Pets At the Vets – Torn ACL Recovery – Part Seven

23 Sep

Pets at the Vets – Torn ACL Recovery – Part Seven

Sutures Come Out & Cleaning Day

On Tuesday, Sept. 20th, Casey’s metal sutures came out. Apparently painless, Casey didn’t seem phased. It didn’t take more than three minutes to remove the thirty-some clips. Now she was okayed to “lick” her shorn leg. The outside layer of skin had closed over nicely. Now we had to focus on her bone healing. I channeled Lassie or tried to – she was the postcard standard for calm, obedient dogs.

Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 – The Cleaning Team arrives this morning… and given how the dogs love to greet them, I have to be extra vigilant to prevent Casey from undoing her progress. I supposed it was like caring for an infant to whom you could not explain what was happening to her.  Casey likes to walk with the team through each room in the house, often stealing a sponge or dropped Kleenex. I had been cleaning the exercise pen myself since the surgery, but today I decided to let the pros take a swipe at it. There were remnants of knuckle bones and shredded fabric toys in nooks even I didn’t know about. They would find them.

I brought the three Golden girls into my office at the front of the house. It is to a comfortable and familiar place to ensconse them, albeit lured with treats. It was better than having them outside, as some pet owners must do given their space (fence) vs. work day constraints. It should come as no surprise, that pet surgery puts the onus on the pets human to pick up the slack — and stack the odds for a favorable surgical outcome.

Since I had been laid off, we knew when we entered upon Casey’s TPLO that I would be with her 24/7 until I found work. Also, we suspected I would need times outs from the stress of being ever vigilant. We factored in hiring one of our neighbor’s teenagers, Nikki, and working with our dog-sitter, Karen, to provide additional “in-out” access and companionship for the Goldens.

But back to the cleaning team, Maddie was still leery of vacuums, but her sisters were not. She tolerated the intrusive always growling machine. Sometimes she snuck outside until the team closed the door after them. However today, Casey was beginning to feel a “lot” better and it showed. Her pals knew she was rearing to play and were only too eager to accommodate.

As I write this, they have each staked out a square of carpet and are lying down. Since the minimum dose sedation meds still send Casey into la-la land relatively easily, though not keeping her snoozy for the full eight hours, we stick with the minimum dosage. Since we are both aware of the dangers of hyper sedation in people for long periods of time, we certainly don’t want that to happen to Casey. However we are cognizant of the dangers she could do to her bone without understanding what she’s doing.

We feel that Casey has figured out that she is on the mend. Of course what dog couldn’t figure this out after waking up in the foreign-smelling, scary Vet’s office groggy, shaved of fur in odd places, achy, and unaware of the circumstances which put them there.

From the way Casey’s paws “ran” in place while sleeping, I believe she dreamt of a romp with her pals across a beautiful field. All too soon, they will be up. Each  craftily contemplating how to get more treats out of me. Barking works. They will also give much thought as to how to fake me out as to when they have to go “outside,” what to whine at that will prompt a response from me (which might in turn generate another treat or at least kudos for their being such good dogs). This will be still a long haul. For Casey, me, and all of us.

Will Casey return to her Blue Ribbon Agility champtionship finishes? To the Rally-O she loves? Her evening walks? Will she run a sunny open field without limping? Will she be part of the seventy per cent of Retrievers who successfully make it through the post-operative process? Bone to bone healed to perfection? I will keep you informed.

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