Monday, December 15, 2008

Ivy is hiking

We have started taking Ivy for abbreviated hikes as part of her rehab and for a change of scenery. She just loves riding in her "truck." I cannot believe that this is the same dog we brought back from Dr Stallings in October, just over 2 months ago. She is doing great.

Monday, November 24, 2008

6 Weeks Post Op and doing great! (TPLO #2)

Ivy received good news from Dr Stallings today. She has complete bone healing and has the go ahead to begin rehab. She did need to be sedated for the x rays but bounced back from that much better this time. We are letting her snooze away today and then start rehab walks tomorrow. She has been having just 4 potty breaks a day but we are going to move that to 5 with 3 of them to include a 5 minute lap around the condominium perimeter. Then gradually increase the walking time. I am going to continue with passive range of motion, since she actually seems to enjoy that. We hope she will be swimming after tennis balls in Florida by springtime!

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Dubious Anniversary

One year ago today...Halloween...Ivy suffered her first CCL rupture. We were on vacation in the mountains of southwest VA for what was supposed to be a hiking vacation on the New River Trail. About five minutes after we arrived, Ivy came back to us on three legs. This has been a challenging year for her but one thing is certain: Ivy is on the way back!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Staples Out!

Ivy took a road trip to VA Beach to have her staples removed. It is now 18 days post op. She was so excited to be getting out and going for a ride!! The bottom suture line is a bit inflamed. Dr Stallings thinks maybe she can reach it and licking it a bit with the BiteNot collar, but we are skeptical. In any event, she has about 5 more days of wearing the collar, we hope. He says she is where she should be at this point in the recovery. He wants us to continue using the sling for control when we are walking her outside. She is so exuberant!!Her next visit with him is in 4 more weeks for 6 week x-rays and evaluation. Good girl, Ivy!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On the Road to Recovery

Twelve days post op and Ivy is on the road to recovery. She takes 4 potty breaks a day and it usually takes two of us to maneuver as she uses a sling for her back legs. The weather in Virginia has been delightful; cool crisp mornings and evenings and mild afternoons. Ivy loves her time outside, as always, and tolerates the sling well. We still have her wearing the E Collar when she is unsupervised, but she does well with that also. What a good dog!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

E Collar Alert!

We have had to use the E collar a lot more as we did catch Ivy licking at her staples which is a big NONO!! She does well with it, however. We now have her sleeping with it on in the X pen all night. She wakes us promptly at 7:30am for a walk and breakfast.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One Week Post Op TPLO #2

It's been a week since the second surgery and Ivy is progressing nicely. We are walking her over to her "field" on the condo property where she likes to do her business. The bitenot collar has been on occasionally, just in case we have to leave her unsupervised during the next two weeks. Her vet wanted it on 24/7, but it is just not going to happen. She is not paying much attention to her staples anyway and never touched them after the first TPLO either. She has been enjoying some sunny days on the balcony and getting really good at napping! And so have we!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The strange zombie dog is gone.....hello, Ivy!!!

What a difference a day makes! We woke up about 6:30 am this morning to Ivy standing in her pen, wagging her tail at us! We gave her some food, which she consumed very enthusiastically, then went for a quick potty walk. By 7:00 am we were back in bed, enjoying a Sunday morning snooze. That strange zombie dog we brought home from the hospital on Friday afternoon is gone......hello Ivy!!!
Our neighbors left Ivy a Get Well Soon basket with all kinds of goodies inside. Ivy is enjoying that during NFL Sunday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ivy comes home

We brought Ivy home about 1 pm from her TPLO yesterday. It was very stressful getting her into the SUV, with the ramp, BiteNot collar, sling, etc. You would never know she was familiar with all that and I am not sure she even recognized us. Anyway, I removed the BiteNot for the ride home and sat in the back with her. We live in a condo and got her into the elevator and upstairs. She would not settle down, crying and whining, so we thought...maybe she has to pee. So, we got her in the sling and took her outside and she peed for a VERY LONG time! Now, she is sleeping fairly peacefully and we are going to take a nap while we can.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

TPLO # 2 is over!!!

Ivy is now our "bionic dog!" We are so very happy that she will now have 4 good legs to stand on. Her CCL was completely ruptured and Dr Stallings said she should be released back to us tomorrow afternoon. What a relief......bring on the rehab!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Canine Good Citizen

We decided to take Ivy on a final outing before her second TPLO, scheduled for Thursday, October 9th. We went to the Chesapeake Humane Society's "Bark in the Park," their annual fundraiser. On a whim, we had Ivy go through the test for the AKC Canine Good Citizen.....and she passed!!! This is not an easy test...see the 10 tests below:

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog's position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler's movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.

Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.

Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright").

We are so very proud of Ivy, CGC!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

TPLO # 2 Coming Up!!

We have scheduled Ivy's second TPLO surgery for Thursday, October 9th, in Virginia Beach. Dr. Stallings will perform the surgery. We have been acclimating Ivy to the x-pen again and purchased her a new E-Collar, called the "BITENOT," so she will be unable to lick her sutures. She has been generally accepting of is way better than the "lampshade" that the vet wants to sell you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Second Opinion

We went to see Dr. Pernell in Charleston, SC, who performed Ivy's first TPLO in February. We were on vacation in South Carolina at the time and drove into Charleston to get his opinion. Unfortunately, he believes Ivy's right CCL is torn also, and that she needs a second TPLO. We would love to have the surgery performed by him, but we have no place to stay to rehab her, so we will be doing the surgery in Virginia when we return. I am so very sad for her, but I am holding on to the hope that she will be swimming and running again in 2009!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ortho Vet Visit

We FINALLY had our appointment with Dr. Stallings, an Orthopedic Specialist in Virginia Beach. It went pretty much the way we had figured it would. Dr Stallings checked her drawer sign: positive. Tibial thrust test: positive. Ivy was diagnosed with a CCL rupture in the right leg. He recommended a TPLO, which we agreed to. They sedated her for a series of x-rays. The practice does this digitally, which was very cool. Ivy came out of the x-rays pretty much a drunk dog. She slept all the way home and most of the rest of the day. Of course, she did awaken to eat!
So, we have decided to do the surgery in September, after our beach vacation at Pawleys Island, SC. This gives us an opportunity to perhaps take her back to Dr. Pernell in Charleston for a second opinion and she can have a little, but not too much, fun at the beach!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vet Visit

We went to see Dr. Klemm, Ivy's regular vet. She really loves this man! He agrees that it is more than likely her other CCL. We have an appointment with Dr. Stallings, an orthopedic specialist on July 25, in Virginia Beach. Ivy saw Dr. Stallings when she ruptured the left knee, but we opted to have the surgery while we were in Charleston, SC. Coincidentally, I have learned that someone in my OrthoDogs group goes to him also, and she recommends him highly. I just wish we didn't have to wait so long to see him. Ivy seems a bit more uncomfortable this time around, so she is taking Deramaxx (nsaid) and Tramadol (pain killer). It's going to a a long 10 days! In the meantime, Ivy is back in jail.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The other knee blows out.....

Ivy was 5 months post TPLO, loving life again. She had been released by Dr Pernell to start getting her normal Lab loving life back. We had been increasing her walks and she had just started short swims. A weekend trip to Blacksburg to visit our daughter, ended that. We had been there maybe 3 minutes when Ivy ran up a hill, yelped in pain, and came up on three legs! We called our vet in Chesapeake to get a referral to a specialist and left the next day. This has been a very long weekend for the three of us. Ivy is miserable and seems to be in more pain than ever. We are miserable, but at least we can drink wine. I have some Tramadol, left from her TPLO in February, so now she is napping peacefully. Just need to get to Monday.
We had been warned that the other knee blowing out was a very real possibility. But, really, very little warning that it was imminent. Earlier in the week, after a short hike and swim, Ivy was pretty sore and I thought that maybe she was limping off the back right leg. But, the next morning she was fine. So, Ivy may be starting over again. Poor girl. Hurry up, Monday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

18 weeks Post-OP

On our way back to VA, we stopped for Ivy's 18 week check up. Bone healing was about the same as 14 weeks...bad angle maybe, says Dr Pernell. But, she was released to begin normal activity. She has also lost weight on her diet and really does look fantastic! Yippee!!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ivy's Physical Therapy

Ivy completed her physical therapy at 6 weeks post op. I am just a little behind in putting together this slide show.....Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Update-11 weeks post TPLO

Well, we backed out of the tumor removal by Dr. Pernell and decided to take her to a general vet for an evaluation. We found a nice vet practice about 15 minutes from our rental house. Dr. Steele saw Ivy and suggested a laser ablation of the growth, which he believes is benign, and also agreed to remove a small growth on her face. The procedure was performed while we waited. Dr. Steele seems to be a compassionate vet and told us that Ivy was a perfect patient! Of course she is! And she is cute too!
We are slowly increasing the length of her daily walks and she is loving that! She is not too happy about the diet she is on though, but I believe it is slowly working. Now, if only my diet would work......

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A setback....maybe

We took Ivy in for her 10 week TPLO follow up x-rays and the bone is not healed yet. The Ortho Vet says this is not that unusual but I am still worried.....
Then, while the vet techs were working on her, they must have accidentally opened up a wart on her leg (of course the operated leg) and she was dripping blood. She has a couple of these warts/cysts on her body and I was not worried about them until the Vet referred to them as "tumors." So, she is bandaged up for now and goes back in tomorrow morning to have them surgically removed. And, she has gained 3 pounds since surgery, so she is back on the diet! Poor Ivy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

9 weeks post op

I cannot believe it has been 9 weeks since Ivy's TPLO! She is still improving and her hair is probably 50% grown back on her surgical leg. We have started a walking program. She is walking twice a day for about 15/20 minutes, plus her "potty walks." We are working up to that being three 20 minute walks a day. She really enjoys the walks, as do I! Maybe I can lose some of this "Charleston weight."
We did deviate a bit from the routine last week. Joe and I were invited to attend a practice round at the Masters with our good friends, Bob and Mary Kay. Ivy stayed in her x-pen at their lake house for about 8 hours while we were gone. Her canine friend, Sasha kept her company. Ivy was ecstatic to see us when we got back! But, she was only hungry! Then I decided to stay the week with Mary Kay since Bob was going to be out of town on business. Joe drove back to the jobette in Charleston and Ivy and I had a life of leisure for a few days. We especially enjoyed our walks by the golf course where Mary Kay and Bob live. And Sasha liked peeing where Ivy had just peed! Dogs are funny that way!
Now we are back in Mt Pleasant. Ivy's 10 week x-rays are next week. I have my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Physical Therapy Grad

Ivy has graduated from physical therapy and is cleared for longer leash walks. She is one happy dog!

Monday, March 24, 2008

6 Weeks Post Op and doing great!

I cannot believe that it has already been six weeks since Ivy's TPLO. She has been in physical therapy for almost two weeks and loves going to the treatment center. Her days are still spent very quietly, either in the x-pen, on the porch, or laying in the sun. She takes 2 short walks down the street and is barely limping at all!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ivy posing 3 1/2 weeks post TPLO

"Can I go outside? Pretty please?"

Bird watching

Kong time

Friday, February 29, 2008

Kong! (18 days Post-Op)

We have rediscovered the Kong! This is an awesome dog toy that we had used when Ivy was a puppy.....during that puppy chewing stage that lasts two or three years! She LOVES it! She has a lot of down time post TPLO surgery, you know. We stuff it with carrot chips (yes, dogs need their veggies too!) cheese, milk bones, and kong stuff'n (liver flavor, please)all at once and she takes it in the bedroom and works on it! She has it devoured in about 10 minutes or less! WhoooHooo!

Ivy on the porch showing off her shaved side

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Staples Out! (10 days Post Op)

Ivy had her staples removed! The first milestone. Surgical site looks good. We are very lucky indeed as she has really shown no interest in licking or pulling at the staples. I know that she would absolutely hate wearing the "lampshade."

Her favorite snack is still Frosty Paws. She laws on the floor with it, closes her eyes, and just licks it away.

For entertainment, she loves watching the video of her friend's rescue pups!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Nine Days TPLO Post-Op

Ivy is doing great! Still a limp of course, but she never licked or chewed at the incision site and the staples are coming out tomorrow! She goes almost willingly into the x-pen for confinement and sleeps in there all night. Since she is only allowed outside about 4 or 5 times a day for short potty walks, she makes the most of it by stopping by every tree and sniffing every blade of grass in the yard. She is now interested again in her toys and really enjoys laying on her orthopedic bed on the porch, while I have coffee. I am almost ready to breathe a sigh of relief!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ivy is home

Because Ivy was doing so well and because the physical therapist does not work on weekends, Ivy was released yesterday. She is home with us in the house we are renting in Mt. Pleasant, SC. She came in sniffed around a bit, ate some green beans, then we both took a long nap! She was not real excited when I closed the door to her x-pen, but slept soundly for a good two hours!
She slept through the night last night in the x-pen. She is taking Tramadol, a canine painkiller. It seems to be keeping her comfortable and a little sleepy. This is ok, since the goal for the next 14 or so weeks is to severely restrict her activity and keep her calm. Keep a Lab easy is that?
Joe and I are both planning on just hanging out with Ivy around the house this weekend. He is off for President's Day on Monday, a good thing. We are going to be reading and watching movies....just relaxing with Ivy!

Ivy in the x-pen....not a happy camper!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Day 3 TPLO Post-Op

We spent about an hour with Ivy today. She continues to improve. So much in fact that they may release her for the weekend. That would be great! Neither Joe or I have been sleeping much, so I nodded off while in Ivy's room and he grabbed the camera.

