For those of you who follow me on instagram and twitter or via facebook....you know things have been a lil different in the Winchester house....to say the least.
It all started January 4th.
It was a friday evening and the hubs and I had our night planned with dinner and a trip to Lowe's to pick up some things for home projects.
I decided to take Bailey on a little walk before we left. We try to be pretty strict about giving the dogs exercise, especially Bailey because he is so hyper and energetic. Typical for Boxers.
I bundled up and we headed over to our favorite spot for some off leash play.
There is a large open field that backs up to a farm right behind our house. We tend to let the doggies run free several times a week over there. It's our own dog park.
I didn't take my phone with me that night. I knew it would be a quick trip since it was getting so cold that evening.
Kev and Uggie stayed at home since Uggie typically requires much shorter walks versus Bailey, and less frequent.
Lazy bullie :-)
Bailey and I were playing a typical game of chasing each other....nothing too vigorous...when all of sudden it looked like something snapped in his leg and immediately went lame on his back left leg. He couldn't put any weight on it.
Visualize a horse running and all of sudden you can see something bad happened to their leg and the immediately begin to limp. You clearly just KNOW something is wrong.
This was the case for Bailey. I knew something was BAD wrong.
I of course flipped my lid and started screaming like a crazy person.
There were a few middle school boys close by playing football that ran over to me.
Hmmm....it must have been the shrieking screams. Oops!
They were so sweet. I asked if I could use their phone to call Kev.
But my mind wasnt working right.....I swear I could not remember my husband's cell number.
So of course I called my mother. Had her then call Kevin to tell him to come pick up me and Bailey. I wasn't gonna make the poor thing walk all the way home on 3 legs.....and packing him on my back want an option since he weights 98 pounds.
One lil problem....Kev was upstairs the whole time my mom tried to call him. His phone....downstairs in the kitchen. Major Fail!
Can we please add that it was freeeezing?
I sat with Bailey on the ground...he was actually handling it well. Just panting a lil and limping. I think I made it worst by bawling like a baby and he could pick up on my anxiety.
15 min later....no Kev.
Bailey and I started the trek home. I was amazed at how well he did on three legs. We just took our time and went slow.
When we got home you can imagine what a panic I was in...i was so upset that Kev thought something horrible happened to me.
Me? A drama queen over my dog? NEVER!
Long story short....we immediately went to the pet emergency room.
The vet seemed to think Bailey had torn is cruciate ligament in his knee. There was no sure way to tell without sedation and x-rays. I opted to wait until the next morning to take him to our primary Vet for x-rays. We left that night with pain and anti-inflammatory meds to give him.
That night we made our first adult fort/pallet in the floor....and we have been sleeping in the living room ever since.
We drug a mattress down to the first floor and allowed Bailey and Uggie to be right in the middle of us.
The next day, I took Bailey to the vet and x-rays did reveal that he had indeed torn his CCL (same as ACL in humans).
The vet referred us to a doggie orthopedic surgeon and i made an appt for the following Wednesday.
The vet said to keep him off of his legs as much as we could...no jumping, running, or activity with Uggie.
So Kev and I immediately went into operation Bailey mood. We bought a crate, two large pens, a ramp, bones, an orthopedic bed.....you name it...we bought it.
I wish you could claim your dog on your taxes......
It was a very sad time in our house. Just pitiful. I have NEVER crated Bailey. NEVER.
When I got him as a puppy, I was living with 5 other girls in our last semester of college. Someone was always with him and it was super easy to potty train hm.
Having him in the crate was heartbreaking.
He cried, uggie cried, and then I would cry.
To make matters worse....Kev had to leave us for 4 days for a work trip in NYC.
Thank goodness for my brother and sweet momma who rushed to be with me and the doggies.
One of them would sit with the doggies while I was at work.
For the next couple of days we just tried to get him acclimated to his crate and pen. We knew he would be spending lots of time in it after surgery based on our Dr. Google research.
I laid in the crate and pen with him as much as I could. He still hated it.
I caved at night and let him sleep on the temporary mattress bed in the living room floor.
I curled up to him every night before surgery.
To say I was a mess is putting it lightly.
My mom and I took Bailey to Louisville on Jan 9th and discussed surgical options.
Our vet recommended the TPLO surgery. It is by far the most invasive, but the one with best and quickest results.
A little bit about TPLO
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy)
What makes the TPLO unique is that using a special curved saw, the surgeon will make a complete cut through the top part of the tibial bone. This cut is then rotated so that the once “sloped” tibial plateau is now essentially flat. Once the proper placement is accomplished a metal plate and screws are placed on the outside of bone to hold it in place. See image below.It is important to remember that this is now a broken bone and therefore the healing process should be treated as such.
