1.5 weeks after surgery: stitches out!

Before I get to the awesome tripawd news…

Toller’s ears have flopped down!!!

We have no idea why but it’s so funny haha! All we can think is maybe she’s going to come into heat soon, and that has something to do with it?! Her ears have been stuck up since before she was 4 months old, and she’s 9 months now, so it’s really bizarre and was quite a shock…popped her in her crate in the morning with two bat ears (I later said I thought one looked a little floppier, but my bf hadn’t noticed anything), got her out later that day and she had floppy ears XD

This was taken on Saturday

This was Sunday!!

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I honestly can’t tell you how weird it was.

The first night, I was actually quite upset…because it kinda felt like I had a completely different dog – Toller’s ears are what you see when you look at her, she looks so different without them!! – but I’ve gotten used to it now and think she looks frickin’ adorable ๐Ÿ˜€

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Anyway,ย vet news!

Yesterday my partner walked up to the vets with Spud, all bundled up from the rain, and he got to the surgery…and it was shut for bank holiday -_-

Now bear in mind TWO people had told us her appt was Monday (bank holiday), as we phoned the surgery last Thursday and spoke to a useless receptionist (asked for advice about Spud running on lead on walks, and she didn’t understand and thought she was off lead, so kept telling us to keep her on lead) who also confirmed Monday.

This is the second time vets have done this in the last five months, last time it was with the useless surgery!!

My partner thought to call the surgery’s number, as it has 24/7 emergency care, and it was actually the head vet that answered. He apologised profusely, was really nice, and sent out the on-call nurse to drive to the surgery and carry out our appt free of charge. Considering the call-out fee for emergency appts is ยฃ90+, that’s pretty incredible ๐Ÿ™‚

The nurse took Toller’s stitches out, and reassured us that her weird walking (bunny hopping with her back legs, sitting with them wide etc) was Toller’s way of learning how to balance with one front leg. Which we were hoping for!

And that’s that.

1.5 weeks after surgery Toller isย completely off pain meds, has had her stitches out, and over the next few weeks will be built up to full-size walks ๐Ÿ˜€

*photos of amputation site, not gory but some scabbing!*

We had our best time out so far with her last night, only in the house too!

I was rough housing as there was no worries about her blowing her stitches, and she was on her back flailing, loving it ๐Ÿ˜€

We did some training too (sit, touch, wait), played tug, she sprinted about, jumped on things, and sat staring at the treat drawer until I gave her a dried sprat!!

Nothing holds my little one back check this out ๐Ÿ™‚

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Before & after amputation: week 1

Before amputation, we considered many things to try help Toller, from a wheelchair to the vets’ suggestions.

The vets refused to consider amputation for Tolly’s injury (every connective bone in her paw broken), as they wanted to keep her “whole”.

We were given two options, pushed by two different vets.

  1. Re-wiring surgery

This is an invasive surgery where wires are used to attach her bones back together.

This was pushed by the head vet at the surgery when we went to collect Tolly after her first x-ray. The head vet brought Tolly in, passed her over saying “So you know what she’s done, yes? Broken every bone connecting her toes, silly little girl!” (uhuh, because being run into by a much larger dog running full speed makes HER silly?!?!), “You really must do the rewiring surgery, you’ll need to sort that out as soon as possible.”

That was all the advice given to us when we collected Tolly after her x-ray. We were with this awful for woman for less than two minutes, and later found out they’d charged us a consultation fee (ยฃ38 I think) for that!!

I spent quite some time researching this surgery, and everything I read was extremely negative. There was no way of knowing how effective it would be, recovery was a long arduous process, and there was a high chance of complications and further surgeries needed.

Just no.

2. Splints and crate rest

Toller has 6-8 weeks strict crate rest, and her paw is splinted to allow it to heal in the correct position.

This was pushed by the second vet we saw, who told us not to opt for the surgery because she thought Tolly would make a full recovery with crate rest, to the point where she could go on walks, be active, and you ‘wouldn’t even be able to tell’ that paw had ever been injured.

With both vets refusing to even consider amputation, we went with the second vets’ opinion. Unfortunately none of the vets could put a splint on properly; the first fell off in less than 4 hours, the second after a few days, and so the vet said to leave her bare and she would heal just as well.

Fast forward 11 weeks and Toller was absolutely miserable; she’d missed out on almost three months socialisation, training and exercise (5 months – 8 months old), she had been on very strict crate rest (the only time she walked was to go to the toilet), and she was so broken that we honestly wondered whether we should have her put to sleep.

When our vet declared Toller ‘fully recovered’, and where she basically still had to live a life of crate rest AND we could see the foot visibly getting worse, we started looking into other options.

