November 8, 2010

No More Staples! (But Still... the Cone...)

I took Abby to the vet today to have them take a look at a little pocket of fluid (officially called a "seroma") that had built up on her chest where her drain used to be. I knew from the e-book about tripawds ("Three Legs & A Spare") that I downloaded from the excellent Tripawds site that these sorts of things can happen post-surgery, but apparently they sometimes need to be drained out, so I wanted to the vet to check it. They said hers looks OK and should be re-absorbed into her body. While we were there they took her staples out. Hoorah! She's looking a little less like Frankenpup! (Wanted to take a pic to post, but she's all curled up asleep right now.) The bummer is that she's still chewing on herself, because of all the oh-so-delicious scabbiness, so she still has to wear the cone for a bit longer. 

She was so excited, once again, about going to the vet's office. And everyone there goes nuts when she comes in. "Abby!" they all yell. (It's even better than the greeting Norm used to always get on Cheers.) They all want to love on her, and she eats it up and wiggles and kisses everyone. They are all thrilled with how well she's doing and the vet was saying what a "cool dog" she is. He said they are all so happy we decided to go through with the amputation and chemo. One woman working there said Abby is a great illustration of how dogs live in the moment, since she holds no grudge against the place and people who took her leg. They told me I should write a book about her. Hmmmm. (Actually, I am working her into the novel I'm writing... but maybe she needs her own non-fiction book as well. We'll have to see how her chemo goes!). 

The vet also said I can start walking her soon - he said in a couple of days, but of course, her chemo starts on Wednesday, so that will probably delay the start of our walks. But maybe by the weekend! 

She is still experiencing a bit of what seems to be known as "phantom limb pain," which is the same thing that happens with human amputees. We've noticed the only time she really seems to whine or cry now is mainly when she "forgets" about what's happened. For instance, when she first wakes up, she'll try to stretch her legs like she's always done every morning. Well, apparently, her brain doesn't realized yet that the one leg is gone, so, as the Tripawds book describes it, the brain sends signals to the leg, and when the signals aren't received, there's a bit of a "panic" message that is interpreted as pain. It also happened last night when she heard something out in the yard and was trying to be her old tough girl, guard-dog self. She got all puffed up and started barking her Big Bark, but then started crying right away. Poor little sweetie. I'm sure this will subside over time - hopefully rather quickly.

As I mentioned, this Tripawds ebook has been really helpful. (I wish we'd had it from the beginning. It's the only place I've seen that really warns you how scary your dog will look post-surgery - with color pictures and everything.) But... it says you shouldn't baby the dog during the recovery period. Um, but what if you've been babying the dog all along, like... from the second you originally brought it home from the shelter?? 

Here are some of the things it says we should not do, but which we've totally been doing. 
  • Don't sleep on the floor (We still have our mattress on the floor, even though she's hardly slept in the bed with us. But we want her to have the option and we don't want to have to worry about her jumping out of the bed! I think we may have to look into some sort of stairs or a ramp for her so we can get our mattress back up where it belongs!)
  • Don't bring them their food/hand feed them (It's really the only way I can get her to eat - and since she needs to take her pills with food, well... Of course the one exception was the Flying Dutchman, which she most definitely did not want me to touch!)
  • Don't run to assist them at any sign of discomfort (Oh, yeah, we totally run over to her at any sign of pain! "Oh honey! Are you OK???")
The book says we should be "tough loving" her - but anyone who's ever been to our house during any time when we had a dog knows we are not so good with the tough love. Dogs don't call our house "The Spa" for nuthin'!

Better sign off - my writer-friend Louisa is coming over tonight for a writing session (and for pizza eating) while Mike is at a work dinner. Gotta get ready. Abby LOVES Louisa, so she'll be happy to have another visitor. 

Will try to post some updated incision pics tomorrow. (Oooo, isn't that something to look forward to!?)


  1. I'm planning to tell my 3rd graders all about Abby tomorrow (they love dogs, and one of my students is named Abby, too!) They need to practice friendly letter-writing, so look for some letters in the near future, Jack.

    Maybe you should consider a kids' book about Abby.

  2. Wish I could bring her to your class for show and tell! She would love that.

  3. The first thing I do when I turn on the computer every day is check pooch smooches for Abby updates. Loved the popcorn video!
    Patty F.

  4. Thanks, Patty! Hopefully we'll continue having good news to post about!

  5. This whole "tough loving" thing just busts me up! Definitely don't see that happening in your near future (or distant future for that matter). Glad to hear that the vet things she is doing well! See you.

  6. Puhleeze!! Let's not have any talk of "tough love" at the Bouchard spa. I like it just the way it is. And I know Abby does, as well!
    Corgi Lou

  7. Uh-oh. Turns out I'm guilty of breaking the Tripawd rules while dog-sitting last week.
    I have now added the Tripawd site to my favorites, so I will have a reference available next time Abby comes for a visit at doggy boot camp.
    Doting Aunt Terry

  8. Don't you worry, Lou. We are all about the soft love over here at the spa!


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