Jazz had knee surgery (TPLO) on Wednesday the 14th or July. The decision seemed inevitable by the time I talked with my vet and the surgeon. The cost is very high and I am grateful that I can come up with it. I am certain this decision will be much more difficult if he needs the other knee done in the next year. (They tell me his chances are 50/50 that he will need the other knee done.)
I have such good friends and everyone has offered advice, sympathy and help. Thanks to all of you. Michele forwarded a copy of a pamphlet with very detailed post surgery therapy instructions. This pamphlet can be ordered through www.topdoghealth.com. I am very grateful for this information and recommend this website to anyone whose dog is going through any kind of joint surgery or injury. I showed the pamphlet to my surgeon and he was very impressed. I am doing my best to follow these instructions.
The first stupid human trick I want to describe is that I wasn't watching him closely enough while he was not in his "cone" and he pulled the two bottom stitches loose a week after surgery. It is very embarrassing to have to admit this to the surgeon. They put the two stitches back and now I have to give him antibiotics. Bad mom.
I think that Jazz is on the slow end of the recovery curve so maybe this blog will offer encouragement to others whose dogs take their time recovering. I know some dogs walk out of the hospital. Jazz is very comfortable on three legs and did not use his leg until two days ago. I massaged, gently flexed, heated,iced and walked to no avail. Jazz was eating very little and had lost quite a bit of weight. I finally took him to Dr Mary Anson who is wonderful with him. She did acupuncture and showed me some pressure points to do acupressure with. I swear this is true - he started using his leg to balance while we were in the office waiting to pay the bill.
That night (the second Friday after surgery,) he took two or three steps in a row as we walked. I did learn that slow walking in this case has to be really slow so he is forced to use the leg. I actually ended up praising and treating each time he put his foot on the ground. Saturday morning he walked about half the time and by Sunday afternoon he was almost never hopping on three legs. He still curls his foot and puts weight on the top of it to pee and poop. I will give that a day or two and then try gently putting the foot down properly. I am also massaging that foot to help his circulation. His walk this evening was shorter because he started hopping and I figured that means the leg is tired. I made sure to ice him down well.
Another thing the Dr Mary told us was that I could put some zinc oxide on the clipper burns on his legs and on the incision to help them heal more quickly and feel better. I'm not sure how much it helps him, but I feel a lot better being able to do something for him.
He has only eaten canned food so far. I cannot convince him to eat his regular dry food. I usually have to hand feed him the food. I talked to a friend who said the same was true of her dog. I have no idea what that is about, but I am willing to do anything to get food in him so he stops losing weight. I think some of his lack of appetite is due to the Tramadol he is getting for pain. He had the last dose this afternoon. I hope he will eat better in the next few days.
I worry about him all the time, but I have faith that he will eventually be as good as new. I am grateful that he is a good dog and settles in to his crate or his exercise pen in the dining room. He has not been difficult so far. The hardest part is that he wants to walk farther than he is able to. He sure does love a walk and is able to drag me around even with his bad knee. I have to be very careful not to let him put pressure on that leg, so it is a very short leash for us.
Here are a few surgery photos. If you have to go through this, you have my sympathy. I will try to describe the recovery process as we go in hopes that other people will know a little bit about what to expect. Thanks to Becky for her journal also.