Thursday, July 31, 2008

Week Three Post Op

Three weeks ago I would never have thought we'd get to this point so quickly. It seemed like time dragged on for Rudi and the rest of us when we began this journey. Now, three weeks later I feel like time is flying by. Maybe it's because Rudi can spend some time out of the kennel with us in the living room or the office. As long as he's by our side. He's still progressing very well and we are happy about that. Still limping but when we walk him outside he seems to have a bit more confidence in his leg. Standing still, he continues to lean on his left leg more. I'm sure only time will work this out for him. Atleast I hope so. He's getting more and more restless, however. I know he wants to get out of this confinement mode. Once the six weeks post op mark comes around and his xrays look good, maybe Dr. Stallings will approve of him staying in a small room during the day rather than his crate. Just three more weeks to go!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In honor of our Rudi

The video below is a compilation of pictures of our Rudi set to music. Watch him grow up before your eyes! Make sure the volume is up.


video

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 17 Post Op - Lazy Sunday Afternoon


Rudi spent pretty much the whole day with me in the home office. I spent the day on the computer while he relaxed by the window in the make-shift cubby hole I made for him. I think he was pretty pleased to be out of his crate all day and was near me most of the time. We had terrible storms tonight but he napped right through them. He hasn't licked his incision once since the cone has been off. That's a relief. I was a bit worried that the minute I was gone for work all day he'd take the opportunity knowing I was gone. You know those Shepherds....smart ones, I tell ya! This coming week will be 3 weeks Post Op. Everyday seems to be a bit easier. He's been a trooper through it all.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Staple Removal Day - YIPPEE!


We took Rudi in this morning at 10am for his staple removal appt. Brian sat in the back of the car with him to keep him calm on the ride there. The office is about 35 min from the house so it's a bit of a long ride but eventful for Rudi since his surgery. I think he was excited to go "bye bye". Brian carried him in so he wouldn't be on the slick floors. They took him to the back and asked us to wait in the lobby. Five minutes later we were called to the back to speak to the surgeon. Dr. Stallings brought Rudi into the room for us and he was staple free!!! He said he looks great and he's progressing well. He did look at his knee and it's not swollen or infected. That's what his knee will look like because of the way the procedure is done. It will be less noticeable once his hair grows out. He's getting his undercoat back so it should be grown out within the next month I'd assume. We go back in 4 weeks for xrays to check on the bone healing. He said he can go without his e-collar once he can be trusted that he will not lick his incision. I was so happy to get a good report. Dr. Stallings said we are doing a good job and just make sure we continue on this restriction protocol over the next 4 weeks due to the importance of the bone growth during this time. He said the cells are starting to come together now to form the deep healing within the bone and it's important for Rudi not have too much activity. I can't wait to start walking him again and build up his muscle. Two weeks seemed to go by fairly quickly. Maybe we will be as lucky with the next 4 weeks going by just as fast. It will be great to hear that his bone is healing well when 4 weeks passes. Our next appt is August 22nd at 9am.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Week Two Post Op


I can't believe we've made it to two weeks. Whew! One more day and Rudi's staples come out. Rudi was given time out of his kennel today to hang out in the living room while we watched movies. I called Dr. Stallings to make sure he could spend extra time with us and he said it was fine as long as he was kept close to us and no lunging, jumping or running. I always have the leash in my hand when he's sitting on the floor with me. He has all of his toys around him to keep him busy.

Tomorrow is his big day. In addition to getting his staples out, I plan to ask the surgeon about his knee looking swollen and red. It appears to be infected but I can't really be sure. Rudi doesn't seem to notice and it's not warm. I never noticed it before so I'm a little concerned. I hope it won't delay getting his staples out. I keep telling Rudi that tonight is the last night he'll have to wear the dreaded e-collar. Crossing all paws and fingers that tomorrow goes well!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 12 Post Op

Rudi finished all his meds on Sunday night and last night was a restless night for him. I'm not sure if he was in pain or a bit withdrawn from the paid meds, Tramadol. My cousin did tell me that they can have that effect once they are gone. There really isn't anything to take the edge off except the Acepromizine now. I called the vet this morning and he said he did not feel it necessary to refill the Tramadol but to keep giving him the Ace to keep Rudi calm. I can't believe Rudi is as active as he is in his kennel especially when we leave. I just feel like he moves too much. The vet keeps reinterating the importance of keeping him quiet and give him an Ace if he is too wound up. We are going to have to give him an additional one at night because he's not sleeping as well. We took Rudi out during the night at 2am and while we were out my other dog, Elmo decided to pee on the carpet. So in addition to my frustration of being up in the middle of the night, then I had to scrub my carpet clean. I was so aggitated. This seems so challenging at times. I really hope his other knee can hold up. I'm scared to death that we will have to repeat this process one day. It's not only hectic on us but I'm sure it's confusing for Rudi. Friday can't get here soon enough. It breaks my heart to put the e-collar on him in the morning. He fights me a little and then once I get it on he just hangs his head and waits for me to tie it on. Then I have to lead him into his kennel because he bangs into everything on the way there. It's awful! I'm taking Friday off and I'm hoping Brian does too. Staples will be out and the cone will be history! 3 days and counting!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Freedom in tiny doses