(Yes - they literally saw his bone!!! Essentially fracturing his leg! No metal detectors for our Bailey boy either)
The surgery is the easy part. After surgery the vet explained we would need to do the following
1. Confine him for 8 weeks - leash walks only to go pee or poo
2. No stairs or jumping...not even to jump on our mattress in the living room floor
3. No playing with Uggie
4. Pain meds every 8 hours and anti-inflammatory meds ever 12
5. No walking on hardwood, tile or linoleum floor to avoid slipping
6. Crated when out of home and possible E-collar (lamp shade) to prevent licking incision
Basically after 8 weeks we could start short walks and possible dog therapy/rehab.
Don't you worry, as an Occupational Therapist, Bailey will get plenty of therapy at home too.
I had a list of questions a mile long for the vet. My mom even videoed our appointment with the ipad so we could send it to Kev in NYC.
I was an overwhelmed mess.
We scheduled surgery for the next day - Jan 10th
The other issues we discussed with the vet is that once 1 leg has a torn cruciate ligament, the other leg is
50 % more likely to tear.
Apparently this is very common, but most dogs recover just fine.
Prayers, prayers and more prayers that we only have to do this once. I dont have the heart to put him through it again.
The Vet also discussed that he would need to be hospitalized and stay the night after surgery.
As a therapist myself, I get it....people go through much worse on a daily basis. I know that. I see it daily!
However, I will be the first to admit i am CRAZY when it comes to my dog. Kev and I both are and that is one thing I love about him the most.
I hate that so many people in this world miss out on sharing a bond with an animal. I am a firm believer it adds so much to a person's life.
With that being sad, that whole first week was such an emotional drain for me. It was even worse not having Kev here to hold my hand.
I learned two things. - 1. i am so not ready for a baby
2 - i dont know how you mommas do it all....and you single mommas, you get mad respect from me.
Yes....i know he is a dog, but he is my fur-baby.
Surgery went well on January 10th.
The vet called me immediately after surgery and said there was only a small concern of an irregular heartbeat every 2-5 min. This is common with anesthesia, but taken serious in the boxer breed due to boxer cardiomyopathy. The vet wanted to do an ultrasound and echo-cardiogram of Bailey's heart.
Yes an echo on my dog...say what???
Everything came back normal....they would continue to monitor his heart rate overnight.
I got to pick Kev up from the airport late thursday night. I was so happy he would be here with me to go pick up Bailey Boy.
We drove to Louisville the next afternoon to get our baby.
Let me just tell ya....TPLO surgery ain't cheap!
But my baby is worth every penny.
They had warned us he would be shaved, bruised and out of it.
I tried to mentally prepare myself....but the reality was rough....really rough
It was the saddest thing and broke my heart.
Poor guy could bailey walk, his lil leg was sooo swollen, he was shaved, and had some serious bruising.
I fought so hard to keep the tears back.
I rode in the hatch of my SUV the whole way back to lexington with him.
I told him not to be embarrassed by his new haircut.
We got him home home safe and sound and tried to keep him as comfortable as possible. We hardly left the house so we could be with him.
It was such an adjustment for all of us.
Kev and I spent plenty of time in the crate/pen giving him lots of love and attention and keeping things as normal as we could.
He also go iced down by his momma. The therapist in me came out in full force.
It has been hard on miss Uggie too. It is clear she doesn't understand why she cant play with her brother. it's sad.
Every time he goes out to potty she wants to sniff his incision. It's like she knows he had surgery and there is a foreign object in there.
The above photo (bottom left) is day 1....so swollen and bruised.
Bottom right - day 7...such a HUGE difference in a week.
It looks even better today.
He is starting to put some weight on the left leg....just a little, but each day is better than the day before.
We go back for our follow up with Doggie Ortho on Jan 28th.
He really has been such a good boy. He hasn't been as whiny as I thought he would be. He hasn't been licking his incision. He has been eating regularly, drinking lots, and no issues with his bowel or bladder.
It's more emotionally difficult more than anything, but Bailey has been a trooper.
They say that this surgery is worse on the owner than it is the dog....it's just such a drastic change to our environment and routine.
One thing's for sure....the 2nd floor of the house has never been cleaner. ha!
You can tell he is starting to feel better, which is gonna make it that much harder to have him all penned up.
1.5 weeks down.....6.5 to go. Kev and I are counting down to March 7th!!
thank you all for the sweet texts, comments on instagram, emails, etc regarding bailey.
you have no idea how much we appreciate it!