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Doggy CCL Knee Surgery and Recovery Time Activities

One Sunday, a few weeks ago, we noticed Breck was limping. The first thing we thought was that he had gotten stung in the foot by a drunk wasp that had been dining on the fallen apples near my back door. Nope, no sting locations. We felt if he had any broken bones, nope. No dog squeaks after pulling it out and bending. We figured we’d get him into the veterinarian that next Monday.

Our appointment was at 10 AM, and in less than 3 minutes, he was diagnosed with a cruciate ligament tear in his right, rear knee. A CCL is the same as an ACL in humans. In a nutshell, its the tendon that holds the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (calf bone) and prevents the femur from sliding forward off the tibia. Clearly, dogs are made a bit different. All the vet needed to do was to push his femur back from his tibia and note the amount of ‘shift’ it made. Too much shift for it to still be attached.

Breck in the doughnut-of-shame

She offered up three options, do nothing, or two types of surgery. The first type was called the ‘Fishing Line’ or ‘Old School’ technique. The vet would basically recreate the tendon with fishing line between the two bones. Vets have been doing this surgery for years and it has worked well for dogs Brecks size for decades. The other surgery sounded a bit more intense, as the tibia would be cut and reattached backwards, to create a ledge. (Read the link for more details on the surgeries).

After the vet briefly described the surgeries, she then asked me to sit for the prices… The fishing line surgery was about $3,500 and the tibia cut surgery, would be about $4,500. Good thing she had smelling salts handy ๐Ÿ˜‰ I clearly had to go home and discuss this with my hubby.

There was no doubt we were going to have to go with one of the surgeries. Unless we wanted him in a brace for the rest of his life… Nope!! He’s only 10 years old. We started getting educated about the surgery and reached out to my Mother-in-Law, as her dog just had CCL surgery done at 15 years old and recovered fabulously. Her vet only charged her $1,400! Say what?!? That is more than half the dough my vet wanted! Gimmie his number!

I wasn’t that happy with my current vet anyway.. I wondered if she even liked animals. She wouldn’t get on the floor and pet them, or give them treats before the business time of the appointment. Just the facts, ma’am.

Breck at work with me.

We got an appointment two hours after I called M-I-L’s vet. The first thing he did was to pay attention to Breck and make both of us feel comfortable. He examined his leg (on the floor) and quickly agreed with the other vet. His CCL was torn. Dr. H told me that Breck looked healthy, not overweight and the fishing line surgery would be a great surgery for him. He showed me models of dog knees and how the surgery/recovery process would go. We scheduled surgery for the next Monday.

Breck in his onsie… Hey, don’t knock it until you try it ๐Ÿ˜‰

His surgery went well and according to his x-rays, it was a freak accident. He had no predisposition for this injury, nor did he have any arthritis anywhere. In my opinion, his injury was from his little, evil brother, Oreo. He likes to ‘check’ other dogs and hoomans. ‘Checking’ is a hockey term for running into another player really hard. Surely, this is what happened.

Since I knew the 8 week recovery time was going to be hell on everyone in this house, I started perusing Amazon for any products I could find to make Breck as comfortable as possible, keep him safe and help keep the hoomans sane.

Yes, we do have a real cage, however, this is not the route we wanted to take. With a cone or ‘doughnut’ on, he would not be able to turn very well in the cage. We bought a large cage enclosure to keep him in while we’re home. I am also able to take him to work with me, so he’ll basically be under surveillance 24/7. Well, except for when we slept.

We soon learned cones-of-shame were Breck’s most hated thing in the world. After cone attachment, he’d pant, shake, squirm, cry and paw at it, trying to achieve removal. We tried to be patient, however he was not having it. We next tried the doughnut. He is accepting of it while I am around him, however the minute I turn my back, its off. We tied it as tight as we thought reasonable. His neck to head ratio is nonexistent, along with his silky fur, allows for easy removal of anything around his neck. The hoomans needed to be smarter… Bandages wouldn’t help. We even tried to put a pair of daddy’s boxer underwear on him… Placing his tail through the hole. (heehee…) I won’t humiliate either of them with a photo. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I finally happened upon these doggy-after-surgery onsies. I ordered a large, however I feel it was too small and now ordered an XL. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!! Now I’ve only had it on him for a day (and it’s a bit small), but so far, I am sold! He doesn’t mind having it on and he can still lick some places, just not where his stitches are. I will have to report if this works, as he has already got one stitch out. (Overnight and into the second day, the stitches have been un-licked!)

