adventures of beck

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reckless Cuteness

Name: Sonar McPoor

Issued a Citation 8/25/09 3:12pm
Reason: Reckless Cuteness in an Adorable Fashion. Cuteness limit exceeded. Reckless Endangerment of others' ability to return to work for the rest of the day.

Fine: Two Kisses and One 10 Minute Snugglefest

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Boredom, The Scar

News Tonite: Unstapled Dog Still a Mystery

Well, Garv noticed she had less bling on her leg sometime on Sunday morning, 12 days post-op. On closer inspection, she only had about 5 staples out of an original 25. The one with the bite mark around it on her lower leg, and about 4 near the top of the incision remained. By Sunday night, she only had two, one at the very top, and the one with the bite mark. Sunday night turned into Monday morning, and a sole staple remained. The one that was easiest to reach, and with a bite mark. Even though the vets have told us that it's far more likely she pulled them out, we still maintain that they fell out. We haven't once caught her at the incision, and there's no sign of incision stress, at all. Not even a sign of licking. You can plainly see where she's been licking at the shaved patch on her front leg (maybe stress/boredom). But there is no sign of licking on the incision. You can also see by the bend patterns of the ones I found under her crate that it is possible for them to have worked themselves out. I tried bending one with my fingers. Not easy. She does chew her own toenails, but I still have my doubts. She's getting kind of crazy in this confinement, she really hates it. I think we're going to ask for sedative at her "staple removal" appointment tomorrow. And I think she'll wear a muzzle to the vet. Lots of dogs in that waiting room.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stomach Fixed For Now

Two straight meals of chicken and rice and I have two very happy pups. So happy, in fact, that I'm wondering if I should cook for them more often. They both look downright blissful. Sonar's tolerated her drugs very well tonite, and even looks happily stoned on her Tramadol. Ahhh.

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

Okay, so we did rice this morning, no meds.

Then we did rice and chicken for lunch, (chicken cooked by my friend Chris), and I gave her famotidine and tramadol with lunch. Then I waited 20 minutes. She still looked great. So I've now given her the Cephalexin with Farmers Cheese and then I gave her about 20 small pieces of chicken one by one to make sure the Ceph made it all the way to her stomach, kind of washing it down. Now we're waiting. She looks good so far, no pacing and lip smacking. Just sleeping. My intestines are crossed and I'm trying to give off good vibes.

Bland Food, Check

So she seems to feel better this morning. I gave her a bowl of rice before work, and no meds.

Worried Sick

So it's 1:06am as you can see in the picture above. That dark blob in the crate is Sonar, curled up. She just hurled up her dinner (and her pain meds, and her antibiotic, and her anti-heartburn drugs). She barfed up her lunch too, also ralphing up all her useful meds. Feeling sick myself about this turn of events, I called up the vets, bless their 24-hour availability.... They said it was likely the Cephalexin (antibiotic) and to hold food for the night, give her bland food like rice and chicken breast in the morning, see if she holds it down, give her Tramadol (pain) and Famotidine (heartburn) and see if she holds all that down, and if she does, then give her the Cephalexin. (Because we all have 3 hours of observation time in the morning.) And then if she still hurls, call them again. Kayak is whining in the other room. This sucks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


1 Day Post Op to 7 Days Post Op

7 Days Post Op Lateral View and (Medial) Incision

The top photo shows how much the swelling has gone down. The second photo is the incision. Near the top of the incision where it looks like it's pulling apart- that's an optical illusion. There's pink tissue rolled up under those staples so it looks like it's gapped apart. It's not. But the photo made me flip out momentarily. There near the bottom of the photo you can see where she bit at one of the staples. I counted them... 25 I think. Wow. That's a lot of staples.

