Friday, May 23, 2008

Day 2 & 3 post decompression surgery

On Wednesday, Zane had a relatively long night. We were up and down with him all night. He slept off and on most of the following day (Thursday). He made several trips outside for potty breaks but was unable to urinate. He didn't eat or drink all day. By late afternoon, I called our regular vet to see if I should bring him in for fluids. He suggested that might help with the bladder issue. I guess there is concern over bladder infections developing after spinal surgeries. Zane went to the vets and got some sub q fluids and an antibiotic shot. He was able to urinate when he got home...woohoo! The things we get excited over...
He even ate a can of food but still wouldn't drink anything. It was another long night for Zane and Greg and me as we all got up and down a few times. Now the whole pack is into this routine and everyone gets up. They all go out for middle of the night potty breaks and then rush back in to see if they can get any of the food that Zane won't eat.
Friday morning brought a much perkier Zane. He ate a can of food later in the morning and was much steadier on his feet as he made the rounds outside. He laid out on the deck for a while with his sun umbrella over him. Once he came in he was very sleepy. He slept for a long time and then had trouble walking again. I noticed that he was very warm, like burning hot. I checked his temperature and it was 104.4. I covered him with cold packs and a cool, wet towel. I made arrangements to bring him into the neurologists even though he was off for the day. I checked him 45 minutes later and he was up to 105, even with the cold packs surrounding him.
He was barely walking but managed to get in and out of the van for the trip to the vet. His vet, who was off for the day, just happened to stop in at the hospital and was able to check out Zane. He said that Zane was doing well neurologically. He was suspicious of a potential bladder problem and so advised putting him on Cipro and Cephalexin. That brings us up to 26 pills a day now, not including supplements. The vet techs showed me how to do the sub q fluids at home and off we went. Once Zane made it home, he went to sleep for a while. He did manage to potty outside before bed but he still wouldn't eat or drink.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Slightly overdue update...

So two weeks have passed and no word from me.... lest Zane be alone in his pain, I too have developed my own set of cervical issues. I guess it's the price to pay for getting Zane through all of this. I have a degeneration problem at C4-C7. Sound familiar? Yup, that's Zane's problem area too. So for now, while I get frequent chiropractic adjustments, I avoid the computer since that seems to aggravate my neck pain the most. Before I sign off to wallow in my own self pity, I will post an update on the Zaniac.
Backing up to Zane's knee issues....I took Zane out to Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Cary to see Dr. Clark and do a fresh biopsy of the knee. Dr. Clark showed me on the xrays where Zane's fall on April 24th caused the breakage of two little tines in his implant. His said that this was just a slight set back in healing. Damage to the implants could cause a feeling similar to a deep bruise. Zane took a pretty hard fall to break a titanium implant. He assured me that the implants were still secure and that the bone was healing all around them. Phew! He didn't even need to knock Zane out to do the biopsy. Zane is so good about procedures. He just stood there like no big deal. So pending the results of a bacteria free culture, Zane will be set to go for his final neck surgery.
During the time waiting for biopsy results from May 6th until May 15th when we saw Dr. Clark to draw a second biopsy, I saw days when Zane was more wobbly than others. The day we went out to Cary was one of the worst days for Zane. Without a doubt, we all knew that the second surgery would be necessary to relieve the pressure on Zane's spinal cord. I called Dr. Bergman and we scheduled the decompression/ laminectomy for Tuesday May 20th.
Over the weekend, Zane's knee continued to improve. Since he is on bed rest from the fusion surgery, we can't let him take any walks. I think this frustrates him a bit because he seems to feel pretty good most of the time. He gets up and down without wincing and seems relatively comfortable.
Surgery part 2 day arrived and I dropped Zane off at Carolina Veterinary Specialists at noon to prepare for his surgery. Dr. Bergman called me after surgery to let me know that Zane was in recovery. He said this had been a difficult procedure in that the area of surgery is in the deepest part of the neck. He prepared me for the possibility that this would be a set back for Zane. We would just have to wait until morning to see how much this would affect him and to be prepared as he may not be walking.
It was a long edgy night wondering how Zane would pull through this, his 3rd surgery in 2 months. One of Dr. Bergman's techs gave me a call first thing in the morning with a status update. Zane is up and walking! He's doing much better than expected. She said that they would like to keep Zane for one more night so that they could keep him on heavy duty pain meds. I set up an appointment to visit Zane at lunchtime. Two hours later they called back to let me know that Zane kept "breaking out" of his x pen in ICU to hang with the techs. Dr. Bergman decided to release Zane to go home since he was so mobile.
I picked up a very groggy Zane in the afternoon. He couldn't stay standing for long. I did manage to get him home and in the house on my own. He slept intermittently for most of the evening with one trip outside to go potty. He had a lot of hind end weakness but could get to a standing position with help. He clearly has neck pain. He is wearing a pain patch to give him a nice continuous infusion of pain meds as well as taking Tramadol, Gapapentin, and Metacam. So now we just wait and see....again.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wobbler's Surgery Part 2