So, now that we’ve been able to keep him from bothering his stitches, keeping his brain entertained was the next step. If you believe Cesar Millan, dogs don’t have emotions, thus do not get depressed. Really? I used to respect that man….Sigh.. Anyway. Since I believe dogs do have basic emotions, including depression, I felt I needed to figure out some activities for himย to pass the time. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Long-lasting chew toys. I found these Himalayan Cheese blocks! I did not follow the directions on the package, but gave one to him right out of the package. He loves them and they take about a day or two to get through.
  • He likes to be brushed, so he’s gotten brushed daily. He also loves his face and nose rubbed with something fuzzy. He really likes massages, also.
  • Gentle tug of war. Very gentle!
  • Which cup is the treat under game. He’s too good, we’ve had to go to 4 cups.
  • Breck loves being talked to. I’m not sure how much he understands, however he is absorbed in every word I speak.
  • I normally don’t let him ‘defuzz’ a tennis ball, however he really likes doing it and it takes an hour or two to do the job.
  • He loves just sitting outside. Since we’ve been having some beautiful days lately, I’ve been enjoying the weather with him, sitting in the cool grass and relaxing.
  • He loves coconut oil. I put it on his front feet to lick off.
  • We had gotten him a few ‘Brain Games’. Basically, hide the treat type games. He’s too darn smart for these, though. Once he’s figured it out, it takes less than a minute to do it again.
  • I’ve read about others buying dog buggies to take their pooches on walks rides in. Well, I’m not going to blow a bunch of bucks on a specialized one, however I remembered the gardening cart I used when I had my own biz. He loves it!! I wheeled him through the neighborhood and he just sniffed the air. I take him out occasionally to write P-Mails on posts and mailboxes ๐Ÿ™‚

Wanna go for a roll??

There is very little I’ll not do for my fur kids.

ยฉ Ilex ~Midwestern Plant Girl

I’m Hiding! Peek-a-boo With Your Dog

Breck doesn’t beg while I eat, however when he wants a snack, he’ll start the ‘Staring Game’. Clearly, it starts with a stare. He then moans.. and again. Then cries a bit. He might move right into a full bark or a Grrr. At this point, I usually try to move, put a foot in the way or blanket over my head. He’s smarter than a 3 year old. Here is just another stupid attempt at the hoo-man to fool the dog. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Riiiiight.

Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Flat Rabbit

I believe everything cycles. Things go up, things go down. The perfect song that comes to mind is called Turn Turn Turn, by the Byrds. Did you know that the song is word for word the first eight verses of the third chapter of the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes? These tid-bits are what keep my Trivial Pursuit gold metal on the wall ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anywho.

The reason I launched into cycles was to describe the rabbit population around here. I’ve lived in this house for 13 years now. When we first moved in, there were enough rabbits around here to make stew for the whole block! They munched through all my veggies, perennials and had me swerving out of the way of them on my street. Don’t know why I didn’t just mow them down. Turkey vultures need to eat too.

The next year the rabbits started strong, however shortly after June, I barely saw any. I didn’t really notice any correlations, just that there were no rabbits.

Fast forward to living here for 7 years. Six of those years were spent enjoying my life without rabbits! I could grow my spinach, beets and carrots without having to build a fortress around them. The seventh year was the return. My Rudbeckia was decimated. I thought I was having seed failure in my beets. My dogs started digging under the fence. The rabbits came back with a vengeance. Again, they were everywhere.

Later that year, I started to notice how many birds of prey were circling overhead. Many times I would hear the loud chirping from birds during a combined effort of mobbing. The clincher was having fur and rabbit pieces strewn across my lawn on a weekly basis.

Fast forward another 7 years…

As my boys are sight orientated, they seldom notice things that are still. I will normally notice something in the yard before they can get to it. Sadly, my hubby isn’t as observant. After getting home from a long day, he opened the back door for the boys to go out. He propped the door open, and sat down to have a smoke. It wasn’t more that 10 minutes, when Breck brought the last half of a rabbit to him. He just put it down at my husband’s feet and looked up at him.ย  How nice of him! Hubby took a shot for me (He knew I’d blog this!!! Thanks Sweetie!), scooped it up and put it out front. He then went out back to see what had gone down back there. There was clearly a scene of carnage out there. Only fur and bloody pieces remained. He assumed the bird was able to take off with at least one half. He gathered all the pieces and promptly buried what was left in the front yard, away from the boys.

I titled this post Flat Rabbit, because one of the boys favorite toys is a stuffingless rabbit, called Flat Rabbit. This was a whole nother type of flat rabbit!!

