Saturday, December 03, 2005

Snoopy, the million dollar dog...

(although I posted a bit about this on Thanksgiving Day, I decided to post a play by play review of the surgery and days following. Just for my own amusement.)

When things are going too well, something is bound to change. Back in October, Snoopy hurt his left leg. Went to the vet, couldn't find anything seriously wrong. Told us to rest him (yeah, right) and keep an eye on it. November, Snoopy starts limping on the opposite side. Back to the vet. Nothing wrong on the right, but that left shoulder is still suspicious.

November 22 - To the specialist (ie: veterinary surgeon.) We went to the same facility that treated Toosox when she had lymphoma. Fabulous group of doctors. Just a really nice place if you have to be there. Dr. Dixon examined Snoopy and requested that we return for x-rays the next day. He was suspicious it might be loose cartilage. Snoopy would need to be sedated for radiology, so he would spend the day there.

November 23 - Snoopy was dropped off at 8:30am for his day at the vet. He was very happy and compliant. Didn't even blink when the door closed behind him. The surgeon called around 2pm. Snoopy had OCD (the physical kind, not the mental kind - though most BCs are mentally OC!) OsteoChondritis Dissecans. A chip of cartilage had broken off from the ball of the shoulder joint and lodged in the joint, causing him to limp. Most likely caused by excessive stress on the shoulder joint. He would be fine, but there was only a "fix" not a "cure." Oh yeah, and there would be a month long recovery period in which he was to be inactive. (nine month old Border Collie - are they kidding???) I could pick him up around 2pm. When I picked him up he was a little loopy, but very happy to see me. The surgical tech showed me the xrays (they're digital now - very cool) and the spot where he was missing the cartilage. Good news was the right shoulder looked fine. Snoopy came home and slept most of the afternoon.

November 24 - Thanksgiving Day. Snoopy has lots of freedom and fun. Ball at the park, running up and down the stairs, swimming in the pool, digging up the back lawn, wrestling with his brother. After today, he will be on restriction until just before the New Year.

November 25, 8:30am. Time to drop Snoopy off for his surgery. This time he's not so keen on going behind that door. He fights and cries to get back out. What a heartbreaker. 12:30pm The surgical tech calls to let me know they are going into surgery. That Snoopy has just been sedated. He has been pretty restless and vocal all morning, but is quite happy now. 1:30pm The surgeon calls to say they are out of surgery. They removed a chunk of cartilage from his shoulder and he's doing fine. Just waking up from anesthesia. I can pick him up at 8:30am the next morning.

Meanwhile, back at our house, Joe is frantic. Poor dog can't find his brother anywhere. He sniffs and paws at every corner of the house looking for him. He cries and whimpers. At one point he lays down with one of Snoopy's stuffed animals between his paws and lays his head on it. He is tragic. Completely lost without Snoopy.

And at the hospital, apparently Snoopy is no better. Howls and cries all night.

November 26, 8:30am. Time to bring the million dollar dog home. The surgical tech takes me through the discharge instructions, gives me his pile of meds (sedative, painkiller, anti-inflammatory) and let's me pay the bill. hahahaha She also was kind enough to save the chip that was removed. It is the size of a middle fingernail. Ouch.

She goes to the back to get Snoopy (whom I could hear the minute I entered the building.) He comes running in the room, jumping all over me. He is very happy. And apparently not too uncomfortable. He is not to be jumping around like this. And this was on the sedatives. We go over a few final things and I head out with Snoopy.

At home, Snoopy sleeps. Joe occasionally sniffs him (especially his incision which is approximately 3 inches long and stapled shut) and looks at me as if to say, "He looks like my brother, and even sort of smells like him, but he's not acting like him." Joe is happy that Snoopy is here, but very unhappy that Snoopy won't play. Ha. Just wait 24 hours.

That night I try to crate Snoopy to sleep. No such luck. Guess one night away from home in a crate was enough. He howls until I can't stand it. I go downstairs and sleep on the couch with Snoopy on a leash next to me. At least if he tries to move, I can wake up. It is a long night.

November 27 - Are we sure this dog had surgery? He's happy as a clam and trying to run all around the family room, which he is restricted to. A month of no exercise??? They must be kidding. With all the meds on board, Snoopy seems fine. So I decide to cut out the painkillers. Maybe with a little discomfort, he'll be less apt to try to jump and run.

And back to today. Snoopy is doing great one week after surgery. His incision looks good, the sutures come out Tuesday. He is quite mobile - getting around really well, and now restricted to the downstairs unless someone carries him up and down the stairs. He's a little stir crazy, but we've still got 3 weeks of rehab before he can play hard again. Joe still doesn't understand why he can't wrestle with Snoopy. But at least he has his brother back.

We see the vet on Tuesday. Will know more then about his rehab and progress. More later.

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