4 days after amputation: first walk!

Oh guys.

Toller had her first walk today, and it was amazing.

Every action, you could just see the joy. She sniffed EVERYTHING!! She was so intrigued and happy to be out in the world again and walking, it was amazing. She was sniffing, springing, playing, pulling up flowers…it was so darn cute.

She was SO HAPPY. It was truly wonderful to see 🙂

Can you imagine if the first vets had agreed to amputation immediately? She would have been walking less than a week after the accident, as oppose to eleven weeks after 😦 Still, at least it got done, and she’s LOVING IT!!

We were saying today, we’ve not seen her trip once since tripawd life haha!

She got to see our friend today who was over visiting Mojo, and he was *amazed* at how skilled she is walking. Next time he’s over, in about a week, we’ll do a 5 minute walk with her 🙂

Anyway, this is what you’ve all been waiting for – a video of her entire walk!

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 😉 ).

poorlytolly4

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  below

wheelchair4

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 £70 front wheeled cart whilst we saved the £580 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.

preop

Eeesh, that poor foot!!

preop1

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 🙂

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 🙂 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 🙂 ❤

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…

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.

Please share Spud’s Go Fund Me!

If you can splatter this link anywhere and everywhere that would be really helpful:

https://www.gofundme.com/rescue-puppy-needs-leg-amputated

In a couple hours we have a vet appt to have Toller re-splinted, but we will not be discussing amputation then as we don’t know which vet it will be. The whole treatment from the vet has been just awful; we found out on the receipt they charged a £38 consultation fee for when we went to collect Tolly – the vet gave us no aftercare advice, didn’t tell us what to do next, and simply said “the other vet explained everything to you, didn’t she?”

We were totally unaware that counted as a consultation, and the fact they charged us £38 for it is beyond disgusting. 

My partner is going to discuss this with them later, and we will be asking to talk to our vet via phone to bring up the possibility of amputation.

We are also going to be calling other vets in our area, along with rescues in case they can help set up an emergency fund that more people will see, and we’re going to try find a teaching hospital as sometimes they apparently charge less for operations.

I’ve done a lot of research on amputation and have found an amazing resource of a ‘tripod’ (3 legged) pet forum.

There are several owners whose dogs suffered a similar injury and, like Tolly, their vets tried to repair the limb.

One person’s dog was fine for two years but then developed severe end-stage arthritis. This meant they needed an elbow replacement (she brought up amputation then and the vet refused), the elbow replacement led to a chronic infection, and then finally the leg was amputated. The dog is pain free now.

And another person’s dog had a similar break to Tolly which was allowed to heal, and again the dog needed amputation a few years later and had been living with pain for suspected all that time.

I’ve written out loads of info and questions for the vet (they are so gonna hate us…) asking all sorts. One thing we *need* to know is a) what is the prognosis with the surgery where they wire her bones, and b) what are the chances of repeat procedures.

The vets haven’t mentioned that to us AT ALL, we had no idea that there was even a possibility of a repeat procedure. Every person I have spoken to who has experience with this (including a vet nurse) has warned me that complications and repeat procedures run extremely high with an injury like this. The vets told us nothing.

I find this absolutely shameful.

The only thing they have said about this procedure, and that was done over the phone, was that “hopefully” it will help Tolly heal better than a splint would. Hopefully. And that she would still be lame afterwards, but ‘probably’ not as much as if we just used splints.

That is not good enough. For a surgery that would cost £1200-1600 and that is extremely invasive with a long recovery time, that is not good enough.

There are many reasons why amputation would be a better choice, but vets seem to be against this because it seems so drastic. My reasons are:

  • Amputation completely gets rid of the need for further repairing surgeries for the leg
  • Unlike either of the other two options, Tolly would be able to walk (without pain) and would be able to go on walks, interact with calm and similarly sized dogs, etc. She would get to be a dog much more than having a fourth lame, painful leg.
  • Although amputation is a huge procedure obviously, recovery tends to be faster and easier and the dog tends to bounce back and adjust very well

Please please continue to share Tolly’s fund and I will keep you as updated as possible.

The wait is killing me

We were so happy after dropping Toller off.

She was GREAT at the vets and was so happy to see the staff. The vet was amazing with her and it was just going really well…the vet suspected a tiny bone fracture in her foot, a broken toe or bad tissue damage, and said she didn’t even really need to do an x-ray, but we said she might as well to be sure what we were dealing with.

