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