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Sunny's Journey

Becoming a Tripawd at 13

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What day is it?

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Some days I can’t remember how long it has been since Sunny’s surgery due to lack of sleep.  Today was one of those days.  Sunny decided that everyone should get up around 4 am for some reason.  From then on he wouldn’t just sit and be quiet unless one of us was petting him.  I wondered if this was due to pain, but today he has not shown any signs that he is in pain so I’m stumped.  While it certainly could be linked to pain, I’m just not sure it is.  I think the tramadol may be effecting his sleep schedule since he tends to sleep so well after his dose.  I think this is leading him to sleep more during the day then he normally would thus he is getting up earlier.  Normally we get up at 5:30 am.  The Rimadyl was indeed causing some of the odd behaviors we saw because now that he is off of it they have disappeared.  I’m thinking that if tonight he is worse than last night that maybe we need to discuss him potentially going back on the Rimadyl or trying gabapentin.  However, I hope that is not necessary so our next priority can be getting him off the tramadol in the hopes that he will sleep and eat better off of everything.  Getting the last of his sutures out will probably also help.

Today Sunny did ok taking his medication.  He is still taking his pills in the pill pockets but sometimes I have to offer them to him several times.  He also refused his afternoon tramadol until 5:30 pm which was three hours late.  This is also kind of why I think he isn’t in much pain.  During that time he just slept and didn’t show any indications that he was in any discomfort like we saw earlier on when he would refuse pain medication at the appropriate time.  We even went outside during that time and he just walked around exploring like normal.  As a result I did debate just dropping the tramadol back to twice a day but I would really like to give it at least another day so the Rimadyl should be completely out of his system.  In the mean time we are also going to try putting the tramadol in empty gel capsules and put those in the pill pockets.  In theory this should also help shield him from the bitter taste that tramadol supposedly has.

Sunny’s bruising today appears to be a little darker towards the center, however it is no longer expanding and around the edges it is looking better.  We are going to continue to watch it, but as long as it is healing I’m not going to worry about taking him to the vet again since it isn’t his favorite place right now.  I also saw him laying on his amputation side or both sides like he used to so I don’t think it is bothering.  It is times like this I wish he could talk to us which would make things much easier!

Sunny relaxing on his new bed.

Sunny relaxing on his new bed.

This afternoon I was happy to see that Sunny decided to give laying on his new orthopedic bed a try!  He slept on it for about an hour which I guess is about as good as it is going to get.  While I wanted him to use this post surgery I’m not too surprised he isn’t using it since he views our bed as his dog bed.  It’s just unfortunate that those pesky humans also try to sleep in it.  This may also lead to some of his discomfort at night since he can’t spread out as much with both of us in the bed.  I’ve noticed that on nights when Pete gives up and goes to sleep in our guest bedroom Sunny seems to sleep better.  Honey on the other hand has decided to sleep on the new dog bed at night since Sunny isn’t, so at least it is being used.

You can also see in the photo above I tried using the clear cone Sunny came home with following surgery a little bit today.  I think he likes this e-collar better since he can see out of the sides.  Unfortunately though, it is too small for him (17″) given how much a cockers mouth/nose sticks out.  I’m sure it was fine for him after surgery though given all the drugs in his system.  After wearing it for about an hour Sunny decided to lick his stitches at which point I had to quickly switch him back over to his black comfy cone.  On the plus side I was able to clean the comfy cone while it was off him.  I’m debating buying a larger clear e-collar, however he should be out of his current one within a week so I’m not sure it is worth it.

Here is to hoping Sunny sleeps better tonight since I’ve got some errands to run tomorrow.  We are slowly but surely leaving him at home now for brief trial periods and all seems to be going according to plan.  At this point I should be able to get back into the office once he gets off his tramadol three times a day.  I just hope by then he starts sleeping through the night since it isn’t going to be pretty if he doesn’t.


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Sunday Funday!

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So today was our first day off of Rimadyl and everything seems to be going really well.  Sunny hasn’t shown any signs of pain.  By tomorrow the Rimadyl should be very close to being out of his system so assuming that is going well on Wednesday we will probably start cutting the tramadol back.  I suspect he will be ok since the t-reflief is used as an alternative to NSAIDS which is what Rimadyl is.  Sunny has also done much better today taking his tramadol and t-relief.  I think only having 5 pills total to give throughout the day has helped a lot.  This morning we struggled a little to figure out what would work, but thankfully he is back onto taking his medications in the pill pockets.  I’ve also been using tweezers to handle the medication at the suggestion of one of the amazing folks from tripawds to make sure he only smells the food and not the medication.  His appetite is not as good as we would like, but I suspect that is a side effect of the cone and tramadol.  Originally I thought it may be from the Rimadyl, but that may not have been the case.  I’m hopeful we can begin tapering the tramadol back this week first to twice a day and then to only once or not at all.  That said I think we want to keep him on the tramadol until his remaining sutures come out just to error on the side of caution in terms of his pain management.  We plan to keep him on the t-relief for a while until all his bruising etc. has healed.

