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Sunny's Journey

Becoming a Tripawd at 13

No News is Good News

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!

Taking the Plunge

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.

Getting Back to Normal

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.



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.

Good News

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.  




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