She really does enjoy those green beans!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Day 2 TPLO Post-Op

I went to visit Ivy in rehab around lunch time and Joe met me there. She was actually wiggling while she was wagging her tail, so I knew she felt much better. I had brought her a midday snack of green beans laced with cheese wiz, which she ate very enthusiastically! Joe arrived and we walked her outside using a sling to support her back legs. And, wonder of wonders, she pooped! During my research of this surgery, I had often read that this first poop was an important milestone in the recovery process. So, yippees are in order. YIPPEE Ivy. You go girl!

Ivy enjoying her green beans

Licking the bowl clean

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Day 1 TPLO Post-Op

Ivy will now be in a Veterinary Rehab Center for about a week after her TPLO surgery. This group of Ortho Specialists (Coastal Carolina Veterinary Specialists) do things a little differently during the recovery process than most of the other specialists, who release the dog home about a day or two following surgery. Joe and I visited with Ivy during the lunch hour. She was so very happy to see us. She got up from her very large bed in her very private room at the Rehab Center and hobbled over to greet us. It was so good to see that wagging tail! I had a milkbone in my pocket which she became aware of right away. She gobbled that up. It was pretty obvious to us that she had not eaten recently. I had read that the dog may not be hungry after TPLO. Not so with Ivy! I found Whitney, the physical therapist, and we gave her a cup of her dog food, which she wolfed down! Then she settled down a bit, with some whining. I had read about this, but Joe had not, so he was taking it pretty hard. We stayed about 30 minutes. As we were getting in the car, we saw Whitney walking her outside with the sling. Ivy took a very, VERY long pee. Maybe that was part of the problem!
We were very, very impressed with the rehab center. The waiting area is large and comfy with a cool dog mural on the walls (see pic below). Ivy and the post surgery dogs have large, private rooms, each with a big ortho bed. The center has a pool, underwater treadmill, and other canine PT tools. We are very pleased with this arrangement thus far and we are starting to believe that Ivy is in good hands.

Ivy and Joe

Ivy's TPLO leg

Ivy enjoying lunch

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ivy's TPLO surgery is today

The dreaded day has finally arrived. We dropped Ivy off early this morning for her TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery for her cruciate ligament rupture. Now, isn't that a mouthful?! This is the most common leg injury in dogs, especially Labrador Retrievers, we have learned.
Ivy started limping about 15 months ago. Nothing really bad, just a slight limp after running around or hiking with us. We took her to our vet, Dr. Klemm, who said she might have this CCL injury, but he could not be sure. He suggested we get some weight off her (she weighed 82 pounds at the time) and restrict her exercise for a while. We were warned that she could blow out her knee down the road. So, Ivy started dieting. And she did very well on the diet, losing 15 pounds. We started walking again, one to two miles a day. She would still come up limping every once in a while, but a baby aspirin or canine nsaid, seemed to help.
This past fall, we booked a cabin in the mountains of Southwest Virginia for a hiking vacation along the New River Trail. We hadn't been there for ten minutes, when Ivy came up limping and on three legs. The vet we saw the next day was pretty sure it was a cranial ligament rupture.
From that point forward, Ivy was on what is referred to as "conservative management." No more running, confinement in the house, short "potty" leash walks only....for several months. She also started laser therapy with Dr. Klemm. She did well, started weight bearing on the injured leg again. Then, two days after Christmas, she got away from us and came up on three legs again.
By this time, my husband Joe had decided to come out of retirement and take a temporary job in Charleston, South Carolina for up to six months. We found a fully furnished rental house and an excellent orthopedic Vet specialist in Charleston, Dr. Robert Pernell with Coastal Carolina Veterinary Specialists.
Which now brings us to today, February 11, 2008. From this point forward, it will always be Ivy's TPLO date. It is our fervent hope to get our pretty yellow Lab back to hiking with us and running on the beach by the summer's end. She has fourteen to sixteen weeks of recuperation and rehibilitaion ahead of her. She will stay at the hospital for a week following surgery for recovery and physical therapy, then come home to us for three weeks. While she is home, she will be confined to an x-pen most of the time in the house, have about four short potty breaks a day, no running, jumping, etc. and continue with home PT exercises. Then, she returns to the ortho vet PT treatment center for two more weeks of physical therapy. Then back home and more recovery, same regimen as at the beginning. By the end of May, we hope to have her released, my husband's "jobette" completed, and be back in Virginia for boating season.
The estimate for this TPLO surgery and all the rehab comes to about $3400.00. I mention this in case anyone reading this has a dog come up with unexplained lameness. This is more widespread than you think. It may be genetic also. Take care of your dogs and give them a pat on the head from me!

Ivy at 82 pounds

The day after her injury in Virginia

The weekend before her TPLO