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Sunny's Journey

Becoming a Tripawd at 13

Tag: physical therapy (page 1 of 2)

No News is Good News

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Sorry for long delay between postings.  It has been a very exciting time for our family.  I’ve taken a new job and as a result I will now split my time between Atlanta and New Orleans.  My job is with the Audubon Zoo as the Assistant Curator of Primates.  This probably helps explain the “prim8keeper” user name.

Enough about me though, on to Sunny!  He has been doing fantastic.  At this point he does everything he did prior to his surgery except for going up the stairs.  He will go up if you call him and cheer him along the way, but it’s obvious it is hard.  As a result we just pick him up.  We figure we would rather carry him than have him hurt his good back leg.  He has continued to go swimming at least every two weeks, if not weekly, to work on core strength in addition to what we are doing at home.  Currently at home we are doing cookie stretches, massage and  warm compresses.  He isn’t as excited about what we do at home as we would hope, but we try our best to get him interested.

I’ll try to post some photos tomorrow of our happy boy!

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Taking the Plunge

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Since my last update Sunny has continued to do well.  Everything is pretty much back to normal as far as he is concerned.  The only thing Sunny isn’t sure about doing is going up the stairs which is understandable.  Currently if we put his ruff wear harness on he will try with our assistance, but its obvious he doesn’t feel comfortable doing it on his own.  I’m sure with time though his confidence will build.  His appetite is also still not back up to his pre-surgery levels and I’m not totally sure why.  I think it may be a protest on some level because we cut him off of the wet food.  We are getting very close to his full amount though of dry food so I’m not too concerned.

Yesterday we started his rehab at GVR where he will be swimming once a week!  This was the first time as far as we know that Sunny has been swimming unless he used to go before we adopted him.  At first he didn’t really seem to know what to make of it but he did really well overall.  Towards the end he was trying to splash the water so he could catch it in his mouth so I like to think he had fun.  It can be hard to tell with him.  He can be so timid at first anytime we meet anyone new or he is a new situation.  It took until about half way through the session until he seemed to relax.  Hopefully with further visits Sunny will become more relaxed and just enjoy it.  In total yesterday he swam for about 15 minutes.  Eventually it will be increased, but since it was his first session they wanted to keep it short so he didn’t overexert himself.  The hope though is that he will continue to build core strength.

Speaking of rehab, check out this feature about Sunny featured over at the Tripawds Foundation!

Sunny swimming for the first time at GVR.

Sunny swimming for the first time at GVR.

Wednesday will be Sunny’s one month mark since his surgery.  It’s crazy to think it has already been that long, but we couldn’t be happier.


Today we are celebrating!  Today marks the two week anniversary of Sunny’s amputation.  He also slept through the night last night, ate almost his full diet today, and took all his meds!  That alone would be worth celebrating.  I’m optimistic we are turning the corner in terms of getting over the initial post surgery hump.  I have been working with animals for my entire career they never fail to amaze me.


I also want to give a huge shout out to the Maggie Moo Fund for Tripawd Rehab! They covered the cost of Sunny’s first visit to GA Veterinary Rehabilitiation, Fitness & Pain Management (GVR) with Dr. Bailey.  You will see his feature on the Tripawds blog next week.  The support and guidance we have received from the Tripawds community has been amazing.  I’ve always felt animal people are some of the best people out there and this just once again proves it.  Thank you!

Sunny's on his last day as a quadruped prior to surgery.

Sunny on his last day as a quadruped prior to surgery.

Sunday Funday!

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.

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