Status: Lily

Note: we have so much going on, I decided to post individual updates on each family member.

Lily is doing great! She is no longer on any meds and generally seems to be adjusting to life as a “tripod”. Our fear is that her other leg will “blow out” before this one is healed. I don’t think she can learn to be bipedal on her front legs!

She has started challenging gates; if I don’t latch one well while unloading stuff, she will pull it open with her nose. Then she goes for a walk about in the neighborhood. But when she returns she lies down for hours! I am sure she is both tired and has some pain.

I suggested we get some Rimadyl for pain from the vet but Donna said “NO!” because she will feel even better and overdo! I referred to this as “tough love” care!

She still looks funny with her shaved leg! And she looks kind of subdued since she went for a walk yesterday.

Lily’s Surgery

This turned out to be a better day than I expected. Her “blown out knee” got repaired. The trip to Colorado Springs went well. I got to visit with my kids and their families.

I got there about 45 minutes early so we (I) had time to relax. The staff was helpful and even got me a cup of [serious] coffee. Then we waited. Lily was glad to be out of the Escape (The receptionist helped me unload her.) but soon got bored and lay down.

She wouldn’t lay on the carpet or the dog bed in the corner. This is the door into the hallway where she could hear people going by. If the vet had come in, she woulda got smacked but she didn’t lay there long.

This facility does everything! In addition to the orthopedic surgery, they are THE pet trauma center for Colorado.

This is their ambulance! I have no idea how often it gets used but they have a fulltime ER. The rock formation in the background is Pulpit Rock which used to mark the north end of Colorado Springs until it grew beyond it by developing to the east.

I left her there, went to breakfast, drove over to Jeff’s house and helped him unload groceries, then we met Scott’s family at Ruby Tuesday. We had a nice visit with Scott and Jeff, my sons, Jackie, Scott’s wife, and Dillon, my grandson. And I got to spend time to bond with Jeff’s four cats. Well, three anyway; one of them doesn’t cotton to strangers.

While we were harassing the waiter at Ruby Tuesday, the hospital called saying Lily was out of surgery and would be ready to go in an hour! About two hours early! So we adjourned lunch and I took Jeff home; he was ready for bed (He works nights). Then I went to Scott’s house so they could give me our Christmas presents. I spent some time there then went up to get Lily.

I went over the after care instructions while they gave her an epidural morphine injection. Then one of the staff helped me take her to the car. She was pretty stoned but we made it. They had given us a sling to hold her back end up. The surgical wound is very delicate for a while and any weight can make the bone graft fail. So she carried her rear while I guided her. Later I learned how much work the helper was doing! She has a heavy ass!

Once she got settled in the Escape, she didn’t move the whole trip! And had an “Elizabethan collar” on. It turned out this was a problem.

I made a stop in Cañon for gas and eggs then went on up home.

It took a while to get her in the house. She still didn’t navigate well from the drugs and I could barely carry her back end! Once we got in the house, Donna helped me on the sling and it was much easier. We got her on her bed in the living room.

She looks so miserable. The blue and white thing is her sling. The dressing on her leg is the surgical wound. And the white thing on her neck pads the cone. She refused to drink or move until we removed the cone. Now we have a constant hassle to keep her from licking the wound. sigh. Traditionally, dogs always “licked their wounds” but now vets say they have unsanitary mouths and will infect themselves.

I guess we will see. One thing she does like is meals in bed!

Also she can’t go outside without a leash. She has NEVER been a house dog and this is not setting too well! We worked out the terms of going out to pee but tonight, Lily and Donna worked out the terms of doing a #2 (Her first since the surgery.). It involved NOT being on a leash!

We are all training each other. And learning how to give her all the pills the vet prescribed: three, three times a day for pain; one twice a day for pain; and two antibiotics twice a day. But wrapping them in margarine makes the medicine go down! Lol.

Meanwhile, the cats do not like our pet door being blocked to keep lily in! Donna has been getting up regularly at night to let them in but we modified the pet door so she can get some sleep!

