Raven has a drain now

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Happy news: The vet didn’t have to use anesthesia today. He used a local and Raven was a good boy while they opened his incision while he was fully awake and put a penrose drain in. Then he got a new compression body wrap. And is on Lasix diuretic. Hoping this will get the seroma under control. He was like Pillsbury Doughboy, even his feeties were pudgey. I have already had to change out the towel that it drained into after only 6 hours. So, I am hoping that this will prevent so much fluid retention. Light at the end of the tunnel.

Here’s a video of Raven on Friday learning how to chew a bone treat with only one paw. 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKVYbyOh9_M


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Raven is going back into surgery today

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

6 days post-amp and he’s been doing well other than the dang “seroma” issue. It leaks out the bottom of his stitches and soaks the bandaging, which I change out 2-3x a day. And Saturday we put a compression body suit on to keep the fluid buildup along his entire torso. Yesterday, his legs are filling, and hotpacks aren’t helping.

So today he goes in for anesthesia again to insert a full drain. We were hoping not to for obvious reasons, but also a drain is a way for bacteria to get IN, and I don’t want to have infection issues…

I have a video from last Friday learning how to chew a bone without two paws to hold it between. (maybe need to upload elsewhere on this site?) His attitude is really good, bless his heart. This is what I love about dogs, they are “in the moment”, not pining over what isn’t, just enjoying what is (his yummy chewy).

Raven’s lethargic and his drain fell out today

Last night and today, he doesn’t want to go anywhere he doesn’t have to be lured to.  I am hoping that he is simply sore from using the muscles he doesn’t normally use.  And the pressure from this seroma buildup is down into his legs and groin and the bandaging is pretty restrictive.  Poor thing.  He just layed around all day today.  Even when people came by, he didn’t bark or even get up.  He did that on day two, so I am a bit concerned, but he’s eating and perks his ears when I say his name.  🙂

His drain fell out today since we didn’t stitch it in.  But I could push fluid out the stitches with my hands.  The bandaging is soaked already, so I added a towel and bandaged over it.  The entire “suit” has shifted back and is putting pressure on his penis, so I guess we are going back to the vet again tomorrow for a new setup.  *sigh*

I will be happy when this swelling is gone and he and I don’t have to struggle with this bandaging any longer.  Although, his incision looks wonderful, so I am thankful for that. 

I am now feeding him four small meals a day to eliminate the worry of Bloat.  And I have to bring him the water bowl or he will never get up to go get some.  He just doesn’t want to go anywhere today.  And he’s down to 3 – 4 Tramadol a day (down from 6).

Unfortunately his elbow is raw from sort of slamming his weight onto it when laying down.  So, I put some gauze padding, vetrap, and taped it in place.  Now he has a yellow elbow…

Saw the vet today – new bandaging yet again

I’ve decided we are going to need a harness.  Raven always did the Rotti thing of putting his front paws in the vehicle and looking over his shoulder for a boost.  Like this a month ago:

Waiting...
Waiting..."Boost please?"

Today, first time in a car post-op, he did this, but when I boosted him, he tipped an face-planted to his right in the vehicle.  🙁  At 115#, I’m not sure if the Ruff Wear is enough?  Or the AST Support Suit would be too much/hot?  I’d like it on him all the time, to help him as much as possible…

The vet was pleased with his mobility into the clinic, he hopped along.  But when we removed the soaked bandaging, he was leaking all over the floor and his leg immediately.  He called it “seroma”, apparently not just blood, but fluids too.  Raven allowed him to put in a drain without sedation (but not stitch it in), then we put the bandaging the whole length of his torso to keep the swelling down.  He’s hoping to keep this one on until Wednesday, 4 days.

Raven in his new compression "suit".
Raven in his new compression "suit".

Raven Update – 3rd day

He is learning to walk, but it’s so hard to watch him fall. Especially when he wants to pee. He tries to lift a leg and then goes to the ground.  He’s gotten it right a couple times to keep all three legs on the ground and pee like a girl, but old habits die hard.

He tries to do our routines. Wants to go to the barn with me in the morning, but can’t go that far. And last night I let him out and he never came back. I went with a flashlight and found him by the burn pile in the pasture, just admiring the stars. I think he just went too far and wasn’t strong enough to make it back. The hopping is hard work until he strengthens those muscles.

His pain is much less. He was bleeding a lot yesterday again and soaked the new bandaging. I happened to have a cow vet out in the morning that looked at it for me. She said it’s normal. All that blood needs to find a new place to go and reroute itself. So, I redid his bandaging again.  He’s got a large ventral edema where the internal bleeding is pooling. I’m going to ask the vet about that tomorrow.

Bulldog Betty in her Halloween outfit, babysitting Raven
Bulldog Betty in her Halloween outfit, babysitting Raven

Another panic-stricken night – thought he had Bloat

Since he got his appetite back, he seems to gulp his food and belch (never used to).  And he doesn’t drink because it’s a struggle to go to the water bowl.  So, when he ate dinner last night, the water bowl was there, and he gulped down the entire bowl like he was dehydrated.  Then, an hour later, he looked bloated!

