The last few days have been exhausting. Monday – our gorgeous WashBar Spokesdog – has gone from bad, to worse, to really worse and then some. She’s back home with us now and on the mend but the journey has been awful.
It started with me taking her to the vet because she was limping on her left leg. “Hips” the vet told me. She would need to be x-rayed but not until the pain was under control. After 20 days of feeding her Carprieve tablets her limping hadn’t improved, so I asked for the x-rays anyway.
“Definitely hips, although we did x-ray the knee just in case. The knees are perfect but she has hip dysplasia”. We knew that hips in a big girl like Monday who loves to run around on our 40 acres would be so difficult to manage, so hip replacement surgery wasn’t really an option.
With heavy hearts we got the first available appointment with Charles Barnard – one of the country’s best veterinary orthopaedic surgeons, and on a Friday tucked Monday comfortably into the car and headed just over an hour north to see him.
Watching her walk, Charles diagnosed a torn cruciate ligament. A look at the x-rays confirmed her hips were fine. We breathed a huge sigh of relief; we wouldn’t have to manage her pain for the rest of her life.
He needed put her under anaesthetic to check the movement in her knee to confirm his diagnosis. And then continue with surgery – cutting into the bone below the knee and cranking it out to form a ‘v’ to fit a metal plate that would be surrounded with new bone growth in less than 3 months. Charles has done hundreds of these surgeries and apart from the normal surgery concerns they are extremely successful.
We returned at 4pm to collect her and weren’t prepared for what we saw. Monday couldn’t lift her head up, her face was swollen and every bit of skin we could see was bright red. She’d had a massive allergic reaction to one of the drugs during surgery.
Not only that but what we thought were painkillers she’d been on been on prior to x-rays were actually anti-inflammatories – which had given her an ulcer which was now causing a toxic overload on her body. She’d started to shut down. Apparently while she was on the operating table she had suffered diarrhoea with a lot of blood in it.
By this stage she was pretty distressed but we all thought she would prefer to recuperate at home, but as we lifted her into the station wagon – another evacuation – except this time it was all blood and what looked like part of her stomach lining.
We helped lift her back onto a stainless bench where she was hooked up to a drip and we headed home in tears. What had we done to our girl?
Next day, Saturday morning the news wasn’t any better – her condition had now escalated into a bowel problem.
Sunday morning she vomited up the all the food she had been given along with a large amount of blood. To cap it all off she now had a throat infection.
She had been given a raft of different drugs: antacids for her stomach, cortisone for the allergic reaction, one anti-biotic for the infection plus another one to help with the bowel problem, and painkillers.
Charles was able to report a tiny bit of good news though – her face was back to normal size and her skin was only red on her newly broken leg!!
By Sunday afternoon she was up and walking on her leg and trying to wag her tail but was still too sick to come home. We spent the whole weekend stuck indoors with wintery weather, but really forlorn. It just felt wrong sitting by a warm fire without the dog curled up at our feet. The cats on the other hand couldn’t have been happier.
By Monday we needed to see her and decided to take the drive north anyway. Charles was amazing “she’s got a big smile on her face today” he told us. She had given him a big woof when she heard him opening the door that morning to come and check on her. Our girl had touched his heart – he’d grown very fond of her and would be very happy if we left her there permanently.
She was well enough to make the journey home. She is recovering well, sleeping in front of the fire, having several little meals during the course of the day and taking gentle walks on the lawn.
We’re so happy to have our girl home. It’s so true – without a dog, a home is just a building.