Today I decided Rudi needed a little bit of freedom. Brian wasn't as sure but I knew I was going to have Rudi tethered to me pretty tightly. I set up a living room picnic for him complete with his bed, kong and rawhide. He even had some of his stuffed babies around. I made sure he stayed laying down the entire time and I sat right beside him. He was pretty happy about himself. I watched a movie while he enjoyed his little bit of freedom from his crate. I hated seeing him cooped up but I was also contending with doctor's orders. I was arguing with myself over it but in the long run knew I would keep a close watch on him. All was good and he ended up tiring himself out and back to the kennel he went for a nap after an hour. It was a nice break for him. Can't you see the smile on his face?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Week One Post Op

We have arrived at our one week milestone! Can I just say I can't wait for his staples to come out so we can get this cone off of Rudi! It's so loud during the night when he tries to get comfortable and all you hear is what sounds like a jailbird with a can raking against the bars. I've thought of moving Rudi to another room but that's counter productive since we want to be available immediately if Rudi needs us during the night. He's pretty zonked out on his meds so he's been sleeping better the past few nights. I get up earlier than normal so we can take our time with him in the morning. I hope I can catch up on my sleep this weekend. One week down and 15 more to go! After 6 weeks, he can be released from crate rest and have the run of a small room. His next xrays are in 6 weeks as well. By that time we will be able to tell how well his bone is healing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 5 Post Op

Rudi made it through today without getting his cone off. We also gave him a full dose of Ace before leaving and I watched him on the webcam all day. It took him awhile to doze off but he finally did around 9:30am and slept the majority of the day. It was pretty uneventful with Rudi. It was another sleep deprived day for me however. Not because of Rudi but because the phone rang at 1am with my brother in law on the other end announcing that Brian's grandfather had passed away. This is where I begin to wonder how much a person can really handle. I felt a little frazzled at work today. The lack of sleep is really getting to me. Sometimes I feel like breaking down into tears because I wonder if I made the right choice. I know it's just irritability and sleep deprivation that makes me think this way. I know in the grand scheme of things, Rudi will be able to play again. He's bearing some weight on his bad leg but hopefully over time he will gain more confidence in using it equally with his good leg. Only time will tell.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 4 Post Op - Rudi's Ooops

Brian got the webcam set up today and it worked perfectly from the office. He wasn't happy when we left and I hated hearing him howl even when we walked out the door. It was heartbreaking but I had no choice. We gave him 1/2 an Ace hoping he would sleep through the day. By noontime everything was uneventful...until I sat down at my desk with my lunch and pulled up the webcam to check on my boy. I almost fell out of my chair. Rudi had gotten out of the E collar and was licking his leg. I jumped up and decided my lunch break would consist of me flying home (10 over the speed limit) to get his cone back on. Took me 30 minutes and I wondered with each passing moment how much damage he was causing and how many staples he was pulling out. I got home and checked his leg. Just red but no missing staples and no bleeding. I put his cone back on, gave him a full Ace and went back to work. By the time my husband and I got home we noticed a small blood spot on his bedding. I opted to take him to the emergency room but they had an hour wait. Then I called my cousin who is a vet tech and she said she'd come over to check it out. By the time she got there, his bedding looked like a murder scene. There was blood everywhere and I was freaking out. She wasn't phased and just pulled him out to look at his incision. A staple was tweaked and he basically licked a scab off. It was oozing but not infected. She cleaned him up, I changed his bedding and gave him another Ace for the night. I was in tears....it was only day 4. What more could happen? I was doing everything by the book and never expected this. She showed me how to tie the e-collar tight enough but not too tight. Now I was educated and felt more confident for the rest of the work week. Thank God for the webcam! My husband is a genius!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 3 Post Op


Rudi seems to be coming out of his fog somewhat. He is already getting a bit anxious which seems too early for that to start. He's not used to being in a kennel for so long during the day. He hasn't been crated since he was 6 mos. old. This is going to be hard for him I can tell. Our other dog, Elmo isn't quite sure what to make of all this change but he's leaving Rudi alone for the most part. I think dogs know if other dogs are injured or sick. He's keeping his distance but I think he also feels the shift in attention. It's not intentional but the amount of work that this is requiring we have to remember that Elmo is a member of the household as well.