Today Zane is scheduled for the second part of his cervical surgery. This procedure is called a lateral laminectomy and involves shaving down a portion of a vertebrae or two to allow easier movement of the spinal cord. The surgeon will go in through the top of the neck for this procedure. The last surgery was done on the underside of the neck.

We are back from the vet hospital. Yes, we, meaning Zane and I. I asked the doctor to take an xray of Zane's knee that he recently had surgery on. He has been limping on it more now than he was a couple of weeks ago. They take xrays of his neck after the surgery anyways so I didn't think it would be a big deal to do the knee then as well. Well, apparently Dr. Bergman was concerned about the knee as well and he chose to xray it before doing the spinal surgery. It turns out that Zane still has a lot of fluid in his knee surrounding one of the implants. They think this is a bone infection. So they biopsied the fluid and will culture it to see which antibiotics will be most effective in fighting the infection. Zane was on 3 different antibiotics for 3-4 weeks after his incision had opened up.
This is not good news. I will wait to hear from Dr. Clark (ortho surgeon) regarding the next steps in clearing up this lastest development. Dr. Bergman (neuro) noted that the implants sometimes need to be removed to allow the infection to clear. Yikes! Meanwhile, he is back on an antibiotic while we wait for the culture to grow.
The spinal surgery has now been postponed. Dr. Bergman did not want to risk having that infection move over to the new surgical site. He was very pleased at how well Zane is doing right now. He thinks that we possibly may not need to do the second surgery. We will wait and see how he does while the knee infection gets treated. So for now, everything is up in the air.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Gearing up for Round 2

Zane is having a great day. He woke up about 1:30am for some pain pills and breakfast. He then slept the rest of the way through the night. He has had several potty trips outside and is walking better all the time. On his second trip outside he decided to lay out in the grass for a while. I pulled up a chair and enjoyed some quite time in the sun surrounded by the pack.
Zane has even figured out how to roll onto his back again. This is his favorite sleeping pose. I can tell that he is really comfortable when he is on his back and his "happy" tail is wagging away.
I am hoping that I can get some food in him this evening. He won't be able to eat tomorrow morning since he has surgery in the afternoon. He hasn't eaten all day but I think it is in protest. He hates the taste of the Tramadol pills and I think he thinks I am sneaking them into everything he eats now! If he would just swallow his food whole like Zoe and Daizee he wouldn't have to worry about biting into those bitter pills! Not Zane, though, he has to chew everything he can spit out those nasty little pills.
Tomorrow's surgery is called a lateral laminectomy/decompression. This will involve shaving out the inside of C6-7. It will open up the spinal canal in that area to allow more room for the spinal cord to move without impingement. This surgery could take a little more immediate recovery time for Zane. He may not walk right away if there is a lot of swelling following the surgery. He will still have 2 months of total bed rest ahead of him.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Day 4

Zane is quite a bit perkier today. He is occasionally eating canned food and Nature's Balance dog food rolls. He really likes those dog food rolls. They are like a dry summer sausage. They seem to be the easiest for him to chew. He still seems pretty uncoordinated with chewing and getting food out of a bowl. Zane likes for me to spoon feed him his canned food so I willingly oblige him!

