Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Akita had knee surgery.

My dog, Hana, started limping a few weeks ago. It was right after my dad had come over to spend the night and she followed him around everywhere, even upstairs. A few days after he left, I noticed she was limping and not putting a lot of weight on her right rear leg. I didn't think much about it and decided to take her to the dog park that week. Some other people at the dog park commented about her limp and said perhaps it was her hips. I told them I didn't think it was her hips because she used to jump over my son's baby gate and she would often limp for a few days after landing flat from jumping over the gate. I also said if she was limping the following week I would take her to the vet to get checked out.

When we finished at the dog park, we went to the kids park next door. My dog tried to hop up on this man-made hill and her back right leg went out. I took her to the vet immediately. They took x-rays/radiographs and delivered the bad news that she had a full tear in her anterior cruciate ligament or also referred to as ACL. From what I understand, it's the same joint as people have. I was very sad because I didn't want her to be in pain and also very stressed out because my vet told me she would have to go to an orthopedic vet and this particular surgery can cost thousands of dollars, depending on where you go. I was pretty devastated. My vet gave me some pain medication as well as some anti-inflammatory mediation, I paid my bill and went home.

One of the places my vet referred me to was Petworks Express. I called the week after Hana's injury and scheduled a time to come in to have her looked at. When I went in, I met with Dr. Stephen D. Pappan DVM. He looked at my x-rays and examined Hana. He confirmed what my vet had told me and even showed me how her injured knee was different from her good knee. He told me the newer method of dog knee surgery is called TPLO which also means Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. He charged $1900 for this particular surgery compared to $2500-$4000 at other orthopedic vets. He said I could also try the older knee surgery method also (I think it was called Extracapsular Retention Suture Repair) and he would go in and stabilize her knee. He quoted $750-$800 for this surgery. He said there were no guarantees with any of the surgeries. I went ahead and opted to get the Extracapsular Retention Suture Repair and scheduled Hana's surgery for yesterday.

I dropped Hana off early yesterday morning and her surgery took place around 11:30am. I hadn't heard from them by the afternoon and I started to worry. I called Petworks Express around 3:00pm and I was told Hana was just waking up and she was fine. They said I could come and pick her up around 5:30pm.

I arrived right around 5:30pm and waited a few minutes. Dr. Pappan and another staff member brought Hana out. Dr. Pappan had her back end lifted off the ground using a towel as a harness. We managed to get her in the car. She was still pretty sedated from the surgery. Her incision looked pretty horrid. She seemed okay on the ride home. They also told me I had to keep her crated throughout her entire recovery, which is apparently 10-12 weeks. My dog hates being crated. My friend Randi luckily had a crate that she wasn't using and I was able to borrow it. Justin had to help me get Hana out of the car (she weighs about 75 lbs). We put her in the kitchen on a mat because Randi wasn't going to be home until later that evening and I had to go get the crate/kennel from her house. I finally went and picked the crate up and was able to put Hana inside. I also put a blanket in the crate as well. I gave her her medication (some pain pills, an anti-inflammatory and some antibiotics). I also tried to put ice on her leg, but she wouldn't have that at all. She whined and moaned quite a bit.

I woke up at 5:30am this morning and went down to check on her. She had somehow managed to move herself around and was lying on her incision side. I gave her some water, which she drank and also gave her her medication. She's been vomiting all morning. I called Petworks Express and they were open, thank goodness. Dr. Pappan said to stop giving her Rimadyl because that was probably what was upsetting her stomach. I was also able to get her up and take her outside to pee.
After she went to the bathroom, I put her back in the crate. Notice how she's lying on the wound side again. The only thing I can think of is that side is cold since it's shaved and exposed. I was going to try and post a photo of her wound, but she's laying on it. It's going to be a very long recovery period, especially since she's a larger dog.