Toller’s leg 5 weeks ago

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Toller’s leg 1.5 weeks ago

When we finally found a vet that would agree to amputate, Toller had the surgery in less than a week, and 24 hours after surgery she was walking. She is far more mobile now than she has been for the last 11 weeks ๐Ÿ™‚

And, pictures speak a 1000 words, so here are some before photos.

When you look at her eyes and you see the misery, THAT is why we were considering having her PTS. That is no life for a 5-8 month old puppy to live, and it was *breaking* her.

And the difference. Look at her eyes, look at her smile!

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To anybody who is in a similar situation, here is my advice to you – DON’T GIVE UP.

You may need to see several different vets before you find one that listens. You will find vets that tell you to listen to the first vet, that say they need to ask “permission”…keep trucking, you will find your vet.

Make sure you do your research, so you can spot when a vet is lying or doesn’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Research your pup’s injury, the treatment the vet is recommending, and know your shit when it comes to amputation. The tripawds forum is amazing.

The more you push, the sooner your pup can be on the road to recovery!

Recovery from amputation is insanely speedy (Tolly is off pain meds, her amputation was 8 days ago) and your pup will be so much happier for it ๐Ÿ™‚

Tolly the tripawd!

Hey guys we’re absolutely exhausted here so I’m gonna keep it as quick as possible.

Long time no post!

So I don’t remember where we were with Tolly when I last posted, but here’s a recap.

She hurt her paw about 10 weeks ago, when an off lead Labrador sprinted all the way across a field and ran into her, bowling her over (she was a tiny 3.2kg at the time – 3.5kg now, little fatty ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

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We got her to the vet who said she suspected a broken toe at worst and wasn’t even going to x-ray, but we said we might as well to be on the safe side. After the x-ray it turned out Tolly had broken FOUR bones in her front left paw, all the bones connecting her toes to her foot.

We were immediately pushed towards an option of an invasive surgery to rewire her bones. When I researched this (reading articles, others’ experience, and posting on a forum for amputated pets as I immediately wanted to amputate) I found there were HUGE flaws with this option, including an extremely high likelihood of further procedures (I’m talking 98%+!), complications to do with recovery, and the fact it was a very invasive procedure.

A few days after her accident we saw a second vet, who was much more positive. Amputation, which we still wanted to consider, was poo-poo’ed as a full recovery was so certain, even though a full recovery from amputation is only 4 weeks. This vet advised us not to put Toller through the surgery, and said her foot would recover perfectly fine on it’s own, and we most likely wouldn’t even be able to tell she had been injured. So we signed ourselves up for 6-8 weeks crate rest.

Toller had two splints put on in the first week or so; one fell off after four hours, one fell off after a few days, and after that the vets advised we leave her as is.

For eight weeks Toller was confined to her crate or held in our arms, the only activity she got was from there or trips to the garden strictly to go to the toilet. With each vet visit the vet complimented her recovery, saying she was doing so much better than they expected.

Toller was ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE, and nothing held her attention (not even knuckle bones), and whilst we were very concerned about the after-effects of such extended crate rest on a very young puppy, we pushed ahead because it wasn’t long to the finish line.

Around the 6 week mark we began to notice that that front left foot was very bent out of place and odd looking, but pushed it aside as the vet was so certain she was making a miraculous recovery. At 7 weeks we were advised it was ligament damage and posed no concern.

At around 8 weeks we were told Toller was fully recovered, and we were horrified.

The story had now changed to she would have hugely restricted exercise for the rest of her life, she couldn’t run, go on walks, and her foot was scarily deformed. It stuck out at a literal right angle.

KIND OF GRAPHIC PHOTOS OF DEFORMED FOOT ย below

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Over the next week we followed the vet’s instructions, letting her walk in the house for 30 seconds at a time, just a time or two a day. We were horrified to see that foot getting worse.

At this point we thought we were going to get a wheelchair; that way Toller could go on walks in the chair, with the injured leg strapped out the way, and walk chair-free in the house as per the vet’s instructions. We bought a cheap ยฃ70 front wheeled cart whilst we saved the ยฃ580 for a custom one.

It soon became clear that wasn’t an option; Toller’s foot was so badly injured (and not at all recovered!!) that even small amounts of exercise were making it much worse.

We began looking for a second opinion and madly scrabbling for money for an amputation, which we had wanted to do right at the bloody start.

Unfortunately a lot of vets were less than helpful, with one surgery refusing to see her and telling us to use the first surgery (that had been totally wrong about her prognosis!), and another saying they would have to “ask permission” from the previous vet.