Sunny spent most of the day lying in bed when he wasn’t up and about.  It is amazing how fast he can move on three legs now.  I think he actually moves faster than he used too on four.  The cutest new thing he does is spin on his back leg like a ballerina on any surface that will allow it.  He seems to do this a lot in bed when he wants to turn since the Rumpl blankets material allows it.

Sunny relaxing in bed.

Sunny relaxing in bed.

The other big thing we noticed today, and which can be seen in the photo above, is some new bruising in the area that had not fully healed yet.  We aren’t sure why this is.  Obviously it is most likely related to some of his sutures being removed yesterday.  We did notice a small area that bleed a little afterwards below his incision.  However, we are not sure if a scab was pulled or what, but we are keeping a close eye on it.  Today it got darker just like his original bruising did so I am hoping it is on it’s way to healing.  There is no odor or discharge and he doesn’t show any signs of discomfort when we touch it gently so I don’t think there is anything seriously wrong.  I posted in the forum over at tripawds just to get an idea if anyone else has seen something similar.  Although it was pointed out that Sunny is both very fair and may just have thin skin given what we saw after his initial surgery which could explain the current bruising.  His incision continues to look fantastic.  I think it is also fair to say that we are also now at the point where we could read way too much into anything since we spend so much time observing him.  Assuming it is not looking better tomorrow I’ll probably run him up to the vet just to make sure everything is healing ok.  I’m hoping that wont be necessary.

Sunny still isn’t a fan of his physical therapy exercises.  I mean they do require you to do something more than lay in bed.  🙂

Tapering Down

This morning we were up bight and early for a few reasons.  First and for most Sunny needed his tramadol at 6:15 am, but I also wanted to get him into the vet first thing to beat the Saturday rush.  Since our vet opens at 8 am on Saturday it unfortunately didn’t make sense to go back to bed no matter how much I wanted too.  Overall Sunny has been taking his medications slightly better today.  We have used cheese, wet dog food, and canned pumpkin.  At this point I am rotating methods frequently to try and keep his suspicions down.  I also want to try and introduce pill pockets again since they worked so well for so long.  Overall, last night he slept pretty well although he still insist on getting up for at least a few minutes around 2 am.  Last night as I was sitting there looking at my iPad while petting him around 2:30 am and all I could think of was the last time I was up this late was probably in my 20’s during my party days.  Oh how things have changed.

When we got to the vet everyone in the office had to see how Sunny was doing.  It was our first time at our regular vet since he had his amputation.  We are lucky enough that we have been visiting the same practice and seeing the same vets for the past 7 years so everyone knows our dogs well.  As soon as we got into see Dr. Porter she said exactly what I knew she would say.  That the suture that came untied was ok and wouldn’t be a problem.  I figured this would be the case, but I also knew that since it was the weekend if I didn’t take him in it would come undone tomorrow when no one is open.  Dr. Porter also said his incision looked great.  When I told her it had been 10 days she said lets take some out.  So we took out every other stitch.  The reaming stitches will just stay in next week just to be safe since he is on the older side.  That said we saw and immediate improvement in Sunny’s attitude just by removing half of them.  So many people from Tripawds said this would make a difference and boy were they right!

We also discussed Sunny’s medication and she also felt given how well overall he seems to be doing that we could discontinue the Rimadyl.  He had his last dose this morning around 11 am.  Dr. Bailey at GVR told me the same thing Wednesday, but I can’t help but worry.  I know the only way to tell if they continue to need it is to stop.  She also suggested that we may be able to start tapering the tramadol back from three times a day to only two since he is also on the t-relief.   That would be a huge improvement since it would allow me to return to work.  Right now my plan is to wait until Monday to begin tapering that back since I want to make sure there is a sufficient time to see if he is ok without the Rimadyl.  I just don’t want to cut too much at once.

When we got home Sunny was more active than he has been.  He even went and found his ball for the first time since his surgery!  Great signs all around.  He spent most of the afternoon sleeping which wasn’t too surprising given all the morning activity.  This evening we also continued to do his physical therapy exercises at home.  Last but not least for the first time this afternoon we saw him laying down on the side of his amputation!  It was only for about 10 minutes, but still.  Either way it is clear we are really starting to make some progress.

