Post-op- Recovering at home

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Koda’s surgery ended up being Friday June 19th instead of Thursday as planned. The delay allowed us to get a CT scan beforehand of his leg, in order to know exactly how far up the tumor went so that the surgeon could get good margins (still waiting to hear back on that, fingers crossed). We also decided to CT the lungs- no mets! Thanks to God! But I do not doubt that this delay in surgery on the front end has cost him some time with us on the back end of all this. We are trying to balance both quality and quantity of life, and I hope that the delay in order to get a partial amputation instead of doing the full was the right decision for him. I hope this is our middle ground.

At the vets office, they brought him out strapped down onto a stretcher. When he saw the open trunk, he made a lunge for it, ripping off a toenail which started bleeding everywhere. He was so happy to be in the back of our car. Getting him out of the car was another story. Basically he decided he was tired and since he couldn’t walk, he would just live there for the rest of his life. We are so lucky that our neighbor came to help. My husband is very strong, but trying to deadlift 165lbs of a wiggling large dog was impossible without the neighbors help. Basically we stuffed a comforter under him, then rolled him up like a burrito, and carried him struggling into the house.

A few things since then:

1) I do not believe they sent him home with enough pain medications. Since he still has part of a limb, he has been sleeping/putting pressure on it and this is causing pain not well controlled by rimadyl and gabapentin alone. We are so fortunate to have a precious few tramadol tabs leftover from one of our dogs who had bad arthritis. She has since passed away, but I know she is looking over him and it is only because of her prescription that we were able to control his pain the first day he came home.

2) He did not urinate for 25hrs after bringing him home. I am thinking somehow he was just profoundly dehydrated, and a lot of the water he drank was just to replace what his body needed. Plus, he was resistant to peeing while my husband held him up in the harness but eventually you just gotta go!

3) He really has done so much better than I expected. He even hopped on the couch! (with lots of assistance on/off, also not condoned by us but basically was happening before we could stop it so we just helped him- trying to stop him from doing what he wants, at his size, has always been a challenge). He also hopped all the way out to the front yard (our attempt to give him more tempting bushes to pee on) and then proceeded to continue hopping all the way to the back of our car where he waited expectantly for us to load him up. This occurred at a slow pace, mind you, but I was still incredibly impressed by the effort. My husband joked, “He is telling us we need to go back to the vet, that we forgot his leg there and need to go back and get it!!” :’)

Sorry buddy, that leg was no good for you anymore.

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One thought on “Post-op- Recovering at home”

  1. Awwww YAY Koda! I’m super happy to know that you are home and on the mend. Stay calm buddy, no more ripped toenails OK? OUCH.

    As for that pain control, call them up and let the clinic know what his symptoms are. Get additional medication, especially today because IF he got a 3-day injectible pain medication (Nocita) or a pain patch (Fentanyl) it will wear off today if it hasn’t already. Don’t let him go with less than you feel is adequate, or his recovery will last longer than it needs to.

    Regarding his stump: Keep an eye on the incision and make sure it’s healing properly. Look for signs that the incision isn’t closing, drainage, infection, etc. This is super important, and lack of healing in such a sensitive, thin-skinned area is one of the biggest roadblocks of getting a prosthesis in a timely manner. Let your vet know asap if you see anything funky.

    Please keep us posted oK? And if you’d like help sharing photos just let us know and we can help. We would love to see your big boy!

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