We finally found a branch that would happily give us a second opinion; they sent off for her info and we took Tolly to an appt with them. They agreed in an instant that an amputation was the way to go.

Today was her operation day. Photos from this morning just before she headed out.

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Eeesh, that poor foot!!

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We dropped her off, and phoned at lunch time for an update – oh, before I carry on, the vets wrote down THE WRONG LEG TO AMPUTATE!! Can you believe it?!?! Luckily the nurse checked with my partner first, although she did say they’d have questioned it anyway given how deformed her left leg was hahaha!

Lunchtime update ~ we were told she’d been a star up until time for her op, and enjoyed lots of cuddles! She’d been in theatre for 60 minutes and was just coming around now and doing really well. They wanted to keep her overnight, and would call before they closed that evening to update us again.

We were SO relieved ๐Ÿ™‚

We didn’t hear from them when they closed, so we called them on the dot, and unfortunately the first person who spoke with us was useless – she said “Yes, Toller’s fine, she’s just staying overnight with us” and then hung up the phone!!!!

But we called straight back and managed to speak with somebody else and they were brilliant ๐Ÿ™‚ They said Toller has had cuddles off every nurse that works at the surgery, and when they go into her room she gets excited and wags at them!

She’s eaten a meal and even had some test walks to start getting her used to life on three legs – she’s doing great, the only thing she struggles with is doorways and they have to carry her through those haha!

They’ve carried out a pain score on her (where they tally up how much pain a dog is in based on behaviour, body language etc to judge if they need more pain meds) and they basically couldn’t tell she was in any pain at all as she was just trying to love on them so hard!! This so typically Toller hahaha, completely loving and adorable, and such a tough little cookie ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

So she’s staying overnight, will be checked on every 3 hours, have further test walks and pain scores, and we go pick her up in the morning. We can phone as soon as they open and see what time they’d like for her to go home at.

To say I was relieved with how the day has gone is obviously a huge understatement, and the last nurse we spoke with described my little spitfire so perfectly I was crying listening to what my Spud had been up to!!

Obviously I’m really nervous about bringing her home (Will I be okay at the sight of her stump, because it won’t be bandaged at all? Will I feel suddenly sad about it? Will she be in pain? Will she try do too much now that broken leg has gone? Will she be especially vocal or miserable? What if it gets infected? etc etc etc) but mostly I just really can’t wait to see her and want to cuddle her forever.

It’s been absolute hell since she got injured…from being terrified she was badly injured, to struggling to keep a 5-8 month old puppy in anyway happy with strict crate rest, to freaking about amputation (risk, lack of knowledge, price, finding a willing vet etc), to getting it done and now the road to actual recovery…

I’m hugely excited for her, because she’s FINALLY gonna have her life back, but I’m understandably scared too. For the physical side and the mental side – she’s missed so much socialisation and was miserable for so long there’s no saying what kind of adult dog she will be, and this is a major concern and NOT something to be brushed off lightly.

I’m concerned about fears (from other dogs and animals to cars going past, loud noises etc) and anxious behaviours, and of course the physical side too – being a tripawd obvious puts more strain on the other limbs, although thankfully her small size should mean this isn’t as big an issue.

But the main thing is her life will be so much better. We just have to take the journey one literal step at a time!

And that’s my update. Now, bed awaits…

Tolly’s getting a wheelchair

So I’ve been crying non-stop these past few days. I’m hugely pissed at the vets, my heart is broken for Toller, and I knew that after the costs of her treatment thus far, we couldn’t afford ยฃ1500-2500 to amputate her leg.

So it was time to think up an alternative to improve her life.

And we discovered doggy wheelchairs!

For now we have ordered an extremely basic, standard (eg. not custom fit) front-wheeled cart that cost ยฃ70, and looks like this:

We’ll be trying that out whilst we wait to sort something for a custom cart. It’s due to arrive early next month.

Custom wheelchairs are incredibly expensive. We’re looking at ยฃ300-400 once we factor in custom builds and postage, especially as the one I keep getting directed to is based in America! If anyone wants to share or donate to Toller’s Go Fund Me, please do ๐Ÿ™‚

Help get Tolly walking and wheeling

Why a wheelchair?

So basically where the vet has left us now, according to them, Tolly is fully healed. They don’t even want to see her again unless “we’re concerned”…uh yeah, after seeing her walk yesterday I’m fucking concerned!!!!!

What happened to her making a full recovery and the injury not even being visible?! What happened to her being able to go on walks like a normal dog?? Now you’re saying that’s not going to happen?!

