Sunday, May 29, 2016
Bank holiday weekend and gorgeous sunshine. We had another trip to Longton Brickcroft early this morning. The dog, who is still recovering well, managed a circuit of the main lake. The last time we managed that was February. Seems so long ago!
Thursday, May 26, 2016
A good week. Walking is good. Other than the telltale short hair on his leg you wouldn't know he'd had cruciate surgery if you saw us in the street. We can walk quite quickly, but have kept it calm so I have no idea yet what a trot or run would look like.
Standing, he still has a preference for his good leg but he can put weight on the operated leg if he chooses, normally when he is distracted through eating!
The wound, which had some problems along the way, is still a little scabby in parts but they are starting to fall away leaving clean looking healed skin underneath.
The main event this week was stairs. We have avoided them completely until now, which has been a bit of a nightmare given he has always slept upstairs. Sleep deprivation has affected all of us! This week I bought a couple of portable barriers from Mothercare meaning we can block him from going back down the stairs and also from the bedroom so he can sleep on the landing with no risk of him jumping on the bed. I helped him get up the stairs with a sling, although he looks as if he would cope without. Coming down was a case of carrying him as he wasn't up for trying a descent. Whether that was because it looked hard or whether he just didn't want to go downstairs I have no idea!
From tomorrow we are up to 25 minute walks 3 times a day. Maybe in the next week we will give him a bit more of a 'supervised' free reign in the house.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Every day gets better. This weekend each walk has been up to 20 minutes. Recovery continues to be incident free, not least as the dog is still in his cosy pen much of the time so he stays safe with our tiled kitchen floor.
We took the opportunity for a walk at Longton Brickcroft, not too far from home. The dog seemed delighted to be in different surroundings but with lots of sniffing and admiring of views going on 20 minutes wasn't going to get us round the lake. Pretty much perfect for an evening stroll though and feels like things are starting to return to normal.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
A largely uneventful week. To be able to do 15 minute walks has been brilliant. Tomorrow we go up to 20 minutes so plan a few trips out to Longton Brickcroft where we should just make it round the lake. It will be wonderful to go somewhere different!
His walking has noticeably improved this week. He walks more quickly now and if you didn't know he'd had a recent operation you'd not realise how fragile he still is. Fortunately most of our local dog walkers know, and we won't go anywhere where dogs are likely to be off the lead, so other than one boisterous puppy we've not had any dogs trying to leap in him!
When standing you can still often tell that he has a preference for his 'good' leg, but he can put a lot of weight on the other, most noticeably when he cocks his leg.
Our indoor setup remains the same. He has a matted pen downstairs to avoid the floor tiles. We need to find some steps this weekend and start to build some strength before tackling stairs.
All in all a good week other than rather unpredictable bowel movements, but I put that down to getting some more exercise and coming off all of his medication.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
A few people have asked what we were advised for our dog's TTA recovery plan. I imagine that all advice is unique to your dog's circumstances so the best plan is the one you agree with your surgeon!
Ours has been very simple. The immediate aftercare was not an issue for us as he was in overnight and most of the next day. When we picked him up he had a weeks worth of antibiotics, some pain killers and anti-inflamitories.
For exercise it was up to 10 minutes walk 3 times a day for 4 weeks. Toilet visits as needed. Everything on a short lead and absolutely no running, jumping or stairs.
For week 5 to 8 we increase the duration of each walk by 5 minutes each week. So by week 8 we will be up to 30 minutes 3 times a day.
After 8 weeks he can be off lead at the end of a walk, but not go mad.
No physio, manipulation, heat pads, cold pads, hydrotherapy etc were advised for us. I like simple!
Friday, May 13, 2016
We passed a major milestone this week. After last weekend's setback with the dog exposing an internal stitch it was a relatively quiet start to the week. The cone of shame was back on, the superglue did its job, as did another dose of antibiotics, so we headed back to Rutland House at St Helens on Thursday for his 4 week checkup.
Having dropped him off about 8.30am I got the call early afternoon to say he was back from X-rays and all was looking good. I met with one of the surgeons about 5.30 who talked me through the x-Ray photographs. The metalwork is all where it should be and he showed me where the new bone growth was taking place. No apparent problems and the wound itself now looks much healthier.
Moving forward we yet again have a very simple recovery plan. His walks can now increase by 5 minutes per walk each week. When we hit 30 minutes, in a months time, he can have some controlled off lead time at the end of the walk.
He hasn't tackled any stairs in the past month but, under control, he can now tackle them. We've not yet done that as we have a good downstairs routine and set-up, but will try a few steps this weekend.
Lots of posts I've read have talked about swimming as therapy. Whilst I didn't get a 'no' to the suggestion the surgeon's view was that it can cause tendon problems, so given its not something we've done previously I won't be trying it. I am perfectly happy to build his strength through gentle walks. At the end of the day he's 10 now and I'm not looking to get him out doing agility or fly ball!
The extra 5 minutes already makes a world of difference and means we can go a nice little circular walk from home and can probably get round Longton Brickcroft. If we don't get there tomorrow or Sunday we will certainly make it next weekend.
The pen and non slip mats stay for a few weeks yet, but that's fine.
It certainly feels like we are well on the way to recovery now. Whilst it has been a tough month it feels worth it. We can already walk further than we did pre-op and the dog looks so much better. Hope it continues!
Saturday, May 07, 2016
The dog is 10 years old today. To celebrate this momentous occasion he decided to bite and lick his leg, stripping off what remained of the scabs and finding some internal stitches which are being rejected to pick at. Fortunately my better half spotted it soon after waking so we were able to get an appointment at our local vets to get it cleaned up, the exposed stitch removed and the wound glued up.
Not the best shot in the world but you can see how much his hair has grown now and a hit of the mess he'd made of the lower part of the wound.
Wednesday, May 04, 2016
It's been a long three weeks! In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago that the dog was booked in for TTA surgery. I can vaguely remember the relief of the phone call confirming everything had gone ok. Since then it has been a case of taking each day as it comes and taking great care not to do anything that risks a setback.
After three weeks he is still walking well. His leg appears stronger now, and the occasional shakes and trembles we saw in the first few weeks have gone. He looks stead when walking and turning. Best of all, he has started to put more weight on it when standing, although it is very clear he has a preference for his good hind leg.
For the most part he has been easy to keep calm. He is happy to slowly sniff round his 10 minute walks, which is good. We just have to be in guard for any sign of rabbits, birds or cats leaping out of the bushes!
He went back to our local vets yesterday for another checkup, a week after the stiches came out. The wound has healed but is still pretty scabby, so we have another week of antibiotics. It doesn't look swollen or infected, but still happy to err on the safe side.
One week to go the we head back to the referral centre for X-Rays. I imagine we will get the next set of instructions regarding his recovery then. Hopefully we'll get another 5 minutes on his walks!
Happily, the sun has returned today so we got to sit outside for a while after work. His nose was doing overtime so think he enjoys the fresh air.