ยฉ Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Doggy Dilemmas ~ Squirrel Edition

I was a stupid human…. I admit it. I didn’t think over the new location for the suet feeder enough. I wanted to use the shepherd’s hook that was previously holding the suet and thistle to hold my new hummingbird feeder. Now I still wanted to see my Woodpecker and Blue Jay friends, so I though hanging the suet/thistle on a long hook between the windows would work.

Nope. Mom squirrel was formulating solutions to the new placement within a few hours. This did not make my Oreo very happy! She flung herself at the screen and scrambled up to her prize!

What are you doing, climbing on my house?!? Oreo yelled in Dog.

She didn’t seem phased. Now I had to get up and knock in the window. She reeeeeally didn’t want to give up on the fresh, peanut filled suet, however she ran down the screen. I have since moved the suet to the clematis trellis. Not any better of a location to be safe from squirrels, however no screens would be climbed to get to it.

I was really shocked her claws didn’t cause any damage to the screens. I would have soooo been in the doghouse. These screens are less than 6 months old.

Previous Dilemmaโ€™s in a Dogโ€™s Life 1 โ€“ 2 โ€“ 3 โ€“ 4 โ€“ 5 โ€“ 6 โ€“ 8

ยฉ Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Doggy Dilemmas – LIVER!

It’s only the best for my boys! One of their fav treats is LIVER! We like to buy Stewart’s brand Beef Liver. The boys know the difference between a plain ‘ol treat and a LIVER! These are freeze dried LIVERS! (Yes, my dogs won’t let me just write ‘liver.’ It must be ‘LIVER!’) LIVER! is the only ingredient, and they are made in the great state of Ohio. I had been buying them at Pets-mart, however noticed Amazon had them also… for half the price and free shipping. Brick and mortar looses again.

I did read many of the newer reviews that stated the recent batches were either dust (all the pieces crushed) or the tub was rancid. I’ll be sure to examine my first delivery of them. I’ve been buying these for years with no issues whatsoever. I’m glad for the warning, however I’m still gonna buy them. We do normally have a bit of dust in the bottom, I get it. They are freeze dried. We actually started buying the chicken LIVERS! first. Now those were all dust and the largest pieces were the size of the small piece in my hand in the pix. We much prefer the beef ones, they are larger and less dust. When the tub gets down to dust, we just mix it into their dinners. No waste.

I discovered in the most recent tub that we had received a coupon to mail in for free chicken breast treats. I’m a sucker for anything free, so I brought it inside to fill out and get into the afternoon mail. Something distracted me, as something always does, and I walked away from the coffee table. As a human with limited smelling capacity, I had not noticed how fragrant the coupon was from sitting in the tub of LIVERS! I returned to notice Oreo taking a bite out of the coupon. NOOOO! If you want more, you must not eat this one, silly boy!!!

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Previous Dilemmaโ€™s in a Dogโ€™s Life 1 โ€“ 2 โ€“ 3 โ€“ 4 โ€“ 5 67.

ยฉ Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

New Doggy Bling

Last week, we ordered new collars for the boys. They were from Four Black Paws. These are beautifully, hand-made and well constructed. We got cute hearts for Oreo and a grayscale pattern for Breck. Oreo needs a thicker collar at 1″ wide, whereas Breck doesn’t need a thick collar, and we got him the 3/4 inch size. Both were size large.

The super cool part about these collars, is that their names and contact phone numbers are etched onto the clasp. No more jingle, jingle.

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So cute!!

ยฉ Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Punked my Pups!

I don’t like to waste food, and lucky for the boys there was some left over ham from the weeks sandwiches. Instead of cutting it up and mixing it in, I decided to be an a$$hole and stick it to the bottom of the bowl, under their food >:-D

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I don’t normally feed them in the living room, however I knew I’d be documenting their progress.

Oreo went straight to working on getting the ham out.

Breck was just gobbling! So much so, his bowl was rolling all over.

ยฉ Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Second Chances for Single Socks

cute-dog-socksIt’s hopefully coming to the end of ‘sock season’ soon and the need to wear socks will be over. I hate wearing socks. I do buy cute ones tho, usually with dogs or other cute animals or patterns on them. My husband, on the other hand, buys the same, white brand so they actually ALL match. Whenever he gets a hole in one, it’s not like the pair is trash, just the one with the hole. Easy-peasy! There’s never a single sock in his drawer.

I actually don’t seem to loose many of these cute pairs. It’s the plain Jane colored ones that go MIA. I had a pretty large pile of loners and was about to throw them out when I looked at Oreo sitting next to me. Ah Ha! I tied them all together and a new pull toy was created! Fun!

ยฉ Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl