Pets At the Vets – Torn ACL – Part Five

18 Sep

Our Vet, Adam Gassel, DVM, of Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Irvine, CA, stressed the need for use of sedation for Casey upon her return home.  Since we do not have the ability to explain in hefty detail to our best dog friends what is now required of them, it is up to us to be their care giver. After all, they render us unconditional love. Why would we not return the love in kind?

While your dog will be sent home with antibiotics to help prevent infection, pain relief medications, and a sedative, it has been in my experience that the sedative is that which has been (a nd hopefully will continue to be) most helpful to Casey’s full recovery process. However I am not a veterinarian or in any way giving you medical advice, I am sharing with you Casey’s ACL experience in the hope that it may help you provide preliminary (ball park) diagnosis that “something” is amiss due to the “limping” you see, and, thus that you must take action. Your dog can not use a smart phone or text the vet that she or he needs help. They can’t make their way to the ER by themselves. So, again, this becomes a test of your true love for your dog. You set the ball in motion to fix the problem; you must take responsibility to see that your dog receives the best medical attention you can provide. And I’m not speaking “money” here, although the surgery is costly. It’s time. Your time. Your spouse’s time. Your children’s time. Neighbors. Friends. Other family. Anyone you can inveigh to help you help your pet.

However sedation is one of those great modern miracles which are “human” made. Thus it carries with it pros and cons unique to your dog’s size, breed, temperament, age, energy, and ability or willingness to understand the requirement for the very strict care you are enforcing on them.

Casey was sent home with “Acepromazine.”   Much has been said, written, journaled, and blogged regarding sedation in humans who are ill but not as much has been written and published about sedation of our pets post surgery in non-medical publications.  In the human world, sedation is clearly a good thing when used appropriately. We will focus in this blog on the appropriate use of sedation in Casey, my own concerns about potential mis-use of sedation, and my resolution regarding same. Others may disagree, but that’s your privilege.

When we first brought Casey home post-surgery, her eyes were glassy. She walked a bit like a woozy elephant. We lifted her into and out of our SUV. With each day, we felt more tempted to not over sedate her. To let her head and body be clear of the continued sedation. As the first days passed, Casey did not seem to much care. It was okay with her to lay in her pen and recover. However as the days moved into the second week, she was becoming more alert. Her two dog-mates had been keenly protective of her; now they wanted her to play with her. Clearly she wanted to play with them. Per Dr. Gassel’s rules, Casey had to stay calm.

So we delivered the next dose of sedation. After about thirty minutes, Casey became less amped and relaxed. The other two dogs followed her cue and lay down, too. This was a routine we would come to know very well. Helping Casey help herself. #

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