We've made through our second day with no major incidents!
I want to keep a record for my own sake of how Tika's recovery progresses but I figure our experience might be helpful to someone else in the future - Wren's and Borderkelpie's personal experience with their dogs was so reassuring when I had moments of doubt. I'll update here for now but let me know if you think a new thread would be better.
We saw her vet yesterday and she was really pleased with how Tika is doing. She expects that Tika will have a fairly quick recovery and I am cautiously optimistic as well. I'm mostly worried about overdoing it and causing a setback - keeping Tika still is going to be a challenge. Also, since Tika had an accident while laying down, possibly wetting the incision, the vet has Tika taking antibiotics every 12 hours.
Tika gets Percocet every 12 hours and Gabapentin every 8 hours. I've noticed that about an hour before her next dose of both of these she gets a bit restless and turns to look at the incision. At that point she seems to prefer laying on that side so perhaps the pressure makes if feel a bit better. I've also been putting an icepack on her thigh for a little while every few hours and she seems to like that.
The vet thought Tika was a little dehydrated on Friday but decided she would be fine since she was drinking water/chicken broth and showing interest in food again. Today she was drinking lots of water and turning up her nose at canned food so I've been giving her a mix of homemade and canned with a few kibbles at the end. All her medications have to be taken with food so she is essentially eating 5 small meals a day.
Tika won't eat pill pockets (Greenies or homemade) anymore which means that I have to push 15 pills a day to the back of her mouth and get her to swallow them. Unfortunately, her throat is still sore from the intubation and it's becoming difficult to get her mouth open. I don't even want to think about how many pills I had to give a second or third time after she managed to spit them out. Sigh, I may have to consider a pill gun if this keeps up.
Tika is wearing the Ruffwear Webmaster Harness all the time right now but I undo the back strap when she is lying so it doesn't dig in. She is getting to her feet mostly by herself but I "catch" her back end so she doesn't stumble over or fall back down. Walking out to the grass is going well, she is a bit slow of course, but she has the hop down pat and for the most part keeps her back leg centred. She is getting the hang of squatting with only one back leg to balance/hold her up - this morning she still needed help but was doing better this evening. She has some trouble turning away from the missing leg side but she can back up and hop up/over the door sill.
The incision still seems fine, no weeping or bleeding, not much swelling. She has bruising along the bottom/inside of the thigh - she only had a small amount when we brought her home but it has developed to the length of the incision since then. Most of the bruising is still red but the edges are beginning to turn purple.
We are finished pills for today and now I have to see how well I can keep us both dry in the pouring rain. One more trip outside and then it's bedtime.
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I wish for your sake her pill swallowing will improve. I guess it's like giving a child medicine it doesn't like. Maybe hide it some cheese, or rolled up turkey, ham, or perhaps in a piece of hotdog? These may be foods you wouldn't normally give her but these aren't normal times!!
I don't mean to sound rude, I just looked at your original message about the condition of her leg and the location and was wondering about the extent of the amputation. I really do feel uncomfortable asking, it seems crass. I am just trying to understand the nature of the surgery since you mentioned you put ice packs on her thigh, and the original mass was in the area of the hock. Please forgive me if it looks as though I am being insensitive, that is the furthest from my intentions.
Best wishes to both of you for a speedy recovery.
Last edited by Luce; 04-27-2014 at 02:05 AM.
Reason: Forgot something
I think you are an amazing caregiver, so thorough and thoughtful! It's good of you to share Tika's recovery journey with us, it's certain to help others. I really appreciate hearing how she's coming along. How tough to get all those pills into her! The old standbys that work for me have been rolling the pill in peanut butter, cheese, liverwurst or coconut oil. But I know how quickly a dog can "return" even a well disguised pill. You might ask the vet if any of the meds come in liquid form. I have found getting a dropper full of medication into a dog's or cat's mouth easier at times. If you can entice her with a small bit of food (a peice of hot dog, meatball, whatever) then give her one with the pill it, and another without it in quick succession, that sometimes works. There are some ideas for administering pills here. How to Give Your Dog a Pill: Several Methods | eileenanddogs It does sound like Tika is making very good and rapid progress. Here's to it continuing and her soon running around like her old self!
Cabryn Chagall CGC
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Luce and Chagallsmom, those are good suggestions for ways to hide pills. The trouble is that Tika actually chews her food - she doesn't just grab a mouthful of kibble and crunch a couple of times before swallowing, she picks up one or two pieces, crunches at least four times, and then swallows. She chews just as deliberately on anything I hide a pill in and either spits the pill out whole or crunches the pill into pieces, spits it out and spends several minutes making faces and shaking her head. She had Tramadol for a few weeks before the surgery and if I did a rapid fire of say, bread, bread, bread with pill, bread, that worked fine but she's caught on now and can't be tricked.
Luce, I don't think the question about the level of amputation is rude or insensitive at all and I don't think I ever explained that in either thread. The tumor was in her hock joint and the bone surrounding it was deteriorated to such a degree that even if the tumor could have been removed the bone wouldn't have healed. If a dog has a limb amputated with a long "stump" remaining the dog may try to use the limb which would cause problems for that limb and for the rest of the body that would be forced into a strange position to accommodate. If you were going to have a prosthetic for a dog's back leg you would need to leave the knee joint and part of the tibia and fibula so that the prosthetic would have the best chance of staying in place. Since we weren't looking to have a prosthetic for Tika (for various reasons) the amputation was through the femur or thigh bone. The muscles were cut mid-thigh and the femur is only about 5" long. The muscles are wrapped around/over the end of the bone and they provide padding and protection. I will post a picture later so that you can see what her leg looks like.
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I just want to chime in and say that you are doing the most wonderful job of taking care of little Tika...it's great that your family is there to help out...and it's so nice that you are updating us so well on the Forum.
Seems like Tika is doing VERY well, I am so impressed at how you seem to know JUST how she is feeling...and I will send prayers and healing energy that her tummy settles and she will start taking the pills better. Honestly, you are doing an AWESOME job of nursing her..Love and Hugs to you all...
I'm so glad Tika's recovery so far, has been clear sailing, no complications!!!! Hopefully the weather will get warmer and sunny so she can gain more balance and strengthen her muscles. In no time at all I bet she'll be running just as well as if she had 4 legs!
Thank You so much for sharing it all with us, it's really an education!!!!!!!!!!
Give sweet Tika a great big gentle hug from me & Molly!
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Such good news. She's going to do just fine. You are indeed doing an awesome job of being careful with her and helping her along.
Peanut butter always works for me...they get it stuck on the roof of their mouth and lick, lick, lick so much that the pill winds up going down the hatch without them even noticing. lol. But I guess some are more able to notice than others. Just thought I'd tell my story. Lol
Thanks for the organized update. It was very nice to get the good news.
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