Opposite Day

While I didn’t get the memo, apparently Sunny is celebrating opposite day today.  For most of the day he has been somewhat difficult when he isn’t sleeping.  This morning he decided he no longer liked the pill pockets and started to refuse his medication.  I’m not sure if it is because he felt better, or because he wasn’t hungry, but obviously this was not going to work.  We were able to get him his first dose of tramadol at his scheduled time (5:30 am), but after that its been an uphill battle.  Around noon I finally got him to take his rimadyl and t-pain in some wet food and to eat his breakfast.  It was a struggle though.  I tried cheese, peanut butter, pill pockets, a peanut butter sandwich, a banana, nothing worked!  We gave him a pepcin last night since his appetite has been off and on in hopes of settling his stomach, but I’m wondering if it made things worse?

Later this afternoon he once again scoffed when I attempted to give him his second tramadol of the day.  Two hours later I was able to convince him to take it using a Kraft single.  I think by that time he may have been in a little discomfort.  I was hoping that wouldn’t happen, but ultimately I wasn’t too surprised given how off his medication schedule became.  Thankfully, as of tomorrow he will be 10 days post surgery and will go off the rimadyl.  While everything looks ok his behavior is ok all things considered, I plan to take him to our local vet just for a quick once over.  I noticed this evening one of his sutures came untied.  I doesn’t look like it will come out, but I also don’t want to risk a Sunday vet visit.  We were originally planning to wait until the two week mark to have his sutures removed, but since he will be at 10 days tomorrow in theory, if we are lucky, they could come out.  I’m not banking on that, but who knows?  Sunny is on his tramadol through Wednesday and will continue on his t-pain for a while.  We can also re-evaluate his pain medication again which will be helpful since I need a few replacement pills for today’s failed attempts.  I think for the most part when we can stick to his medication schedule he does ok since he doesn’t really show any of the typical signs that he is in any pain or discomfort.  For me though, at the end of the day if he is eating, drinking, eventually taking his meds, going to the bathroom and appears to be ok, I’m happy.

Last night we decided it was clear we would not keep Sunny on the hypericum.  It is just too difficult to give him and honestly that negative experience could explain his behavior today.  I read online today that you can try dissolving the pills in milk or heavy cream instead of water so maybe we will try that, but I’m not sure it is worth it.  I’m also not convinced that will work since you are not supposed to mix it with food or give within 15 minutes of eating.  I think right now with everything that is going on the less pills the better for both him and us.

Other than that its been a typical day for Sunny in that we did a little walking outside in the backyard and slept.  We also worked on his physical therapy exercises at home.  We are doing them on his nice new orthopedic bed that he has ignored in the hope that maybe he will use it.  He wasn’t impressed.

Sunny working on his physical therapy with Pete.

Sunny working on his physical therapy with Pete.

I hope tomorrow goes better!

Looking Forward

Now that we have made it through the first week after surgery we are looking forward towards the future.  Lots of stuff will begin to happen over the next week as Sunny hopefully goes off all of his pain medications and get his sutures removed.  Getting him off of he pain medications will be a big win for me since it will allow me  I’m also happy to report that he slept through last night!  I’m not sure if it was because he was tired due to our trip to GVR or because of the new homeopathic medications, but we were ecstatic either way.  I’m hoping maybe he has turned a corner and this will once again become the norm.  All that said we will likely stop giving him the hypericum.  We have not found a good way to give it to him.  He is not a fan of us just putting the tiny pills directly into his mouth (he actually spit one out) and he would not drink water that I dissolved them into.  I was able to dissolve them into a very small amount of water I can put into a syringe and put directly into his mouth, but he hates it so much I have to wonder if the benefits out weigh the negative experience of him receiving it?  At a minimum there is no way we can give it to him three times a day.  Right now I’m just thinking this will be something we try in the evening before bed and if we are successful, then great, if not we may just have to give up after a few days of trying.  It would be much easier if you could just give it with food!

Sunny ate what amounted to his full diet today for the first time since coming home even though it is still containing wet food.  All in all he seems to be doing better with each passing day.  We made more trips than we have been outside today and he showed interest in exploring the yard.  All in all a lot of positive developments.   I also started working with him on his at home exercises to help build his core strength.  I know we still have a long road ahead of us, but I can’t help but start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sunny

Sunny

We called BluePearl today to see if they biopsy results were back since they originally told us it would only be three to five days.  They said they were still waiting on the bone to calcify.  We couldn’t help but laugh imaging them dissolving the whole leg.  In actuality though this likely means that the sarcoma had invaded the toe it was perched upon.  It just reconfirmed for me that we made the right decision to amputate.  Hopefully we will soon have the additional lab results to once again confirm this.  They are still treating him as cured so we are optimistic this wont change.

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