Rocking and Rolling

Sonar is definitely feeling better. I can't tell, though, if she has trouble finding a comfy position in her crate because she's painful, or because she's restless and bored. We took her off Tramadol yesterday (she ran out, and vet said to see if she still needed it). She had her last dose at noon yesterday. She was panting and pacing a lot in her crate just now though, so I gave her a dose of Tramadol to see if it was because she was hurting. It's been about 10 minutes and she already seems calmer. I don't know if it works that fast or if I'm imagining things. Her eyes are looking sleepy though. Kayak hurled all over the floor this morning, it was lovely. I got the stain all out with our new stuff though. "Nature's Miracle" I think. I also found a bite mark on Sonar's leg where it looks like she tried to bite out this lonely staple that's further down on her leg than all the rest. This finding (this afternoon) has now removed all guilt about leaving her in her cone when we're not home . (The Comfy Cone of course.) I'm trying to get a photograph but she hasn't presented a good shot of it yet. She's also getting a little smelly in this crate area, even though the blankets are on a wash rotation and the towels get changed out at least once a day. I've put a fan on near the crate to try to keep the air moving and keep her cooler in her cone. She's cleaning one of her front legs right now. Maybe she noticed the smell.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Update, 5 Days Post Op

Sonar is feeling much better. I ripped off her Fentanyl patches yesterday, per the Vet's orders. The drug's effects could be seen wearing off the night before I ripped it off, but there was an even more dramatic change in Sonar once I removed the patches. First off, she ate a whole meal, which was somehow a huge relief. Funny how you're wired to really worry about someone not eating. Very entrenched in your psyche. Second, she started bouncing around like her old rubber ball self. Yikes, dog! You're supposed to stay still! We're keeping her crated of course, but later that day when we came home, she had her old propeller tail going, which we hadn't seen in a good few days.
Her whole leg is incredibly less swollen, but it's still got a ways to go. She's lost a lot of weight, too. Her leather collar, which I meticulously fitted to the point that I could guarantee that she couldn't back out of it, only two of my fingers fit under it, and I used a leather punch to make a hole that made the collar fit just-so........ yeah, I can fit my whole arm between her neck and the collar now.
Sonar is also becoming interested in her incision. We've caught her nosing and licking it a couple times now. That's why you see the picture of her in a cone.
The promised cone explanation: I think her second or first night, she nosed her knee (or maybe it wasn't even her knee, just looked like it in the dark) in the middle of the night. I freaked out, remembering all the stories I'd read on the internet of dogs chewing their whole knee open, laying back all 22 or so staples, and costing their owners more than the original surgery in repairs. So I put the plastic cone that she'd come home from the vet wearing back on her. What followed was pathetic and horrifying.
After laying quietly for about an hour in her crate with the plastic cone on, Sonar decided she wasn't comfortable. She proceeded to try to get up and change positions. The stupid plastic cone got caught at every step, seriously frustrating my 3-legged dog. It jammed into the sides of the crate, throwing her off balance, and the bottom lip got caught on the ground when she tried to lay down. She stared at me with drugged, depressed eyes, and whined, begging me to do something. I waited, hoping it was a learning-curve type situation. It wasn't. The situation remained frustrated for 20 minutes. I spent 15 of those minutes frantically googling for a better solution. I found many. The Comfy Cone, the Bite-Not, several face masks and muzzles, the Pet Sleeve Rx (made from human-grade surgical drapes), bitter apple spray, and tens of thousands of frustrated, upset pet owners who'd gone through the same scenario. Half-days at work, "I turned my back for a minute" stories, etc. It was a nightmare, but it wasn't a new one.
I read a lot about the Comfy Cone, including the reviews where people said that their dog found a way around the cone and tore out all his stitches anyways. We have a dog like that. He's not interested in stitches, but he defies the laws of physics. Kayak jumps off 10 foot railings, clears 4 foot fences, jumps the baby-gate, and is generally fearless. But he can't catch anything and he's hopelessly uncoordinated. He knocks the baby-gate over as many times as he clears it. He crashes back first into creeks while attempting to cross logs.
Sonar, on the other hand, is a sensitive puppy. She fears the crashing baby gate, and wouldn't jump it if you dangled T-Bones on the other side. She can run like the wind but startles at sliding towels. She is the strongest dog I've ever personally handled, but she's frightened of small dogs. So when my sensitive-but-lacking-in-determination dog needed to stay away from her stitches, I banked on her personality and tried out the Comfy Cone.
SO FAR, we have not been disappointed. She's fine with wearing it, and she can maneuver inside her crate. It acts as a nice headrest. She's wearing it at night, and whenever we're not home/in the same room. We've seen her attempt to get at the stitches and not be able to reach them. True to form, she then immediately gives up. I'd recommend it. (Of course, if we tied a Kong to her leg, she'd eat a hole through the thing.
Sunset: caught on the way home from dropping fam off at the boat.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Diet Cat Nap

Using a soda bottle as a pillow. Inventive. Opportunistic. Distinctly: Tibbs.