Leaving Tolly was fine as she was just giving the vet kisses and wagging her tail, and we would phone at lunch time to see how it went and go pick her up, wearing a cast or a splint.

Then they phoned us just before 12pm and Tolly has TWO broken bones in her foot!!!!

And her bones are quite far apart at the break so she might need surgery to put a pin in 😥

Our vet has sent the x-rays off to a bone specialist so we’re waiting to hear back from them which “might be a few hours”, and I want nothing more than to go sit with Tolly and just make sure she’s being looked after and not on her own, but the vet said there’s no need. So we’re just waiting.

And I’m so scared and I just want my littlest one in my arms 😥

Uuuuuuugh.

God bless that little puppy. I just want to be with her. Sitting at home and waiting and fretting and fretting and waiting isn’t doing any of us any good.

Bad news :(

Just got back from the vet appt. This is going to be very hard to write.

We saw our vet and she was absolutely amazing, Enzo did fantastic. The vet was so, so lovely with him. She really is a wonderful vet.

We left Enzo in the carrier while I explained what we’d noticed and what our concerns were – when we mentioned Plectus something-or-other she originally said it was unlikely as it’s so rare.

She got Kitty Snip out the carrier and did an initial examination, exclaiming over the fact he was so small. She said his gums were getting oxygen fine, which was good, and everything else seemed good. He had good condition which meant he was eating well.

She then checked his heartbeat, and said that a normal number would be 30 per minute, but Enzo’s was 120.

After that she lifted him and looked at his chest, and was really shocked. She said she had never seen an indentation like that, and that she had never seen the PE thing because it is so rare, but from what they were taught it was very severe.

She said the next point of call would be an x-ray which would need to be done very soon, but that because he’s so small (they had 5 weeks old kittens at the surgery that were the same size as him) it was extremely high risk – they normally wait until kittens are 4 months old for an x-ray.

She said after the x-ray they would have to refer him to a cat specialist surgery, as none of their vets were trained to a high enough standard to treat PE. She said “I’m going to be totally honest here” and said that treatment would cost in the thousands (not taking into account any complications), and that if he survived treatment (as it is extremely high risk) there is no saying his prognosis will have improved.

She said his lungs could be affected for life, his lifespan could be drastically reduced, and any illness such as a common cold would be extremely serious with him.

We asked her, honestly, what her thoughts were, and she said to get in touch with the previous home, as they might take him back, talk with their vet etc.

We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

My partner has said that if Enzo leaves us, we can get another kitten. He really wants another kitten because he has loved having a cat so much, and he’s reassuring himself that way…but I can’t imagine having a kitten that isn’t Enzo 😥

He’s the perfect cat…

I’m sitting here and I can’t imagine not having a kitten, because it has honestly changed my life. But then I look to Enzo, who’s sleeping right by my side, and I can’t imagine coming up here and having a different kitten greeting me at the door 😦

We got back from the vets and within 20 minutes he was climbing on my lap, purring away. I feel terrible. Should we be doing this high risk stuff…I don’t think we should. We could fundraise for money, I’m sure we could, but I can’t put Enzo through that for something that most likely won’t help.

I can’t let him go…

I don’t know I don’t know.

Waiting to hear back from his previous home…

Not yet neutered

**please note I am not arguing for / against neutering dogs in this post, I understand that is a personal decision and one for the dog’s owner to make. This is just my personal opinion, plan for what we will do with Raiden, and info I have found**

I am coming clean about something: Raiden is 8 months old and has not been neutered.

I have always been a believer of the whole “neuter your pets as young as possible” phenomen.

We had Zoey spayed at 7 months, and had planned to get her spayed at six months but then Kasper cut his artery and we had to wait an extra month.

Having Zoey spayed was a very traumatic experience for us all and, because I would want a future female dog spayed due to pyometra, I would not want to get a female puppy and go through it again – this means either all male dogs for me, or adopting an older female in the future.

With Raiden the plan was always to get him neutered at six months old…

but after doing a ton of research, we have opted to leave it longer – I’m sure some of you are already thinking how irresponsible this is, but remember this is my personal opinion, my personal choice, and Raiden will not be impregnating any female dogs!!

So why don’t I want him neutered?

