It’s been a week since we brought Rex home from his surgery. In short, all is going well.
He had his surgery on September 9 and we brought him home the next morning. We decided to go with a TPLO repair, where part of his bone is cut and rotated to stabilize his joint. We went with this option because our goal is for Rex to be active again. We want him to be able to go to the park, run around, play, etc. The other option was better suited for smaller dogs or dogs with less mobility.
The surgery went well. He had a complete anterior cruciate liagment tear (the ACL for dogs), and he also had a bad meniscal tear.
The bone is held in with screws as the bone heals. Once it heals, the screws won’t be needed. They’re typically left in, though, to avoid additional surgery. But if there is an infection or something, they can be removed. And he doesn’t have any exterior sutures.
When we brought him home, he was a bit loopy from all the medication. It was about a two-hour drive, but he took it really well. We bought a twin-size memory foam pad and cut it so he would have something soft to lay on. He slept most of the way.
At home, he’s on strict cage rest. We got him the biggest one we could find because his cone makes it hard for him to turn around. He has to wear the cone for the first two weeks, but we take it off to let him eat/drink/go outside.
We were really nervous about how he would take the cone and cage rest because he’s so touchy. We have another dog crate that is more enclosed. We got it when we adopted him and tried to get him to sleep in it the first two nights he lived with us, but he cried all night long. I tried to train him to get used to it for a few weeks, but it was clear he hated it, so we very rarely put him in a crate. (He spent a year in a shelter, so I think enclosed spaces kind of freak him out.)
He’s taken the cage rest pretty well, though. He’s pretty much in there all day long, minus the 3-minute trips outside. We put him in the living room so he could be around us as much as possible, and I think the openness of the new crate helps a lot. His medications helped a lot, too. He was initially on three different types, and one of them was a sedative, so that made the transition easier. He’s finished with the pain medication now, but is still on an antibiotic (that I have to give to him at 6 am!).
He gets really nervous whenever he’s in there by himself, though, which is why he’s in my office with me right now. Luckily, we only have to leave him alone for a few hours during the work week because Deacon only has two classes a day.
But there have also been storms this week. He has always been afraid of storms, but it seems even worse now. He kind of has panic attacks. I’ve thought about getting him a thundershirt, but he’s so touchy that I’m not sure he’d let me put it on him. (Any thoughts/suggestions are welcome!)
He’s been eating and drinking well, and his incision site looks good. The swelling finally went down a few days ago, and now he’s able to walk on it. And I mean like really walk on it. When he goes outside, he can hike up his left hind leg (the one that wasn’t operated on) and put all his weight on the right hind leg. It’s pretty amazing. He’s recovered from the surgery much more quickly than we expected.
Next Saturday, he will go to a vet in town (one we’ve never been to before) to get the incision site looked at. If everything looks good, he’ll be cone-free! He will still be on cage rest for six weeks after that, but I think he’ll be much more comfortable without the cone.
He’ll go back to the vet in Columbia for his 8-week checkup. If all goes well, we will most likely have them do the same surgery on his other hind leg, so this process will repeat. After seeing the progress, though, we’re pretty confident that it’s the right choice. We can’t wait for him to be a happy, healthy pup again.
Thanks everyone for all the kindness you’ve shown to us. There’s still a long road ahead, but it’s looking pretty bright. =)