Sonar Has Company

Here you can see just how much Garv loves his dogs. "She's so calm when I'm in here." This was the explanation for the fact that my husband had climbed into a dog crate.

You can also get a great view of the setup he's configured for her convalescence. She likes it, but it is completely un-navigable in that stupid hard plastic cone. But that's for another post.

Weird Swelling Apparently Normal

So Sonar-Girl has this crazy swelling in her "hock". Fill a sandwich baggie a quarter full of water, and then hold it up and poke the bottom of it gently. That's what is feels like. Of course I panicked mildly and called the vet, who promised to get someone to call me, but in the mean-time I asked my brilliant Nurse-Aunt. Nurse-Aunt said probably not to worry, but check with vet. This reassurance took us from DEFCON-1 ..... back down to DEFCON-3. Then I spoke with the Vet, who said it was normal, should go away in a week, and that we could put a warm compress on it for about 10 minutes a day, and that this would feel really good for Sonar. This took us back to DEFCON 4. We're pretty crazy, so we're never really at DEFCON-5 anyways. in case you don't read enough Tom Clancy novels to know what the heck I'm talking about.
Sonar's also been a bit restless today according to Garv, who was such a good Dog-Dad that he worked from home today to watch her. The Vet thinks this is probably because she's feeling painful, which is gut-wrenching for us to think about. The Vet asked if we're giving her Tramadol. Um, Yes? Um, Of COURSE? Why would I not?
Everyone (Vet, Guy-I-Work-With-Whose-Dog-Had-This-Done-Twice) says that the first 4 days are the awfulest. Yes, Mom, that's a new word right there. You saw it here first. Firstest.
The handy CAB-Sling caught her from nearly falling today, according to husband. Her other leg buckled. That gives me the willies, because we're imagining her other ACL basically pulling a Tacoma-Narrows episode in super-slow motion inside her good knee.
I wonder if her leg is magnetic now? Is surgical steel magnetic? Doubt it.
Just got an update: she's doing good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

This is Lilly

Puppy puppy puppy!

This is Frank

He was a surfer dude in a past life. I'm sure of it.

Evening Falls

It's 7:40pm. Sonar is resting comfortably and we had our first successful pee! She's also gulped down a bunch of water. Hooray! We bought her a lightweight pink collar for good luck and also it works better to hold the lampshade on. We tried to buy this crazy inflatable neck thing for post surgery healing without licking, but it leaks air. Useless. Back to the lampshade.

The sling that they had available at petsmart was for under her chest, and it was crazy, with lots of clips. So I got all CAB (yes mom, you) and made one real quick on the sewing machine with a handtowel and some random strapping that I'd misappropriated from somewhere. And yes. It makes me feel cool.

A Little Better

I removed her cone so that she could navigate her cage better, and because Sonar likes to curl when she sleeps, and the cone was really preventing that. We'll have to put it on when she's unsupervised. The thought of her unsupervised still scares me a little. (Not that Sonar unsupervised doesn't always scare me a little.) I've since also removed her collar for a little more sleeping comfort.

-The Emergency Vet from Michigan just called to check in on her as I was writing this post, how nice of them!-

We're going to see if we can't pick up a sling that works better than a towel, a more comfortable cone, and a lighter weight coller to make her a little more comfy.

Day One of Post Op

Day One of Post Op:

First impression on picking her up from the vet: SHOCKING.
I was prepared for a shaved leg, for a cone, for stitches, for an incision...

