So we’re 2½ weeks into Willow’s four week recovery period. On Tuesday she had a check-up with the vet who said she was really pleased with how well she was recovering, her knee-cap was nice and stable in the right place. As a result we’ve halved her daily dose of painkillers and also removed her protective collar.
Ah, the collar; the collar consists of an inflatable inner ring inside a tough outer cover. I had to apologise to the vet that Willow’s was punctured. Apparently this had never happened before. I’m not entirely sure how it was punctured but I think it may have been something to do with Willow getting into a fight with Cat and Cat’s claw getting stuck in the collar.
No, Willow’s not supposed to be fighting Cat. Not even play fighting, which is what this is; well, on Willow’s side it’s play fighting, I’m not sure Cat thinks the same way. The problem is Willow is bored.
Bored, bored, bored, so bored.
She’s not allowed out for a walk for at least another ten days, depending on our next visit to the vet. She’s not supposed to jump on anything, run or stand on her hind legs. I’m really pleased that the vet was pleased with her progress because basically we’ve been a bit rubbish at stopping her doing most of these things. In our defence I would have liked to see anyone stop her doing all of those things without keeping her confined to her crate for two weeks. She’s a naturally very energetic dog.
So she’s chased the cat. She’s chased her tail. When we’ve taken her out to the garden to toilet she’s chased herself in big circles on the lawn. If anyone looks as if they’re going to go out of the front door she runs to the door and then sits against it looking sorrowful. This is a dog who is desperate for a walk. She’s also started barking a lot more and I think that’s also a side effect of the boredom.
We’ve given her lots of things to chew. We’ve given her puzzle balls with food inside and a kong with some really smelly food in it. None of them last that long.
So we persevere and hope that the vet is pleased enough with her at the next visit to give us permission to walk her again.
Willow went into the vet at 8am on Wednesday for her operation. The problem with a luxating patella is that the patella, or kneecap, keeps popping out of the trochlear groove between the ‘knuckles’ of the thigh bone and usually in small dogs it moves inwards on the knee. Willow’s operation involved three parts: firstly the vet cut a small ‘V’ shape out of the groove and put it aside, then she cut a larger ‘V’ shape out and reinserted the smaller V into this hole. This effectively deepened the groove that the kneecap sits in whilst ensuring that cartilage remained at the top of the groove, which is important for lubricating the movement of the kneecap. The next part of the operation involved slicing off the part of her tibia (lower leg bone) that the patella tendon attaches to and moving it slightly so that the tendon would no longer act to pull the patella sideways. The piece of bone was then pinned into its new position where it will hopefully grow and mesh into place. Finally, the joint capsule around Willow’s patella was tightened up to keep the patella pulled into the right place.
I have been using the same veterinary practice for nearly twenty years and they have always been excellent. After the operation the vet called me at about 1.30 to tell me that Willow had come round from the operation and was doing fine. I had another phone call the following morning to let me know that she had been on pain relief overnight but was recovering well and that she had gained quite a fan club from among the staff at the practice.
I had an appointment with the vet yesterday afternoon and she showed me Willow’s X-rays and talked about what she’d done. She gave me a bottle of Metacam for Willow’s continuing pain relief and a copy of the bill which thankfully was going straight off to the insurance company. She then fetched Willow. Despite a very lopsided, mostly shaved back half, a round foam collar and a general air of self-pity, Willow managed a feeble tail wag when she saw me.
There were more tail wags all round for each member of the family when she got home and when the children got back from school but most of the time she’s just been taking it easy resting on a big cushion on the living room floor. Going outside to toilet has also raised a few tail wags; she loves being outside, despite the indignity of having to be carried out to the lawn and back. In between resting she’s poddling around the living room and kitchen on three legs holding her operated leg in the air. She has been whimpering occasionally but generally in the 24 hours since she got home she’s getting better and stronger all the time.
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