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Sunny's Journey

Becoming a Tripawd at 13

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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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Getting Back to Normal

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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.



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.  




What day is it?

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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