Thursday, February 22, 2007

"Now this is a drinking bowl!"

"Now this is a drinking bowl!"
Originally uploaded by sufras.
Patton started his physical therapy at the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. The same place where he had his surgeries. We talked about how he was doing and watched him move around the room. The physical therapist pointed out some things that she noticed and that we would need to work on. The biggest thing being his lost muscle mass in his hind quarters. Some atrophying has set in, worse in the right leg then the left.

The physical therapist did some measurements on his thighs and then the range of motion he had in his hips. He came in at about 125 degrees and normal is about 165. So we have some work to do. Patton was as helpful as he is at home when she tried his exercises.
So we came up with some that will work on his range of motion without Patton realizing what we are doing and I think that will work.

After going through some strengthening exercises she asked if he liked water, he enjoys baths so why not. So we tried him in an underwater treadmill. Once he got in, he seemed quite at ease. Hence, him laying on the ground and drinking the water as it was filling. We kept trying to convince him that he ought to get up, once it reached his neck he decided that standing might be a good idea. He did quite well once he understood what we wanted him to do. For a 10 month old dog he did great. He walked for about 4 minutes before she drained the water and began to dry him off. (Now how come he doesn't eat her towels when she dries him off?) He was quite tired after all his exercise and as I got him back in his crate in the car to head home, he promptly passed out. I think he earned his nap, he worked hard whether he knows it or not.

Later in the afternoon he was a little stiff and whiny, so I did give him a Tramadol to ease some of the pain. In the water we were getting him to fully extend his hips while walking, something he hasn't done if a few months. So I can imagine those muscles were quite sore, as would ours from inactivity. I think with the exercises we received today and the sessions we have lined up, Patton will be chasing bunnies in no time. And that's a good thing.

The following pictures are of Patton in the treadmill.

"Now what have you gotten me into?"

Patton's first day of therapy.

Patton takes a walk?

Patton takes a walk?
Originally uploaded by sufras.
Patton's first day of physical therapy.

Patton plays and walks?

Patton plays and walks?
Originally uploaded by sufras.
Patton's first day of physical therapy.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Good Days, Bad Days

I am noticing a few differences from when Patton last had surgery. He most certainly has days that he is his typical rambunctious self, into everything. But there are some days I have noticed that at night he seems to have difficulty getting comfortable. (Not that I could blame him, honestly.) He will lay in his cage and whine for a little, nothing serious but you know he is uncomfortable. We have pushed his walks up to one block and I wonder if that is part of the problem. He has lost some muscle mass in both legs so I can imagine it is like us when we don't use our muscles in a while. Today, I may have pushed him a little too far with adding another block in. It was so nice out ( almost 40, c'mon spring!) I decided that maybe we would try a little longer walk. He never complained or showed signs of overextending himself but when we got home he laid down and I noticed that his right leg was quivering. As I put a moist heat towel on, and gave him some pain medication, it began to ease. And for the next hour or so he would back in to me "asking" for a massage. So after a considerable rub down he seemed much better, wanting to play tug. He goes back to VMTH on Wednesday, I believe he will also see the physical therapist and I will have to see what she thinks. We just may have to take it a little slower then I thought we would.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentines Day

For Valentine's day I decided to get Patton a new toy. I found one that was a stuffed animal with rope arms and legs with cow hooves for feet. He loved it. He loved it so much that he ripped the face off in record time... 3 hours. He promptly removed one hoof within the first hour and it went down hill from there. I'd say he is feeling pretty good.

I have managed to get him to go up and down stairs with me. He is doing quite well but he still prefers his cage at night. He'll also only go upstairs (or down to the basement) when the mood strikes him or if he is afraid that I have vanished on him. You never know when that washing machine might seek revenge.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Patton's first "walk"

Since he had his staples out we started walking him again, just short walks up and down the street. Tonight, I took him around the block. He was so excited he dragged and pulled me for about half of it. But soon old habits kicked in and he walked next to me with little fight. He did really well but we did notice he seemed a little sore about a half an hour later. A little Rimadyl and rest and all should be good. Got to build his legs back up but slow and steady.

