Saturday, March 30, 2013

OK I admit it, I hate orthopedic surgery/recovery

Poor Bugsy. He is clearly feeling very rough, he just wants to do his 'normal stuff' which we of course have to prevent him from doing.
After the TPLO it was easy to understand how limited he was and needed to be. But with this you don't see the wound. I've read the notes. It seems like in many ways he should feel better than pre-op, but he doesn't.

Yesterday he pooped for the first time since Monday night - in fact he pooped 4x. Today? None.

We keep trying to do the passive range of motion exercises but he gives you an obvious 'this freaking hurts' message. He will do everything he can to avoid it including keeping a distance from me or Steve just in case we consider doing it to him.
So he's in a ton of pain, on loads of meds and has this foggy look about him.
I so desperately want to help him but there isn't anything I can do.
I keep hoping that tomorrow is better than today but so far each day is just horrible.

Keep him in your prayers, he needs it. I fear we have a long road ahead

Friday, March 29, 2013

surgery take 2 - a success

Well we finally had the surgery that we wanted to have back in early February. Actually we were asking about it in September, not that anyone was listening.
We decided to use the Virginia Veterinary Specialists who have offices in Charlottesville, VA and Lynchburg, VA and whole-heartedly recommend them.

Anyway I digress, once they got in there they found the biceps tendon nearly fully torn, soft and mushy aka it had been torn and tearing for quite some time.
They also found a partial tear in another ligament medial glenohumeral ligament) that should resolve with the rest and leash restrained activity.
And the biggest part of the surgery involved his elbow. Something we were totally unprepared for, he had a fragmented coronoid process. Unlike the majority of these problems his was a traumatic injury not one due to excessive growth.
So here we are 3 days post op and its so hard watch him struggle again. This time we don't have this huge wound to look at to remind us that this was a heck of a lot of orthopedic work.
He was very doped on Wednesday, his breath was like sniffing high-intensity cough syrup.
Then Thursday he was so very, very sore. But glad to be home and trying to walk around like usual.This led to him being a very sore and sad boy. Which led to me being very, very sad doggie mom.

But as he always seems to do, he woke up this morning ready to take the day on. On his terms. He did his morning flop like-a-seal and roll around in joy thing. He went out with me to get the paper and tried as hard as he could to do his whole "I have the newspaper and its a very important job" prance. It gave me a huge smile and some relief to see him more himself.
But just as he did yesterday, he wore himself out. So by late afternoon he was pretty darn sore and still wouldn't rest.

He won't let me do the range of motion exercises after a few. We are supposed to be doing 20 at a time, 3x a day and so far we can't get past 10 in a day. :(
I don't worry too much about him walking to exhaustion but I am concerned about his reluctance to do the range of motion stuff. I am going to try warming the joint up before trying it and then using some frozen peas afterward and see if we can move forward with it. It is essential that we get these in and keep the full range of motion but boy oh boy I can only gather it hurts an awful lot.

On a less serious note he was shaved again. His previous shaved area had just started to have some peach fuzz. Poor guy although in typical Bugsy style he doesn't seem to notice.
And that's all I've got tonight. I look forward to the soreness and pain subsiding to the point of having to hold him back. He's already provided a few ridiculous moments, I look to enjoy many more!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

why I think he's part GSP

We'll never know his heritage and we don't really care, he's our boy and we love him just the way he is. But every owner of a mutt must look for traits other than physical ones to help identify what their mutt's genetics have to do with their behavior/traits.
I have a zillion reasons I think GSP or pointer in him, too many to list.
The other day I was reading an article in Field & Stream magazine written by Rick Bass, "Callie's Home"
He wrote this about GSP's:
"As a young man, I owned males, was delighted by their tirelessness- their perverse indefatigability, the way they dived through barbwire fences and tried to keep hunting even when large squares of skin flapped on them like roof tin in a wind; and the way they ignored skunk spray, porcupine quills, snakebite, anything, to keep hunting; the way they literally chewed their way out of kennels and trucks if left behind for even a single run; the way they kept running, charging, hunting hard, even when pierced by a branch, the stob of wood still protruding from the chest."

I laughed thinking about some things Bugsy has withstood in order to keep after what he wanted to keep after. Rick Bass's paragraph rang true in my ears.
I've seen Bugsy run through rusty old barbwire, fortunately with the power to blow through it (size has its advantages) and I've had to pull zillions of thorns & twigs from his legs and feet and chest. He never indicated anything was wrong.
I think of the broken collars, leashes, my hands, and the intensity of the e-collar. The screaming and yipping of frustration.

Bass also wrote this:
"They were instinctive geniuses more so than self-made - and strong and powerful and sweet, sweet, sweet."

Yes my boy is sweet. Very sweet. But I don't think that's a breed trait :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bugsy, Bugsy, Bugsy

Well the saga continues.
Saturday - the day after our last post - he woke up in terrible shape. In fact he was stuck in his crate and unable to get up and out.
At first he had this look of "I had an accident" or something but I found no accident. Eventually I saw that the IV leg was bigger than ever.
In a heated exchange with Steve we did manage to get him down the stairs without anyone incurring a broken limb or bloody nose :)
We were off to the vet soon after and we added more rimadyl and an antibiotic to the mix.
Bugsy attempted to give a vigorous hello to a 140lb malamute while there, but the malamute wasn't as pleased with being at the vet as Bugsy. So he tried to eat Bugsy,  Bugsy just sort of rolled his eyes and gave the "gosh no need to be nasty" wiggle.
This provided the vet techs with quite a chuckle.
I was just amazed that he remained in such good spirits.
Anyway the swelling has decreased - although far from normal - and I suppose the rimadyl is helping with the pain.
We still don't have real answers. Is it because something went wrong when they took the IV out? Is he allergic to something? Is there something in there?
I fear we may never know.