It is gonna be a long three weeks!! But she is much happier now and doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

It makes me cringe that she is lying on her wounded leg! But at least she can’t lick it then! Lol.

Her incision runs the length of her thigh.

There are no stitches! I guess they glued it closed! This will not be over until next year.

Poor Lily

We took Lily to the vet today because she had been limping on her left rear leg since about noon yesterday. She had gone outside then came in injured. She avoided using that leg last night but the pain was obviously worse as the evening went on.

I called the vet early and was told, “Can you bring her in NOW?”. Sigh. That was unexpected but there were no appointments before 10 AM on the vet’s calendar! So . . .

Since we were planning on a relaxing morning before we went, we started jumping through our butts to get ready to go, stuff like skipping breakfast and having to dress! I had told the veterinarian’s office it took us an hour to get there so we had agreed on a 9:30 appointment. We barely made it!

Lily couldn’t help get in the Escape (We choose that over the Montero since the back door opens easily and it is slightly lower to the ground). It still took both of us to lift her in, one on each end!

It took three of us to get her weighed; she hates vet scales! She weighed 83#!

The vet and her vet tech took her vitals and palpitated her leg. She was very tender just above the knee. Next was X-rays but she was so tender, the vet was going to sedate her before the X-rays due to having to extend the leg. We went to breakfast.

We ate, shopped, and mailed a letter and still hadn’t heard from them so I drove back up the her office which is way up on the north end of Cañon City. I had expected to sit and read while we waited but my timing was good and we were told to come in for a conference.

She has Anterior Cruciate Ligament rupture. Dog knees are complicated and highly stressed. Their structure is good for short-lived animals who have to chase game but wasn’t “designed” for long-lived pets.

Not counting euthanasia, we had three choices: longterm drug use to relieve pain, a half assed repair using heavy duty sutures to keep the two bones kind of aligned, and reconstructing the whole joint and installing a steel reinforcing. The problem is the two bones move back and forth across each other. Painfully. There is a cost issue involved. The best solution, the joint reconstructive surgery, is $3000 and permanent; the suture anchor is about $1700 and may fail and will also cause arthritis; and the drug control would be about $45/MO which doesn’t heal the problem at all. Pick one.

Since Lily is part of our family, the choice was no contest. Fix it and figure out to pay for it. The surgery is called Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO). Lots of Dremel work. Three weeks recovery time. And a payment plan. Poor baby.

Donna is working on the payment plan which has come to involve her 401(k). This in turn involved our taxes since these accounts involve taxable income when withdrawn.

A long and eventful day. Poor Lily is also having her usual nausea from the pain killer. sigh. Donna gave her some Pepsid AC so she was able to eat my steak trimmings and keep them down. 🙂

And now it is snowing . . .

A Stop at a Rest Area

On our way to Canon City from Salida, we stopped at the Canyon Trading Post Recreation Area near Cotopaxi to relax and enjoy the Arkansas River for a while; this is the same place where we watched the river go by white and the trees had fences. The humans used the vault toilet while Lily, in spite of the copious amount of water she had drank, did not stop sniffing.

So we went for a walk hoping Lily would HAVE to pee. We went down by the river and Lily walked into the water, drank some water, then jumped right into the river! We had no idea she liked to swim! I urged her out with the leash before the current carried her away. So we then had a completely wet dog! Who walked over and shook herself in front of us!

She has quit leaving streams of water but you can see wet footprints she is leaving.

She is very happy for being a wet dog! We all went over and sat down at a shady table to read, well, Donna and I did. She continued to sniff. Until an animal across the river began complaining about the presence of humans and dogs in the rest area! And got more emphatic when a group of float fishermen stopped there for lunch!

This video is designed to be listened to. The “chirping” noise is the [assumed] marmot barking at us. Both these and groundhogs make this noise to warn others of intruders.

We hung on to Lily’s leash for fear she would jump in the river again to get to it!

Finally we all settled down to read or watch for intruders while Lily dried off some. It was relaxing, listening to the murmur of the river, noises of the wildlife, even the traffic on the highway above us. But eventually we had to move on.