Well, because I have been told by many other very good, responsible dog owners, that neutering a dog before they are fully grown and emotionally mature can be damaging to them, and removes a lot of important hormones.

Testosterone for example is important for a dog’s confidence…most people get their male dogs neutered at around 6 months old, right when they’re coming into adolescence. It doesn’t seem wise, to me, to neuter a dog and remove such an important hormone around the age where they can become more fearful of the world anyway.

I have also read from many, many sites written by behaviourists AND veterinarians that neutering (especially early neutering) is not only not needed, but can be dangerous to the dog’s health.

Every vet I have spoken to in person has pushed neutering; I have been told it is something that ALL responsible dog owners MUST do, and that the sooner the better – our current vet wanted to neuter Raiden at five months for example.

Raiden at five months was very much still a baby & had a lot of growing left to do!

Why are they advising this if it might not be good for the dog? Is it because all they have been taught is that early neutering is best?

Every vet I have spoken with also advocates yearly vaccinations, and there is now a fair amount of evidence to show that this could be bad for our dogs too.

Anyway, the articles I read OUTSIDE OF information provided by most rescue centres & veterinary surgeries almost all said that it is best to wait for neutering, and even that not neutering a dog at all can be a good choice, depending on the owner.

It seems to me that rescues and vets like to constantly bombard dog owners with reasons why you MUST neuter you dog (it *will* live a healthier life, it *will* get cancer if you don’t neuter etc), whereas sites suggesting holding off neutering tend to list more facts, studies and most admit it is a tough decision to make.

In my opinion I am a responsible enough owner to do monitor and manage Raiden, to make sure he doesn’t impregnate a dog. And to me the benefits of waiting to neuter a dog (or leaving them intact) outweigh the risks of neutering them early. Again, this is all my personal opinion.

So what is our plan with Raiden?

Well, we have two options we are considering:

  1. Ask around vets to see if they can perform a vasectomy.

    Raiden keeps his balls and still gets all the benefits, but he can’t impregnate a female – although I think this wouldn’t ever be a problem, it would be nice to have it be an impossibility, and when we get the inevitable person calling us “disgusting” for not neutering him, it would be nice to say “oh he’s had a vasectomy”. It’s also a much easier procedure than neutering, and recovery time is shorter.

    The negative is that it seems virtually no vets are taught how to do this procedure, because the push is obviously for removing the testicles. 

  2. Put off neutering until Raiden is fully mature, both physically and emotionally. The very earliest I would feel comfortable neutering him would be 12-18 months old. At that point we could ask ourselves ‘do we want to neuter him, or do we think we are happy living with him intact?’

This is a good article that describes quite how much of a confusing situation this is to be in!

If you are going through this situation yourself, some things to look up include:

  • the rate of cancers in neutered / intact dogs
  • the affect on growth plates & joint problems, eg. hip dysplasia
  • fear / anxiety problems in neutered dogs
  • future issues caused by neutering (especially early neutering) eg. females not being able to hold their bladder, ‘doggy alzheimers’ etc

Sites with info FOR neutering:

ASPCA

Blue Cross

RSPCA

Vet surgery

Sites with info AGAINST neutering / early neutering:

Whole Dog Journal

Dogs Naturally

Vasectomy over neuter

Angry Vet
Angry Vet again

Spay & Neuter Controversy

Dogs Naturally – vasectomy info

Don’t neuter you dog – YET!

Extra reads:

Long term effects of neutering

Dog forum discussion

Forum discussion with differing opinions

So…as you can see, the whole neuter argument is very confusing.

I was once all for neutering at six months old, but after putting in so much time researching it, I have changed positions. Now I will be waiting until my male dog is at the very least 12 months old, and I will be taking on the responsibility to make sure he doesn’t add to the huge issue of overpopulation.

I really don’t think there is a ‘right’ answer, certainly not 100%, but I feel it’s really important to research this yourself as a dog owner and form your own opinion.

I can absolutely understand those who are all for neutering (what a fantastic cause, to make sure ‘oops’ litters don’t happen and more dogs aren’t added to the world and thus the rescues!)…but for me, I think I am responsible enough to manage an intact dog, and I think it is healthier for Raiden.

Other people might disagree, and that is fine. It is about what you feel is best.

I have put a lot of effort into researching both neutering and vaccinations. Everything I do is what *I believe* is right for my dogs, and I know all you other pup parents are the same 🙂