Two Weeks Down

I have been trying to post this for a few days...technical difficulties were not helping.

Two weeks have passed now since Patton's last surgery. He had his staples removed on Feb 9th. Once again he did great. As long as someone is paying attention to him, do what you want. Our other dog had to be muzzled just for exams, not this one..."love me and I will do what you want". It amazes me that he is still so willing to go to the doctors after everything he has been through. He sees it as another chance to see lots of people (and dogs) who will make a fuss over him. The ham. No wonder our nickname for him is "Lovesponge". He seems to never get enough and he gives back just as much as he gets.

We tried letting him sleep upstairs the other night since his staples were removed and he no longer needs to wear an e-collar. He was so excited to get upstairs that he took off for the steps before I could help him. He managed to get up about 5 steps before his back legs gave out. Much to my dismay, he began falling back down the steps. By this time, I was right behind him and was able to gently(though not gracefully) help him slide back down the steps. When he finally settled at the bottom of the steps he looked at me like "What the heck just happened?". I got him back on his feet and he made a bee line for his cage. After some coaxing and the use of his leash, I managed to get him out of the cage and to the foot of the steps. As he looked at me questioningly("Are you nuts, lady?"), my oldest son and I got him upstairs. Patton was thrilled. He has not been upstairs since the beginning of December.

The next morning concerned me, getting him down the stairs would be another issue. I had put the gate up across the upstairs just in case he had grand ideas of heading down on his own. I also brought up his leash and sling to help me get him down a little more gracefully. In the morning, as I got out of the shower, woke my boys and let Patton out of my room. He picked up right where he left off in December. Finding the boys dirty laundry(he is particular to socks) and bringing them to me. He was in doggy heaven. Once he had completed his "job", we headed downstairs. I was glad I had him on the leash and used the sling. His back legs are quite weak after the surgeries and I think he would have tumbled down the stairs if I didn't have his back end. I know he was happy to sleep with us upstairs but last night when it was time for bed I called him to come up with me and he headed straight for his cage. No amount of coaxing could budge him. He wouldn't let me use his leash, he wanted no part of going up those stairs again and that is ok. He has no problem with 2-3 steps but a flight of stairs is like asking someone to climb Mt. Everest.

So even though he is doing well and recovering quickly, his adventure upstairs shows me just how far we need to go yet. We have begun the short walks again. Just to the corner and back, 5 minutes. Slowly we will build him back up to where he was before his last surgery, about 25 minutes. Hopefully, by the time we go camping in early June he will be ready for a few mile hike.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

It's been a week already?

Apparently it has. Hard it imagine it but a week has gone by since Patton's surgery and followed by the incredibly long Saturday we had. The difference between last Saturday and today is amazing. I stopped using the sling altogether yesterday. Patton walks really well(better then he did after his left leg was done that is for sure), even on the slippery kitchen floor. The swelling has gone done and most of the bruising is gone. I have not given Patton the Tramadol since Thursday and I probably don't need to give him the Rimadyl either. After all the whining and crying he did last Saturday, it really does seem like a year has gone by since then. Patton is well on the way to recovery.

I have come up with a theory on his whining during the night. Good news is that it only lasted briefly. But I almost think that he was so swollen in his groin that it was causing him to go to the bathroom more frequently. He was going more then usual during the day, and even though we would take him out before we went to bed 6-8 hours was more then he could handle. So now that the swelling is down the crying at night has stopped. He is almost well enough that he could come upstairs with us at night but I want to wait until his staples come out on Thursday. Anyone that has had a dog in an E-collar can understand. The scraping against the walls and bumping the bed will make me crazy.

Our newest dilemma is that it is currently so cold here that Patton is having trouble walking outside. Not because he can't or it is too slippery, but the snow gets between his toes and it must hurt cause he doesn't want to put his toes down on the ground. A big problem for a 78 lb dog because I am NOT going to carry him. Muk-luks might be an option? But when it is -3 F with colder winds...maybe he should learn to use the bathroom like the rest of us. ;)