It was another terrifying night of staring at him and not sleeping.   Here is an email I sent my vet:

“Sometimes you are online late.  I hate calling you at home, let alone this late, but this edema is sooooo huge on Raven tonight!  It was like water balloons down the mammary line and a pendulous purple penis today.  But now, his whole torso is swollen and actually tight.  He’s agitated and restless and shallow breathing, licking the air.  Can all that pooling blood be dangerous? Or put pressure on heart/lungs/organs?

“My other worry is that he wolfed his dinner tonight and then followed it with drinking a ton.  Don’t know why, but I am also worried about bloat, since he did do that once.  Remember I went to the ER in Roseville? 

“Crud, I’m panicking and don’t know if I should rush him to ER and spend yet another $500 that I don’t have for just edema.  But if I wait and it worsens and can’t make it that far in time.  If you can, please call me.  Praying…..”

At 2am I called the ER hospital and they said that the symptoms *could* be pain related.  I had been weaning his pain meds down, so it was possible just a bout of breakthrough pain.  I gave him a GasX for the bloating and a Tramadol for pain and he was better by 3:30am.  Thank you Jesus.

Raven and Betty
Raven and Betty

A turn for the better – day after surgery

Raven and his "Auntie" Laura
Raven and his "Auntie" Laura

Still have only had 2 hours sleep in 36… but Raven finally took a big turn for the better a few hours ago! He had not moved and would not bare weight, eat, drink, nothing for 24 hours. Still has not peed or pood, that will be a Halleluah.

But this afternoon a friend stopped by with canned food to tempt him with and some fruits and veges and soup for me because I hadn’t eaten either from stress (I lose my appetite). happy.gif

Raven heard her voice, he LOVES his Auntie Laura, and actually barked, wagged, and tried to sit up. So we together got him to his feet and basically carried him outside for some fresh air, familiar routine, and hoped he’d at least pee. He just collapsed like a ragdoll. It was a concern that he’s not better, but Tom (vet) was on the way in a few hours.

While waiting, we did some trying to teach him to balance standing on his own, enticing him with cookies. He finally looked a bit brighter eyed, rather than depressed, and drank some water.

The makeshift pressure bandage wrap we put on in the emergency in the yard in the dark last night wasn’t the best and it was cutting in to his armpit, which was difficult to work around. And his catheter was still in his one front leg, which hurt too. When Tom arrived, Raven got up on his own and wagged, even barked, and tried to run to him! He loves the vet. happy.gif He replaced the pressure bandage and wrapped better in the daylight, removed the needle from his leg, and he’s a new dog after having the visitors!

 
With his new bandaging
With his new bandaging

Longest Night Of My Life

Post Op - IV, pain meds, and my makeshift bed
Post Op - IV, pain meds, and my makeshift bed

Raven came through surgery okay. I have worked with my vet on procedures for many rescue animals for my non-profit charity, Wild About Cats (www.wildaboutcats.org).  I am very comfortable with post-op care.  And there is nobody at the clinic after 9pm, so I would rather have him home. 

But due to his size, he hemoraged in my yard as my Mom and I were trying to get him from the car to the house tonight. In the dark, puddle of blood, bloodsoaked clothing, he was losing consciousness in my arms and I went completely hysterical. My vet came within minutes and, by the grace of God, saved him. He’s bound up with towels and pressure bandages and on an IV drip in my living room right now. I have to monitor the drip, give him morphine injections, and try to get him to eat, throughout the night. Going to be a long one. My vet Tom is coming by tomorrow at lunchtime to remove the bandaging and redress it all. He will rally just fine with three legs, but the bleedout was a freak thing that we hadn’t planned on, so I’m in a bit of shock. My neighbor has been with me all evening and she just left…

Must make more coffee…

Post Op - with his buddy the cat babysitting
Post Op - with his buddy the cat babysitting

Raven’s Story

Raven - 8 years old - my best friend
Raven - 8 years old - my best friend

Raven will be 9 December 15, 2009.   Last April, he was limping on the right front and xrays showed a lesion in the bone, upper humerus, that looked like classic osteosarcoma.  I was devastated.  My good friend and I took Raven on a “farewell” trip to the ocean, his special day, he was given about 2 months to live.

"Farewell" trip to the ocean
"Farewell" trip to the ocean

We took a bone biopsy and the vet and I were shocked it was negative for cancer.  What a roller coaster!  We decided to watch closely with recheck xrays every month or two.  June and August both showed no changes, so it certainly wasn’t acting like bone cancer, which is much more aggressive.  I was hoping it was an injury and would start to heal?

Then, Monday, Oct. 26, 2009, the xray recheck showed a big change.  The radiologist the next morning backed up the vet in saying that it indeed looked like it had turned malignant and to remove the leg asap would be his best chance for longetivity, quality, and from eventually breaking his leg within a month or so.  I was reeling, I wasn’t prepared.  But at 9am Tuesday, he went in for amputation surgery.

He’s 115# and almost 9 years old, but plays like a puppy, has OFA excellent hips, and no arthritis whatsover in the xray.  The vet took the lymph nodes in his armpit and shoulder too.  Biopsy results next week.  Hope, hope…

Our footprints in the sand
Our footprints in the sand

4-26-09