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Since my last update things have really started to get back to normal for Sunny. Yesterday we had the last of his sutures removed, hooray! This has made a huge difference in his speed, how he moves, etc. It’s amazing. Everyone said this would be the case, but given how well he had been doing I wasn’t sure we would see a huge difference. Boy was I wrong. This also meant we could finally try out the Ruffwear Web Master harness we got him prior to his surgery. While I’m not sure he is thrilled to wear it, we will have to work on that, it does make helping Sunny when he needs it very easy. Yesterday the first thing he did after his stitches were removed and we took the e-collar off was go down the stairs on his own. We have a gate up currently and prior to this we could open the gate and he would wait for one of his to pick him up and carry him down. Not so much anymore! He hasn’t mastered coming back up yet, but baby steps. It is nice having the harness though so we can help him down. All and all we are now just focusing on trying to keep him from overdoing it.
Starting yesterday we also dialed back his tramadol to just twice a day from three with that added benefit that it slows him down. We are also keeping him on the t-relief twice a day for the time being. That said, this morning Sunny decided he was done with all of his medications. We are going to continue to try and get him to take the t-relief, however since he is not showing any signs of discomfort we decided we aren’t going to try and force the tramadol on him. It had been my original intent to continue on the tramadol twice a day for at least a few more days, but that obviously isn’t necessary. At this point we are also 2 1/2 weeks post surgery so it was most likely time to stop anyway. His appetite is also still hit and miss so I am hopeful that getting him off tramadol will help with that. If he continues to eat sporadically we may try discontinuing the t-relief just to see if that makes a difference.
With the stitches out and his “cone of shame” off we are really starting to see the Sunny we know and love come back to life. He has spent a lot of time playing with his new toys since losing the cone. Sunny loves a good sqeaky toy and we bought him a few new ones for after his surgery. He is also now laying on his amputation side regularly as though nothing happened. It really is great to see. Tomorrow I’ll try to post some photos of him sporting his new harness and his tripawds bandanna.
Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!
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 on his last day as a quadruped prior to surgery.
All around today was just a good news day! First, Sunny slept through the night minus the part where I got him at 3:30 am to take his tramadol. Sunny has also been doing great today taking his pills. I’m now giving him a treat, then the pill pocket followed by another treat. He seems to just accept the pill pocket now in order to get the other treats. This morning I had to run up to the vet to get more tramadol so I decided to take Sunny along so they could take a quick look at his bruising just to be safe. It didn’t look worse, but since I was going there anyway I figured why not? Good news, looks fine and for now we aren’t going to do anything unless it gets worse. The vet said most likely when some of the sutures were removed a blood vessel that was being constricted bled a little. The vet said this can be common when you have a surgery as invasive as his. We are also still on track to have the remaining sutures removed on Saturday just in time for the holiday weekend. Also, just to be on the safe side we decided to go ahead and leave Sunny on tramadol three times a day until the remaining sutures are removed. At that time we will cut it back to twice a day and then discontinue it by next Wednesday. At that point he will be three weeks post surgery so he should be in good shape, but obviously we will watch for more bruising, etc. and reevaluate as needed. We will keep him on the T-reflief though since that helps with pain, bruising and swelling. Overall everyone continues to be impressed by how well he is doing. Yay!
The best news today came this afternoon. Sunny’s surgeon called to let me know they finally had the results of the post surgery biopsy back. We are officially cancer FREE and they are considering him CURED! While at times the journey has been rough this news makes it worth it. Sunny had a nerve sheath tumor so again this just validated we did the right thing since they have such a high rate of recurrence. All and all we couldn’t be happier.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