At this point Spud has enduredย eight weeks of crate rest, and guys that is just bullshit ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

She’s a completely different dog to before the accident; she’s miserable, she gets enjoyment from so little, and she’s anxious. It’s BULLSHIT. I’m so annoyed because Iย wanted to amputate that leg, but the vets persuaded me not to, they said it’d be fine…and it’s not.

With a wheelchair, she will be able to BE A DOG. She can run and exploreย immediately, no rehab, no worries about making her leg worse…the misery of crate rest will be over, and it’ll be SUCH an improvement on the vets proposed life of carrying and such limited walking.

I know she could have been happy as a tripawd, but with a wheelchair she can be a dog RIGHT NOW. No more rest, no more procedures. So that’s the way we’re going.

I’m exhausted and so stressed by all this, but I feel like we might have found a way to make my baby girl happy. Fingers crossed…

A ‘feel better’ walk

Awful day.

Finally managed to get out with the girls early evening (Toller being carried by my partner of course). Despite it being a sunny day the walk was really enjoyable, and I only had one seizure. Sasha alerted perfectly, and we sat out the way to recover – easy!

Had a really nice time…also if this isn’t the cutest photo ever, I don’t know what is. I love my partner so much ๐Ÿ™‚

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My girls and my love!

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We found a string of dead moles, which was grim. There are so many hunters in this area.

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Beautiful view

For anybody who hasn’t seen on IG, Toller’s vet appt was cancelled this week and pushed back until next Wednesday.

At this point I’m completely sick of our vets. From them constantly getting her name wrong and never finding her on the system (they have her registered as ‘Polly’, we’ve told them half a dozen times to change it…) to the disgraceful way they treated Toller and all the misinformation and lack of information at the time of her accident, I’m done.

Why am I paying these guys so much to look at her, when they’re getting everything wrong, don’t have a clue on her prognosis, and can’t even get her name right?! Hmmm…

Toller update – 2.5 weeks crate rest

I come bearing fantastic news…Spudder is doing GREAT ๐Ÿ˜€

She has done 2.5 weeks of crate rest (so this counts as week 3) and she has barely a limp!!!!

This is obviously more than we could EVER have hoped for, as the first two vets we saw said that even once fully recovered she would be lame, walking would hurt her etc.

The rewiring surgery that they pushed (hell, they were still pushing it as being crucial and trying to get us to put Tolly through it TWO DAYS AGO!) was only supposed to result in a little less lameness, and Tolly was still supposed to have a hugely significant limp.

Well guys, LOOK AT HER! ๐Ÿ™‚

The only time she walksย at all is to go to the toilet, as shown. Other than that she is crated (you may notice she is wearing her cone despite no splint, that is so she can’t turn around and move much in her crate!) or being held. And that’s it.

I’m so, SO,ย *so* pleased she is doing so well ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

The saga of the vets continues…

Oh vets!

The vet cancelled on us twice (well sort of, they did cancel once, and we thought they’d cancelled another time as they phoned us ahead of our appt. When we answered the phone nobody was talking and when we tried ringing back over the next hour their phone wasn’t working – hence we thought the system was down and they were trying to cancel again), we cancelled the first appt and then had to cancel yesterday’s thanks to me. It wasn’t safe to leave me and I wasn’t well enough to go out.

The vets have taken to calling us daily. When my bf answered today, they started with “we’re just really worried about Tolly and that she’s in pain!” My partner was confused.

“What…? She’s not in pain. If she were in pain, we’d have brought her in. She’s fine.”

The vet then goes on to ask if the splint is off, and say they’d want to take it off by now (well this was NEVER explained by you, you made it out she’d need the splint on a minimum of 6 weeks!!!), and asked if we’d checked her leg for sores.

Partner: “I phoned up about five days ago to say the splint was off, and of course there’s no sores, we’d know.”

The vet says again they’re just worried for her…and then it all came out.

THEY’VE BEEN SO DESPERATELY PHONING BECAUSE THEY JUST WANTED TO PUSH THE RE-WIRING SURGERY!!!

They then started talking about where we could do it, when we could do it etc…how it needed doing asap, Toller *needed* it doing to have any chance at recovery, blah blah blah. My partner was flabbergasted!

He calmly explained that we had no plans to put Toller through the re-wiring surgery, and that our research has shown not only is it a risky procedure, but it has a low rate of success and the chances of further procedures is extremely high. He finished by saying “we also had a second opinion from a different vet at your surgery who advised against the procedure for the same reasons as we’d found ourselves.”

Ugh. Not needed.

We’re going to call next week when the good vet is back from holiday, and will most likely go in to see her.