Hello world! I’ve been away from the blog and completely absorbed in life lately — with my biggest focus being Emmie’s recovery from her dual surgeries the last few weeks.
Before we decided to do the surgery, I Google’d like a mad woman to find experiences and footage of other dogs who had also undergone femoral head ostectomy (FHO) surgery, but couldn’t find any of a dog that was undergoing both FHO and patella surgery at the same time (in fact, though many other surgeons had done it, our vet had not and we were both a little unsure at how long the recovery would take). So I decided to document hers and throw it on YouTube for other owners who were doing their own crazy Google searches!
Ignore all of my overly cheesy “GOOD GIRL!” right into the mic — oops, I was a little too enthusiastic for her progress! Also don’t mind the fact that Gizmo has learned he loves nothing more than to be the focus of every photo and video and sneaks into everything. And ignore my “I’m a nice wife” commentary in the pool video… Sean, ever self-conscious, whispered, “I’m not in this, right?” and I nodded no… then forgot we were trying to not make comments and blurted that out. Sigh. Videographer I am not.
24 Hours Post-Op: Very groggy, a lot of spaced out wobbles, but she was standing!
3 Days Post-Op: She surprised everyone by deciding she could use the leg about 2 weeks early.
And had to be reminded that no, she couldn’t climb stairs or conquer the world.
4 Days Post-Op: More “Ahead of the Game” footage.
To get an idea of how ahead of the curve she was, most dogs don’t even begin to “toe touch” the ground until about Day 14-16. She was so ahead of the game that she actually overdid it and lost all confidence that she could use that leg – and we had about a two week set back that worried everyone to the point we ran some basic physical therapy tests early to ensure there was no nerve damage and was indeed all in her head (it was).
5 Weeks Post-Op: Hydrotherapy Begins!
One of the toughest obstacles, outside of convincing the dog the leg still works (which consisted of doing physical therapy exercises at home 4x a day), is rebuilding the muscle that inevitability gets lost during the few weeks of recovery that the leg is utilized less. Luckily for us, Emmie loves to swim and swimming is the top rebuilding method for these type of surgeries, so once we got the green light? We set up a 36″ deep temporary pool and begin doing swimming exercises several times a week in conjunction with her walks.
So far she is doing well. She’s still on sporadic pain medication as one of the toughest parts of this surgery was the fact that the lone leg she was left to rely on was just as bad as the one we were fixing, so she gets a little sore. We’ve got a few more months of therapy and focusing on getting as much from that leg as we can for optimum success, but I already feel it was worth all the money and stress — and stress it has been. It’s definitely a commitment to do the physical therapy at home, to carry a dog up and down stairs four bajillion times a day, to watch her struggle or hurt or be unsure of herself. How do I know it was so worth it, though? She wags her tail far more than she has in the past year or so – a clear sign that her constant pain has at least reduced by half!