Getting Back To The Basics

A place to show the changes in our yard, our garden, our home, and our life.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Violet Update - Bum Knee

Since moving to Staffordshire Manor, we've noticed Vi hopping occasionally, holding up her rear right leg. I know that is a sign of luxating patellas. I also know it really isn't a big deal most of the time and surgery is really a last resort. The vast majority of dogs live with it because their quality of life isn't impacted other than being an occasional annoyance on walks. In the mean time, Vi continued to live her life the best way she knows how - by rough housing with her new baby brother.

Violet injured her bad knee a few weeks back and things just haven't been the same since. She's been on Rimadyl for pain and inflammation, was put on crate rest, and we interrupted play time zoomies to allow the knee to heal and hopefully go back to normal - normal being occasional luxating patella but overall functional. In addition we partook in cold laser therapy and craniosacral massage. She enjoyed both - especially the massage - but I think her injury is just too bad to bounce back from.

Massage? Yes please - don't mind if I do!

The cold laser encourages blood flow through the injured area and encourages the body to heal the injured area more quickly - but I think this knee problem is just too much for this treatment alone.

Violet has a few strikes against her:
1) She has straight hind legs. Very straight. This just begs for an injury to happen on a young, athletic dog. It's funny to me that her rear legs are so obvious to me now but it took me a long time (years! Just shy of 4 of them to be exact) before my eyes finally saw it. So in case you need an example to know what hind legs that are too straight look like, here you go.

2) She's a bully breed. That means her blocky build puts more weight on those straight legs of hers.

3) Her play style is crazy. She runs fast - much faster than Sadie - and turns FAST on a dime. Going full speed ahead she will abruptly spin around and come out of it going an entirely different direction. This is why she rocks at the game of keep-away. Sadie turns like a tank and just can't keep up with her. I now hope Tucker also turns like a tank and will never mock them for their tankery again.

Add those three things together and add a luxating patella and you have a recipe for something bad to happen which is what has happened. 

She has gotten to the point where she is favoring that leg and in discomfort daily. I was gently feeling the troubled knee today and felt it pop and move with the most gentle amount of pressure possible. That's not good.

Is there something on my head?

So what's next? I have a phone call in to my regular vet. We have pet insurance and it is good insurance. I've called to make sure an MRI and the necessary surgery will be covered and they will since this isn't a preexisting condition. The patella only came to light after we moved - so we're safe there. So my vet will hopefully refer us for an MRI to make sure there isn't anything else going on besides what we think is going on. Best case scenario she needs her knee cap reshaped and bolted on. The MRI will tell us if my stoic little girl is hiding something worse than that.

They love each other - promise :)

Once we have the MRI results in hand we'll continue with our consult with Dr Fry, the local ortho surgeon. In the mean time, Violet is doing a lot less zoomie zooms and a lot more puppy squishing, like this:

I am worried a lot about the aftermath of this surgery. It's 6-12 weeks of pure hell filled with strict crate rest and strictly followed rehab. Violet is a young dog full of piss and vinegar. This isn't going to be fun. She's also special needs behaviorally. Traditionally the sedation medication of choice is Acepromazine, also known simply as Ace. The problem with ace is it sedates the body but the brain is still wide awake. So if they are angry, scared, nervous, etc they can't move their body or express themselves. When you have a fearful dog and now you've doped them up while their brain is still racing, you're setting them up to be a nervous wreck by the time they come out of it. 

So we have a lot of homework to do. MRI, surgeon consults, medication brain storming, rehab game plan figured out, and somehow keep a puppy trained, keep Sadie mentally and physically exercised, and keep Violet sedated, calm, immobile, and hopefully continue loving the puppy as much as she does right now. I can see she is hurting and her tolerance for him goes down as her knee begins to bug her.

She's a young, active dog with many years of crazy stafford shenanigans ahead of her. We need to get this behind us.

Keep us in your thoughts. We're going to need all the good vibes we can get to come out of this with our sanity and household harmony intact.

Just wanted to add some commentary about the pictures and Violet's activity level. After the initial crate rest we allowed her some more normal movement and some play. We interrupt the crazy zoomies she likes to do but let her play with him if they're mostly stationary. So even though the pictures may look crazy or bad for her knee, we're doing our best to keep her happy and to allow the bonding to continue between her and Tucker. I believe firmly the bonding is KEY to a life long happy household with Violet and Tucker, considering her behavioral issues.  We encourage stationary playing, discourage the zoomie zooms.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just had a thought! (wow, that doesn't happen often) what about the possibility of using one of those wheelchairs for dogs that can't use their back legs. I might help her mentally by being able to get around a bit and not have to have total crate rest for so long. Just a thought.