My biggest concern for him right now is his back left knee. He is favoring it and it creates problems for him when he is turning or getting up from a down position. Just a few days before his surgery, he fell down while barking. When he got back up, he held up his leg. I was concerned and called his surgeon but he was off for the day. The tech recommended upping his tramadol and felt that he was probably just sore from the fall. She reassured me that there is not much he could do to really mess things up from just falling over on his leg.

Zane spent a good part of the afternoon laying in the shade on the back deck. Our back deck has all day sun so we bought a huge umbrella to shade part of the deck for the dogs. It's 11 feet across and sways with the breeze. The dogs seem to love it. We throw a few beds out there and close off the gates so everyone can take an afternoon nap.

Zane's highlight of the evening was drinking fresh water from the bathroom faucet. I was surprised that he could comfortably move his neck that way but it clearly did not bother him. He was so happy with his fresh water that he repeatedly went to the faucet during the night for us to turn it on!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Day 3

This morning Zane had woken up in quite a bit of pain. Since we had to run Zeke into the vets to get his infected anal gland rechecked and drained, we decided to bring Zane in for a help me feel better shot. It wasn't the best day for this, a Saturday, and our vet was swamped. We had to wait an hour for the shot and Zane was totaled drained by the time we got him home. He was so drained that he couldn't even sit up to get out of the van. We got him out of the van and uprighted him, but his feet and brain were not working together. He just couldn't walk. We had to carry all 140 pounds of him into the house. We laid him down on his bed and he didn't even move. We hoped that we hadn't "broken" him carrying him into the house. I spent the next few hours napping on and off while checking to make sure Zane was still breathing. Any time he moved, he would groan and I would immediately wake up.

Later in the afternoon, I offered him some food and he ate a little. I was out in the kitchen cleaning up his dishes when he suddenly came charging out of the bedroom. He had to go potty in a big way. We didn't make it outside in time before he released his first #2 since Wednesday. We did make it out in time for #1 thankfully.

His energy seems to come in spurts like that. He went straight to his bed as soon as he got back in the house. The rest of the evening passed quietly. Thank goodness we didn't break him!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Day 2 Post Fusion Surgery

Zane is hanging in there today. He is tired and sluggish and not overly interested in food. He didn't drink all day until the evening. He has made it outside to pee a few times. He heads outside energetically but runs out of steam very quickly. Twice I ended up sitting in the grass with him while he regained the strength to make it back into the house.
The technical name for Zane's surgery (part 1) is cervical distraction/fusion of C4-5, C5-6,and C6-7. He had a diskectomy done at these sites while titanium screws, bone cement and bone grafts from his shoulder were used to put things back together. We paid over $400 for those wonderful titanium screws (all 24 of them). The bone cement was $268. He has a ventral midline incision (underside) of his neck with about 25 staples. He has 4 staples closing the site where the bone grafts were removed from his right shoulder.
It is a little challenging to put a harness on Zane since the front straps rest on his incision site but he doesn't seem to mind. Collars are forever off limits with Zane. They could reinjure his neck. Last week Zane's good Ruffwear harness broke so I ordered him two replacements and they just finally arrived today.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Zane is walking!

Good news this morning! Zane is already up and walking. The doctor says that he is doing as well as can be expected. Zane will stay at the hospital until early afternoon so that they can give him a few more doses of the really good pain meds. I am so relieved to know that he is able to get up on his own. I have been cautioned however, that next week's decompression surgery is the one that could set him back for a bit. So we will do a little happy dance for todays success and live in the moment!

Zane is home now and resting. He clearly has pain and he holds his head very low and stiff. He has made it outside to potty twice and ate a can of food for dinner. So now he has finally laid down to rest.