2.42am
- the cone of shame may stop your dog from getting comfy, but unless you want to risk seeing metalwork when you wake up, put it on
- don't assume you will sleep. Why should you if your dog can't 
- by 2.46am, if you've given up on sleeping and taken the cone off, your dog might be a bit more comfortable and sleep for a while
- start a blog, it will give you something to do and stop you falling asleep yourself whilst the dog has respite from the cone of shame
- don't be sad if your dog still hasn't looked you in the eye

Thursday, April 14, 2016

TTA Surgery - Discharge day

So, the TTA operation took place for his cruciate yesterday. The surgery said they would update between 5 and 7pm. Happily, at 5.02pm they called to say he was in recovery and would soon be back on the ward, so last night was a good night. 

Today they said they'd call soon after 10am for an update and to confirm discharge arrangements. At about 10.15am I was given the OK to pick him up tonight. 

After some helpful words from the surgeon and a look at the impressive metalwork on X-Ray the nurse brought him in. Poor dog was shaking and looked most unhappy. He was walking though, without any support, and already putting more weight on his leg than he has for which was great to see. No sign of a wag though, and I'm not convinced he's looked me in the eye yet!

Having cried in the car all the way home he seemed pleased to be back and after a big drink has been flat out on his bed for the past hour, with just the occasional whine. 

In terms of post operative advice it was simple can clear.
- use common sense
- confine to a small area or crate overnight or when unsupervised 
- follow advice on pain killers and antibiotics 
- use the cone of shame when unsupervised or first sign he's interested in stiches
- he has a light dressing which comes off tomorrow 
- 10 minute lead walks 3 times a day (which can start tomorrow - I was happily surprised!)
- no stairs for a month
- stiches out by our own vet in 10 to 14 days
- back to the surgeon for a review in 4 weeks
- call if there are any problems (we have the surgeon's mobile number - not just the surgery
- I don't need (or advised to use) the support harness I bought from eBay - might come in useful one day I suppose

So, at this point all seems as good as it could be. As I write he's had a little bit of food, which is reassuring. Fingers crossed for a good nights sleep (for me) on the sofa!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Preparing for TTA surgery

Funny how this blog has shifted from walks to 'life events'. I wasn't really sure whether I wanted to blog today, but it seemed right. 

This afternoon I checked the dog in to veterinary hospital for a cruciate operation. Since January he has been increasingly struggling and despite 6 weeks or so of rest, with just 5 minute walks, his limp has got progressively worse to the extent that I can see it is putting massive strain on his 'good' hind leg. It's taken a while to get a firm diagnosis as its a partial tear rather than a complete tear. Seems to be degenerative rather than as a result of a mad moment, so also a 50% chance the other will go at some point in the next 18 months or so. 

Anyway, after considering options I decided that if I were limited to 5 minute walks, having been active just 3 months ago, and things were getting worse rather than better, I'd want it fixed!

The procedure is going to be TTA, done tomorrow at some point. Hopefully we'll have him home on Thursday.  Having spent hours myself googling on the subject of cruciates I'll do what many others have helpfully done and blog my experience. 

So far, key points for me have been:
- this is a time when you're glad you have insurance
- ultimately, you have to come to your own view as to whether to go down a surgical or non surgical route
- if you have a tiled floor get a load of interlocking foam mats from Amazon or EBay
-,Remember where you put the crate you used when your dog was a puppy
- create a nice safe area in anticipation of the mad dash for the doorbell 

Here is our setup

Over next next few months, God willing, I'll blog how we got on.