We left the house briefly today to see how Rudi would cope. He got a little upset but when we got home he was sleeping. He pooped again today and ate an entire bowl of food and consumed tons of water. He must be feeling better. His appetite is good. Again, I hate to leave him tomorrow. Brian has decided that he is going to set up a webcam for me to look after Rudi from work. How genius is that!? I hope it works. I don't want any problems to arise while we aren't home. It's been a long weekend and I'm still tired. I hope I get some sleep for work tomorrow. It won't be good if I'm exhausted at the office tomorrow.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 2 Post Op


To say I didn't sleep well last night would be an understatement. I laid awake most of the night worried if Rudi was in any pain. He situated himself multiple times in the kennel so the sound of the e-collar scraping the kennel was nerve wracking. We got up once around 2am to let him out and he peed again for a very long time. He also pooped!!! We had been told that this could take days and even up to a week. Brian worried before surgery how on earth Rudi was going to support himself to poop after his operation. Well, he did it and he's fine. Whew! Atleast that's one thing I don't have to worry about. Rudi is also drinking fine....lots of water actually. I'm sure the meds make him very thirsty. He also ate a litte before bed last night. I can't complain about that. Atleast his eating, drinking and potty habits are normal right now. We decided to give Rudi only 1/2 an Ace today because we didn't like how "drunk-like" it made him. He is still very swollen and bruised. I wish I could stay home with him on Monday but I have to work. Brian is very busy on his job as well so it's not an option for him either. I'm guessing I'll come home for lunch but handling him by myself will be sketchy since he likes to pull me all over the place. Brian isn't too sure about me coming home and risking an oops moment. Maybe we will ask my Mom to come by. It's up in the air. Right now, I just need to take a nap. I had to run an errand today and thought I was going to fall alseep driving. Not good. I need more sleep.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 1 Post Op - Homecoming


We picked Rudi up tonight. It's good to have him home. He's still very doped up and sleepy. I feel like a pharmacy with as much meds as I have to give him. He's on Tramadol (pain), Ace (sedative), Cephalexin (anti-biotic) and Deramaxx (anti-inflammatory). He's pretty swollen and bruised but the incision is very clean. He has staples instead of stitches which will come out in two weeks. We had a rough ride home. He whined all the way so I'm not sure if he's in pain or just excited to be out of the hospital. He has to wear the dreaded cone which is making it hard to maneuver in his kennel. He peed for quite awhile outside when we got him out of the car. All the fluids from the IV caused this, I'm sure. We are trying to get used to the sling in order to support his weight for his leg. It's a little awkward but me and Brian are a good team so far. Rudi still wants to pull which is what I expected. He was always a terrible puller. We got him acclimated to his kennel but shortly after coming home he stood up and peed again for what seemed like forever. Poor guy must be really out of it for him to do that because he's never had an accident in his kennel before. I had to get him out and change his bedding. I hope this is not indicative of what's ahead for us. Hopefully we will get a good night's sleep but knowing me, I'll have that maternal ear perked up for any sound coming from the patient's quarters.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Waiting is the hardest part

This morning was harder than I thought it would be. Rudi has never really had an issue with the vet's office but when they came out to get him and put the leash on him he struggled and tried to get out the door. I almost picked him up and took him back home. It was torture. They finally got him down the hall and my last sight of him today was him walking to his kennel to wait for his procedure.
It's been a weepy day for me at work. I was totally consumed with thoughts of my decision to do this and I waivered off and on today. I wanted to go back and get him. I called at 11 am and he was still waiting to be operated on. That made it even worse for me. I wanted him to be first but he went in at 12:30.
The surgeon, Dr. Stallings, just called to let me know that the procedure went well and Rudi did fine. Talk about a huge weight being lifted. I almost cried. He said he had to release the meniscus because it was torn up pretty badly. His CCL wasn't as bad as he thought but he still felt we made the right decision. He will rest tonight at the 24 hour hospital so someone will always be around to check on him. I will be able to pick him up after work tomorrow. I know I will miss him so much tonight.

Day of Surgery

The day has arrived for Rudi to have his knee fixed by Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA). We, or should I say "I" have been dreading this day. My husband has been the calm one. I don't think I have many more tears to shed but I know this is inevitable. 10 months ago, Rudi injured his knee when we were playing ball on Labor Day 2007. I really didn't realize what had happened at the time. All I know was that I threw the ball, turned around and then saw Rudi on 3 legs. He didn't yelp and then he was back running again. We dismissed it as a fluke thing. Thought that he had stepped on a pine cone. Over the course of a month he started limping. Back and forth to the vet we went only for the problem to go unfounded. He was taken out of doggie daycare and hasn't returned since last year. That has been hard for him as he had lots of buddies to play with. He was tested for hip dysplasia and lyme disease and nothing was found. He was given Previcox which seemed to help but it only masked the true problem. I went to see another vet who told me he should have his knees xrayed. Again, nothing was found and I was told it didn't appear to be arthritis. We did conservative management for 8 weeks which kept him from jumping on couches and beds. He was behind baby gates at all times. His activity was extremely restricted and he got very bored. He also developed severe muscle atrophy in his bad leg. I must have cried everyday watching Rudi go through this new lifestyle. Then I found a PT in the area that thought he sprained his tendon. I finally had hope! For two weeks we did short walks and did extension and flex exercises. After two weeks of PT, Rudi got past us and jumped on the bed which he was not allowed to do. He jumped back down off the bed and yelped. After that he was hobbling on 3 legs and immeditely took him back to the vet. We finally got a referral to an Orthopedic surgeon. After more xrays and drawer tests he confirmed a ruptured CCL and significant arthritis build up in the bad leg. His good leg is showing signs already and we know that he has a 40% chance of damaging the good leg. Today is the day that will hopefully start the road to recovery and give Rudi his life back. Maybe he'll even see doggie daycare again.