pupdate: diego progress report

Diego seems to be doing all right. He's able to hobble around on three legs pretty well. The incision looks good, and so far he's leaving it alone, so we don't have to make him even more uncomfortable by putting a giant cone around his giant head.

I say he seems to be all right because he's so quiet and sad. He can stand on three legs to eat his food, and he hobbles around the yard on-leash, but getting from standing up to lying down is a nightmare. It can take him 30 or 45 minutes to figure out how to lie down, or perhaps to get up the courage to try, because it's clearly painful. When he finally exhausts himself standing, he lies down with obvious difficulty.

He's got two patches of pain meds on one side of his body, and we have extra pain meds along with antiobiotics that we're giving him around the clock. But I'm not sure it's enough.

The vet sent us home with instructions for physio. The program should begin with "1, quit job"! There is no way working people have time to do all of it. It's all good stuff -- cold compresses, massage, passive range of motion exercises, short controlled walks -- but the program is totally unrealistic. We also have to find time to get Kai to the beach or a ball field for some exercise.

We are incredibly fortunate to be able to give Diego this surgery, and I fully recognize my privilege in doing so. But I cannot stand to see one of my dogs in pain. It is the worst thing in the world to me. I don't know how parents of critically ill children do it.


impudent strumpet said...

Awww, Diego!

I'm glad he made it through the surgery well, and I'm sorry he's still in pain.

#LeastImportantThing: does he feel self-conscious about the fact that his leg is shaved?

laura k said...

Thank you, my friend.

Dogs are so lucky. As far as I can tell, they are not conscious of their appearance -- ever. I don't think they have self-consciousness.

Amy said...

It hurt my heart just to look at the stitches. I hope he feels better soon. Did the vet have any estimate of how long it will take before he is out of pain? Uch. :(

laura k said...

Oh Amy, you're so sweet. There is always pain after surgery, but at least this is the pain of healing, rather than the unending pain of the injury. He's already putting a bit of weight on the leg!

I didn't ask the vet about a timeframe. There are various checkpoints -- none of which have come yet. It's early days.

Thank you so much for your concern.

Jay Farquharson said...

We all do our best with the follow up and physio.

When Sugar had the surgury, I spent a lot of time on the floor, and got used to carrying a 90lb Lab/Rottie/Shep X up and down stairs, coming home at lunch,

I’m glad Diego is going well and that Kai isn’t bugging her.

allan said...

We walk him around the yard on a leash, so he can pee and poop. He is clearly putting weight on it already. This afternoon, he was walking on it for 7 or 8 steps. Then he picks up his leg again. But he has improved even in the two days since the operation.

Amy said...

I am so glad to hear he is progressing. It amazes me how I can feel so much empathy for a dog I've never even met! If only we all had that much empathy for all living things---including each other.

Wishing Diego continued progress and a full and fast recovery to running around with Kai!

johngoldfine said...

It's awful when the dog is in pain: they exist in their bodies, almost completely, and when their body hurts, there are no rationalizations, hopes, explanations, or futures available to them. All they know of existence--suddenly--is pain, fear, anxiety, distress. Nothing expresses their nature more than racing across a field and wrassling with each other, and, contrariwise, nothing is worse than to be locked in the prisonhouse of their own debility and pain.

laura k said...

That's very well said, John. It's why the responsibility falls to us to minimize it all we can, and release them when it's time. Their time, not ours.

impudent strumpet said...

Another #LeastImportantThing: In the close-up on the stitches, are we seeing very close-cropped fur, or is that what Diego's skin looks like under his fur?

Because of the colouring and the sort of pattern I initially assumed it was very short fur, but then I realized I don't actually know what dogs look like under their fur, or if the patterns in their fur also happen on their skin.

laura k said...

That's an interesting question! That is Diego's skin!

Some dogs have pink skin. Some have pink, gray, or black, or some pattern of those. The colour of the skin is the pattern of their fur.

I don't know what this means for dogs with red, orange, or yellow fur!

Maybe someone reading knows more about dogs' skin?

impudent strumpet said...

I love how between when you posted that comment and when I'm reading it, you've acquired a dog with yellow fur!

(Although I hope Cookie doesn't ever have to have her fur shaved)