Yesterday Cookie went to the vets to have the staples removed from her wound following TPLO surgery two weeks previously. It wasn't without it's difficulty as some of the staples were reluctant to leave and though it was obviously painful Cookie dealt with her usual stoicism. She had some more laser treatment and a tub of silver cream to help the healing process and hopefully it will calm down now that everything is removed.
Tomorrow sees her begin short lead walks again, only 10 minutes at a time but a huge stage in her recovery. All being well these will increase gradually up until her appointment back at Liverpool University Small Animal Teaching Hospital where she will have more x-rays. If everything goes to plan she'll then be discharged and we get her started on some hydrotherapy to start building her muscles back up again.
We realise we are not out of the woods yet by any means but her progress has been slow and steady to the point where she's almost limp free and certainly back to the old Cookie.
So what have we learnt from the experience? We have received some excellent advice from medical professionals and also from those who have been through this type of surgery and recovery? Firstly we have put a lot of time into Cookie's recovery. The fact it happened over Christmas was both a blessing and curse but we certainly had more bodies at home for a while and after that it's been a case of making her a priority.
I think time is the most important thing, as initially it was keeping an eye on her around the wound and her difficulty to get out to the toilet etc. As time has gone on it's been about giving her company, playing with her, talking to her or just being there so she knows she's not on her own. I really believe that has helped keep her calm and helped her recovery. She has been separated from the rest of the dogs and usual family life so I think this has been really helpful for her. I hate the buster collars and although she has a comfy one I didn't like her wearing it so again spending a lot of time with her meant that it was really only overnight she had to have it on.
We bought a Help'EmUp harness which was invaluable and we are indebted to Angela for the advice and I can't recommend them highly enough. They aren't cheap at around £100 but it has been such an aid and a great piece of kit.
We were very kindly sent a Snuffle mat from Stacey of My Fab Dog and Cookie has absolutely loved this. During days with nothing much to look forward to the Snuffle mat brought a real twinkle to her eyes. At first she lay down to find her treats but now she is following me around the room as I get her treats ready, another fantastic aid to beat the boredom.
We also got a camera set up which I know is a bit of a luxury but it did mean we can see her overnight as well if we were worried about anything and the night after she burst her staples I think Dawn just watched it all night which did give her some piece of mind. Ours is the Furbo which has very good night vision and you can talk to them as well which we found useful.
As I said at the beginning of these blogs we basically know nothing about dealing with a ruptured cruciate as this is something we've never been through before. With a lot of help and good advice we have made it so far without too much more stress than the initial injury and hopefully the rest of her recovery will be drama free.....we'll let you know.