Remember how I told you that I was losing my marbles in the last post? Well, I didn’t have to go full-throttle and give you an instant example right away, did I? Oh wait. I did that anyway. *sigh
Sorry about that, ladies. As I said then, I’ve been in a really weird place lately. There’ve been a couple times where I’ll actually shake my head and kind’ve laugh at myself. That’s how nuts I’ve been! And let’s be honest – if you can’t laugh at yourself, then who CAN you laugh at?
I have GOT to get out and make some friends, already!
Anywho… I figured it was well past time for an update on the Pup. It’s been two weeks since his first surgery after injuring himself and we had his first follow-up appointment today. To recap, a little over 2 weeks ago, Pup tore both of his ACLs as well as both meniscus. It wasn’t in some freak accident or sudden moment of action, it was really pretty out of nowhere. The only thing we knew ahead of time was that he was starting to be a little hesitant on one of his feet. He didn’t limp or anything, but rather than just sitting normally, he would kind’ve pick up his right foot and then sit back. It was little things like that. So since we needed to find him a vet anyway, I just used this as the final push to make that happen.
We tried out a Vet just down the street and she suggested that although it could be his cruciate, the inflammation that they found around his knee was more likely caused by a tick-borne infection that he seemed to have due to some elevated blood levels. Rather than pushing to spend money that may be unnecessary (we did just buy a house, after all), we opted to just go with a round of antibiotics for this probably infection and see how he was doing in a week or two while limiting his activity when possible.
Like a week later, after he seemed to be practically back to normal but still in the middle of his antibiotics, we both completely flaked. Studly went outside to start playing ball with the Pup and I watched him walk out with the chuck-it and ball without saying a word beyond how he gets to be the fun one while I worked on organizing a room in the house (Hah… story of my life, really). And then after like the 4th time he threw the ball, the dog suddenly yelped while running after it… he stopped dead in his tracks, picked up his leg, and and looked back at Studly on the deck. He totally ditched the ball (which is absolutely unlike him) and went back toward the house. Once he got there, he tried to put his weight back on that leg and Studly said as soon as he did, he totally jumped… almost as if something had bitten him.
Since he wasn’t bleeding or reacting to us touching or squeezing any part of his leg, we decided to just wait until the next day to take him back to the vet (since it was a Sunday). And when we did, she said that it seemed that he just further pushed the same injury… it was nothing new. So we took him home and kept on the meds. He actually got really god on just his 3 legs, but we still refused to play ball or wrestle with him at all. Basically, no playing for this super active boy… regardless of how much he insisted. But it didn’t seem to matter.
Two days later he couldn’t walk at all.
We went outside after dinner to find him holding his entire body up with just his front legs. Imagine a male gymnast up on the rings. That was our Pup. He even had his poor long neck all stretched out trying to balance himself and was making all of these awful popping sounds in what we thought were his hips. It was terrible. The strangest part? He didn’t look like he was in pain. He didn’t even seem to be overly struggling. It was very strange. He just appeared to be extremely determined to get his legs working and then really annoyed that they weren’t. He’s such a brave, sweet boy.
Well, we took him to the closest Emergency Animal Hospital and spent about 2 hours there trying to get things situated. They were going to keep him overnight and run further tests with the specialists in the morning. We had the option to take him back home with us, but we decided he’d be in much better hands there… especially since we couldn’t do anything for him anyways and still didn’t know for sure what was going on.
When we got the call the next morning, they confirmed that he had torn both ACLs and both meniscus. Oddly enough, the hesitation on the one leg that we had discovered weeks before was most likely due to the ACL tearing in that leg.. but that’s not very painful for them. They went on to explain that an ACL tear in a dog is nothing as dramatic or painful as it is for, say, an athlete. We were relieved to hear that, but still concerned, as I’m sure you can imagine. Further explanation showed us that the reason he finally reacted in pain (during the ball-throwing incident) was because that was when his meniscus tore. And THAT is super painful for them. Which I can only imagine!
So even though the tick-borne infection didn’t even seem to be a factor (if it had even been real to begin with), the medications that he was on were the same we would’ve needed to give him if we’d known about the ACL and/or meniscus from the beginning. But now, he definitely needed surgery. On both legs. And he’d need to be confined and watched for about the next 12 weeks.
He had the first surgery just 2 days later. Both meniscus were scoped and removed, and they repaired the ACL tear in the left leg (considered the more acute injury) by negating the ned for an ACL altogether – they performed what’s called a TPLO surgery, which you can read more about here, if you’re interested: Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. But the short version is that they took off the top part of his tibia, and reattached it just slightly over using a metal bracket, and this made it so that his femur could sit directly on top of the bone and remove the need for the ACL altogether. After 4-6 weeks his bone would fuse back together 100% and the bracket wouldn’t even be unnecessary (though it’d be left in to reduce the need for invasive surgeries and extended recovery).
Fun times, right? Yeah… exactly.
Anywho, at his appointment today, the Doc said that he was healing beautifully. We no longer need to keep him in a cone and can even stop force-feeding him his meds (since he’d caught on to our ruse pretty quickly after somehow bitting into one of his yucky little pain pills, and then no longer trusting a single things that we’d give him). He’s no longer at risk for infection to the wounds since they’ve closed up enough, and he’ll be more than thrilled, I’m sure, to sleep cone-free tonight for the first time in weeks. And I’ll be thrilled not to be woken up every 15 minutes when he struggles to readjust and go back to sleep. Huzzah!
And in about 4 more weeks we’ll be going through this again… though it be on a smaller scale. Fortunately, he should have a much easier recovery, since he’ll have already healed from the double meniscus removal and will have his left leg to put all of his weight on while the other is healing. Then when he’s healed for another 4-6 weeks after that surgery, he’ll be 100% fine again. No needing to limit his activity or change his way of life from before the injury. He’ll be pretty much as good as new.
Welp, it’s been rough for a bit for quite a few different reasons, but I’m just super glad to know that this one is on it’s way out. The Pup is doing well and as long as we can continue to swing the Vet bill that we’ve racked up, we should be good to go. And so far so good on that front, so fingers crossed that’ll continue.
Have any of you had experience with pet injuries? Am I the only one that didn’t even know dogs had knee caps to begin with?