Sunday, December 23, 2018


Dom had his surgery a week early and is doing great.  The clinic called me on Tuesday, the 18th, and said that they had a spot open up for this surgery on Wednesday, the 19th.  They knew that I was eager to get this surgery done (they originally thought they'd be able to fit him in on the 17th, but the correct sized equipment for Dom wouldn't be resterilized in time) and wanted to offer us the spot.  Naturally, I took it.  I wanted to do the damn thing (can I get a woop woop from my Bachelorette watchers?!) and get the 8 week recovery phase under way.  I said yes and they reminded me of the pre-op things that I needed to do for Dom.  After hanging up, I then wanted to vomit.  Yes I had already made the decision to do the surgery and set the date, but at that point I had then had less than 24 hours to mentally prepare for dropping off my dog and start rearranging our schedule for the next week, which had been under the assumption of a non-operated on dog.

After updating my friend Megan and Dom's breeder, I was feeling a little better.  Dom made it through the surgery with complications and nothing unexpected found.  When I chatted with the surgeon the morning that I dropped him off (also, trazadone is a WONDERFUL thing pre-op; for the dog, but probably also for the owner.....) I got a little more thorough explanation of what was going to happen, which put me a little more at ease.  The bone fragment was going to be removed and the abnormal bone spur-ish growths within the joint were going to be deburred, along with generally cleaning the arthritic gunk out of the joint.  Cool beans.  Prognosis post op was good with a hopeful return to normal activities.  I specifically asked about hiking and was told that this was quite likely after his recovery period.  SILENT HELLS YES!!!

I got an update on Dom post op that he was doing well and happily drugged up.  After the surgeon was done with surgeries for the day, I got a call from his as well where he told me everything went well and he removed the largest bone fragment he's ever removed from this type of issue.  When I picked Dom up the next afternoon I saw just exactly what he was talking about.....

Do you see the size of that thing???  I believe my exact words were "holy mother of god." Followed by "can I take a picture of this?"  To which he replied that I was welcome to keep it.  I politely declined.  This bone fragment is a piece of bone that should have fused to the rest of the bone as Dom was growing up.  For whatever reason, it didn't and has been sort of floating around in his elbow creating quiet havoc.

Dom stayed at the clinic over night and I picked him up the next afternoon.  I was shocked to learn that he was fully weight bearing on the leg and they gave me a bunch of typed out instructions as well as going over his various medications with me.  I brought my ramp (while realizing that I had only practiced using the ramp inside the garage and not into and out of the minivan....) and Dom was super great about calmly (drugged) walking into the van.  Our ride home was uneventful and I basically spent the rest of the night staring at my very doped up dog. 

His recovery has gone really well and I am already at the point (a mere 4 days post op) where I am fondly looking back on the first 24 hours home.  At this point, Dom acts as though he is totally recovered and should be able to go back to business as usual around the house.  However, for these first two weeks, he is only allowed to walk around when he is going out to potty.  He is otherwise to be restricted on his movements with minimal walking, no running, no jumping and no real playing.  Have I mentioned that they prescribed trazadone? ;)

We have already devised ways of keeping Dom from attempting to hop up onto the couch or bed when he is passing near them.  X-pens and baby gates are my best friends.  We have four dog beds sprinkled throughout the house so that we don't have to lug anything as we move from one room to another.  And I am learning just how much it sucks to be a dog who has to go out into the elements in the back yard to use the facilities, because he HAS to be on a leash whenever he goes outside to maintain that activity restriction.  Overall, he's been a champ.  We've only had to use the inflatable elizabethan collar for the very brief times that he has been alone in his recovery room.  So far that has been enough to keep him from licking his sutures.  Otherwise Tanner and I have taken shifts when we've needed to leave the house or even just for us to go to the bathroom, and one of stays with Dom and we therefore don't have to use any collar on him.  Tomorrow, the 24th, starts up a normal work day for Tanner and I both, so that will be the first day that Dom will be left home alone for a few hours.

His incision sites are healing up nicely.  The edema in his feet was gone by day 2 post-op.  He's eating normally.  Drinking is a little hit or miss and we've been giving him spritzes out of the spray bottle at regular intervals to make sure he stays hydrated.  Which reminds me to mention why it's not a great idea to use a spray bottle as a punisher.  A lot of conformation people already use it to keep their dogs hydrated during warmer weather at dog shows to keep them from panting or to cool them down, so you obviously don't want a dog who sees the spray bottle as punishment.  But I've had enough instances where it has come incredibly handy to have a dog be able to drink out of a spray bottle, that it seems like you're eliminating a possible positive tool from your bag of keeping your dog in good health.  When Miley was no longer weight bearing on the leg affected by osteosarcoma, the only way I was getting water into her was via the spray bottle.  She wouldn't get up on her own to get water out of a dish.  And now with Dom, he seems to be afraid of the fountain in the crating area that he has previously loved.  So we're utilizing our friend the spray bottle to maximize his water intake. 

But in general, Dom is doing great.  Which makes me happy on so many fronts, but apprehensive on the exercise restriction front.  We aren't even one week post op and trying to get him to WALK from one room to the other requires a hand on his collar at all times.  Don't even get me started on how he longingly looks at the couch and bed...

I also realized that I hadn't done my monthly podcasts!  For the month of December my dog/training related podcast that I HIGHLY suggest you give a listen to is the Animal Training Academy.  Ryan interviews a variety of guests with a varied background in the species that they've worked with.  I find it fascinating to hear how trainers working with other species go about approaching training plans and decisions.  Especially how they figure out reinforcers and enrichment items.  I recommend you head on over and give him a listen.

My non-dog/training related podcast that I recommend is absolutely holiday themed.  Check out the Christmas Old Time Radio podcast!  This time of year in particular I enjoy listening to the stories that used to get broadcast over the radio.  The thinking several decades ago was a little different, but the heartwarming, holiday sentiments are still the same.  It's a little something holiday themed to brighten up your drive if you need a little break from some of the overly repeated songs on the radio. ;)

And with that, I hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

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