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 😀

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Anyway, 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 £90+, that’s pretty incredible 🙂

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 is completely off pain meds, has had her stitches out, and over the next few weeks will be built up to full-size walks 😀

*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 😀

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 🙂

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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 😉 ).

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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  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 £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.

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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 🙂

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…