Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sam Recovery Day 1

We drove the hour to the Neurosurgery hospital to pick up Sam this morning. Paid the bill (ouch) and went into a room where we went over all of the details and instructions with one of the assistants. He is allowed up to 4 “walks” per day, which is to say that we can carry him outside to his “spot” and allow him to go to the bathroom, but these “walks” cannot last more than 10 minutes at a time, and since his legs are still wobbling from the after affects of the surgery, we have to sling him.

He’s on W/D diet from Hills, and we’ve been instructed to let him eat as much as he wants. Apparently his metabolism will be high from the recovery, so there’s no chance of him gaining weight, let him eat what he wants. They did admit that he was finicky of the W/D so they were feeding him chicken and turkey while at the hospital (he’s such a scammer).

She brought him up and the floor was slick, but she did show us how to lift him up with the sling (we need to get one of those, for now we’re using a cut up towel) and help him to his feet with it, and support him as he walks. He’s not very weight bearing on his back legs now, but his tail did wag when he saw us. Poor thing, the surgical incision is pretty long, but looks good except for a bit of swelling. He’s asleep now, but I’ll take pictures later.

We helped him out to the truck and the tech was going to try to get him to pee, but he saw the truck and all he wanted to do was get in the truck. He even looked like he was going to leap into the truck if hubby hadn’t picked him up and put him in. We put a thin dog bed on the side, which allowed me to sit in the seat, but before I could even get belted in, Sam wanted in the truck, so we helped him in and got him settled... on my coat, so I was trapped in that position for the ride home.

He travelled well, having been given a dose of Ace in the morning to help his ride home. He shifted a few times, each time it seemed brought the incision closer and closer to the edge of my seat and I was freaking out about it rubbing or touching when we hit bumps, but he was pretty calm throughout the whole ride (much calmer than we were).

We got him into the yard, and then just carried him into the house and settled him into his new private crate. We let the other two out via the deck door upstairs and then I went and got his food and other goodies. He settled into the crate very well, although we’re both nervous wrecks. He managed to eat a little of the W/D, but only out of my hand (such a scammer), we gave him some ice cubes, and set up a water bottle on the crate for him (which leaks, so we may have to rethink that one).

Hubby has been spending time downstairs with him, and the other dogs (Meeshka and Loki) are very curious as to why they can’t go down there and see the “new dog”, but they’ll get use to the new routine soon. Of course, they are huskies, and Meeshka (the Queen) is very insistent that she be shown this “new dog” and inspect the area she can’t get to.

Sam showed interest in getting out of the crate, so we figured he had to go pee. We carried him out to the yard to his pee spot and discovered that using a cut up towel as a sling on a 53lb dog SUCKS! He sniffed around a little, he’s pretty much useless in the back leg department, I hope that’s just the swelling in the spine from the surgery and the trauma. I eased up a few times to see if he would be able to hold himself up (as the tech instructed) and he stayed standing for a bit, I didn’t push it. He moved forward a bit with our help and sniffed with interest, but no pee.

Brought him back inside and he situated himself in the crate nicely and drank a small bowl of water. He’s watching some movie now.

I ran upstairs while hubby sat down there with him (he’s got a laptop down there) and tried to find an orthopedic sling for him online. I have to say that even on the handicapped pets sites that I recommend on gimpydogs... they all suck for spine issues. Most of them support the chest, which is fine for dogs with more mobility than what Sam has. Others require you to loop their legs through them, which is not an option with Sam’s injury. My friend, Karen, and I searched and searched for the type of sling they used at the surgeon’s office, which actually looked like a fleece-lined climbing belt. Hey, climbing belt!

We happen to have walking belts, that are about an inch wide, cushioned, and clip into a belt with a rather sturdy plastic clip thing. Its the same diameter as the sling used at the surgeon’s office, and would allow us to support him where he needs support, and not cover up his pee pee.

Sam is a bashful pee dog, apparently he wasn’t too bashful at the vet’s, but when he’s at home, he’ll hide behind a tree to poop. He better get over that real quick because he’ll have an audience for 8 weeks. There are signs that he has pooped (they cleaned him up well, but not totally) and we’re suppose to see at least 2 pees a day, and at least 1 poop every other day. We made him a progress chart to make sure he gets his meds, and to track his temp and bodily functions.

Keeping the same routine as usual, he’ll get fed and his morning meds at 6am, and then lunch at noon, and his nightly meds and dinner at 6pm.

We can tell that the meds are wearing off as he’s getting a bit rambunctious. We took him out again to see if he would pee (he didn’t), but he did try to skitter back to the house. The walking belt sling does work so much better than a towel, so I highly recommend buying a walking belt instead of trying to use a towel as a sling. He’s back in his crate taking a rest, and the other dogs are outside, no doubt sniffing where he’s been. So far, the other dogs have been more of a pain to care for than he has.

Sammy didn’t want to come out of his crate, apparently because he knew I intended to take his temperature. Its more likely because his pain meds were wearing off, and he had a pretty busy day, most activity since the surgery, what with the car ride and all.

We first attempted to hide his pills in bread, but he figure that out and spewed them. Then we tried hiding them in the glob of canned dog food, and he flicked them out of the dog food and ate the dog food. So, I had to pill him, and he wasn’t too happy about that.

He also decided that he won’t eat from a bowl, he will only be served by hand. Not only that, but he only wanted the dog food glop if we smeared it on small pieces of bread. Sam loves bread, so we indulged him and made him little finger sandwiches. He ate about one slice of bread and half the dog food glop, then sunk down for a nap. We’ll let him rest from that, then later on before bed we’ll try to take him out for a pee and get his temperature at that time.

We bought a baby monitor. The evenflo Whisper connect 900mhz baby monitor. So far I’m not too pleased with it. I’ve got the sound totally cranked up on the parent’s listening one and can barely hear anything. Of course, that might be a good thing, as he’s asleep, but I would think I could hear the tv down there or something, as its on, not very loud, but still on.

Sam continues to sleep very soundly and we really don’t want to disturb him, and yet we’ll need to get him up to try to go to the bathroom and take his temperature. We are waiting a bit more before we try to wake him and get him up again.

Got his temp: 101.5 (yippee) but also noticed that he’s got a small hot spot on his left leg, so we’ll need to clip that area, and then call the vet tomorrow to let them know. Since he’s on antibiotics already, I hope that will help clear it up once we get some air to it.