What I do know is his special resolve and personality are shining on throughout all of this.
Yesterday he got to see his first love and was sooooo happy and goofy and so Bugsy. The family of the other dog just shook their heads, just Bugsy they said.

He saw a couple of neighbors today and was wiggly, playful and soooo happy. They too shook their heads in disbelief and admiration.

My Bugsy. I don't know how he does it.
I went for a walk and when I got home he was super wiggly, requisite toys in his mouth, so we went into the yard and he pranced as best he could and did all his silly things. I can't help but smile and in weak moments I want to cry.
Once inside he decided to do his signature rolling/flopping and when I went to rub his belly he took off and did inside zoomies as I watched in horror. And delight.
Can you imagine being so happy you need to run around like a fool with 2.5 out of your 4 legs?
When he finally stopped zooming he was pouncing on toys, flinging his kong and completely ridiculous.

Shortly after, Steve came home and he went racing out to greet him, realized he had no toy in his mouth, came flying back in, leaping past the brick steps from the garage to the kitchen, sliding across the slick kitchen floor, pounced on the kong, which made it fly through the air, he caught it while airborne, ran back out leaping over the steps again, sliding across the slick garage floor and attempting to bait Steve into doing zoomies with him.
I was shouting Bugsy NO! Steve was afraid to move too quickly as to not encourage him.
Then we both just smiled.

Steve said, "indefatigable" I thought "indomitable"

Whichever you choose he defines it.

PS I know that there are other dogs that are the same way, it is unique to dogs in my opinion and a huge reason I love all of them so much. I am very fortunate to be owned by a very large dog with an even larger personality and spirit.

Now if I could just get him healthy..........................

Friday, March 8, 2013

The indomitable Bugsy Lee

Some of his followers know that poor Bugsy has been dealing with a front leg lameness since early August. We know now that it is the shoulder that is the problem and that he has something called "biceps tenosynovitis"; that we found out in September. We've tried a few of the conservative treatments with zero success, not limited success, ZERO success. Then in early February he was out in the yard with me, 'helping' me feed the birds and decided to do a zoomie.
I mean there should be no surprise that he was going to do a zoomie, so I stood back and was very still, waiting it out. Any movement from me will encourage more zooming. Well he did one figure 8 too many and just stopped and looked at me while holding this poor front leg up off the ground.
My heart sank and I knew we no longer could wait and see. Throughout the whole torn CCL, TPLO and rehab he never held his leg up.
From August all the way until that moment he never held that leg up.
This was bad.
And yet he stood there, on three legs, with a confused look on his face but with his tail wagging.

Within 24 hours he was back out running a zoomie on three legs. Really. I mean he let this leg touch the ground but it wasn't being used. But by golly he was going to zoom.
The boy needs to zoom.

Since then we've had one screw up after another in our attempts to get some relief and healing.
My vet wanted me to let him do a cortisone shot in the joint and take decent xrays. The shot should have reduced his pain.
It didn't, if anything he was in more pain. This worse pain wore off after about a week and he had a few days that were slightly better.
We had scheduled an arthroscopic procedure but had to delay it becuase the immune system was depressed by the kenalog shot.
So finally about a month after becoming 3 legged I drove him down to the vet to have the arthroscopic procedure.
It was hard to hand him off to an unknown vet, away from home. But I did. I was sure this was the only way he'd become pain free.
About an hour after I dropped him off the vet rang me. They had prepped him for surgery and put him under, they booted up their machine and the monitor blew. Surgery was cancelled.
After recovering, I killed a bit more time and went to pick him up.
Zowie he was out of it and shaved and freaked out. What a nightmare.
I drove him back to Raleigh and listened to him 'talking' from the drugs.
I also noted that his IV leg was kind of swollen.
The next morning he was feeling much better but the IV leg was huge.
Sigh. This poor dog. He was reacting to something about the IV.
By late afternoon we were back at the vet.
He was being poked and prodded, blood collected and looking at me like WTF??
So now what?
The swelling in his leg is slowly reducing but its taking its time.
I can't reschedule surgery until it is back to normal and it would sure be nice to know what he reacted to.
I would love to not have to do the surgery, but I don't seen another option.

So my sweet and nutty boy is now half shaved, still can't use his front left leg and has a very swollen right front leg.
He's been through hell over the last two months and must think every car ride finishes at the vet where they hurt you.
But what is he like?
Well he's happy, sweet, kissed the vets yesterday as they were assessing him and taking his blood.
He's up to his usual antics and trying to do crazy runs and his post poop posturing.
He's just Bugsy.
He's eating and drinking, pooping and peeing. Begging for treats, tearing up toys and loving anyone who will let him.
The indomitable Bugsy Lee.
I know he's in my life for a reason. And surely its not so I can learn more about veterinary science than any lay person should know.

He has the key to life in his soul. He is going to do his thing regardless of his physical condition.
He is going to love you and be joyful and playful.
And by golly he is going to run zoomies.
God bless you Bugsy.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry, but I do thank you for picking me to be your human.