But Sonar was absolutely stoned, with shaved patches with meds in them, staples, what seemed like tons of swelling... her face was droopy and sticky, dehydrated drool clung to her teeth and gums. She looked like she'd been through hell, and there were sticky boogers of whatever in the fur on her head. She lacked the constant agility and vigilance of the Sonar I know. The waiting room was crammed with dogs, and she couldn't muster a head nod. It was bizzare, and I briefly fought some tears that sprang up from nowhere.

I stared at her leg and the words "cut" and "bone" were suddenly gruesome and shocking. On the way home, the thought of the plate in her leg was startling to me, as though I hadn't watched the animation of this surgery hundreds of times.

The receipt that listed what she'd had was like reading an awful novel:

Surgical Consultation
Radiograph-Additional view
IV Fluids-Catheter & First Bag
Blood Urea Nitrogen
PCV/TP 1st four
Anesthesia Induction, injection
Anesthesia Monitoring
Propofol 81-160lb
Hydromorphone 2mg/ml 20 ml
Isoflurane 1st 30 min
Isoflurane per additional minute (60)
Surgical drapes and gowns
Surgical suite instrumentation
Surgical staples
Tibial Plateu Leveling
Lavage fluids per liter
Cefazolin Inj 100ml/ml 10gm bottles
Bandage-Level 1
Surgical Implants
Radiograph-Additional View
Cephalexin 500mg capsule
Tramadol HCL 50mg tablet
Duragesic Patch 100mcg/hr
Duragesic Patch 50mcg/hr
Hospitalization per hour
Hydromorphone 2mg/ml 20ml
Hydromorphone 2mg/ml 20ml
Hydromorphone 2mg/ml 20ml
Cefazolin Inj 100ml/ml 10gm bottles
Cefazolin Inj 100ml/ml 10gm bottles

It almost made me woozy to read the blow by blow, imagining my dog going through all this.

She's sleeping now, behind me in her crate while I type. My fingers smell like peanut butter from the Tramadol I persuaded her to take, rolled in Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter. She resisted at first, but then decided it was good.

Getting her in the door was a bear, I had to use a towel under her back end to help her walk. We were clumsy, but she got in with a minimum of extra pain. I called in to work within 5 min of picking her up and asked to take some sick time to keep an eye on her. It was granted, so I'll be hanging out with her today. Maybe I'm wrong, but she looks relieved when she wakes up every so often and sees me there.

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More Shocking Than I Thought

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Part of this Complete Breakfast

For Jenni, who loves the healthy food and poison combo:

Cool Clouds

Saw these on the way from MI to IL in the Minivan (THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!) with ACL dog. Pretty cool weather!

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Sonar Tore her Right ACL

Sonar update:

She had surgery today between 2p and 2:30p.

She's doing well, woken up from anesthesia. She has to stay overnite and we pick her up tomorrow around 8am. We're re-configuring the house to allow for her to recuperate without jumping up on the sofa, at least for the first 6 weeks. We're moving the couch to the kitchen, and she'll have to be crated or tightly confined when we're gone.

You can see the TPLO surgery she had here:

(We had it done by a different surgeon at the same facility that Kayak's been in and out of.)

The vet took xrays (the first set of a total of 3 we'll need done, one set at 6 wks post op and one set at 12 wks post op) and her hips look good, although the good knee is already showing signs of inflammation and arthritis, which means the other ACL is likely to go as well in the future. The bilateral issue means it's probably genetic. This nearly confirms that she's a lab/shepherd mix, since this ACL issue runs strongest in Labs, Goldens, and Rotties (Rottweilers).

If healing goes well, we'll be able to to 10-15 min leashed walks in 6 weeks. No running for probably 12 weeks. Jumping and stairs will be the last part of her clearance. We'll post pictures of her shaved & sutured leg tomorrow.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Please Post Something -Mom

Because my mother's been begging me to post and because I'm newly inspired by Star-Spangled Life's Posting, I've posted this. Above, I have a Wrap N Mat and it's awesome. Next: my desk is a mess and I drink a lot of Mountain Dew. Not Rwanda or anything, but it's a start.