Summer Plans Change Again (This Time It’s The Dog)
Pre-Post Note/ What a horrible week! Last Wednesday I was just getting ready to write about our arrival in Cape D and my new solo volunteer job when THIS happened. The subsequent stress rendered me incapable of writing anything for a week. Call it superstition or just the way I handle these things, but I didn’t feel I could blog about it until *some* of the worst had passed. We’re not out of the woods yet, but at least the first few steps are done. Everyone is back home now and WheelingIt Summer Plan D is now in motion. Here’s the story….
The Day Before
I was just starting to feel like things were falling into place. Paul had gotten home early from Miami (exceeding all expectations), the cat had just passed her 3-week post diagnosis blood tests with flying colors and (again, exceeding all expectations), and we had just rolled into our favorite WA state park, escaping an unexpected 100-degree heat wave that was engulfing Portland. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Our first evening back on the coast I took a leisurely sunset hike to the beach. Not a single soul was around, and I savored both the solitude and the cool ocean breeze. As the last colors faded from red to a misty purple I released a deep sigh. Yes, this was good. I was at peace and looking forward to spending the next 4 weeks just relaxing and re-grouping in this soul-soothing place.
That night I had my first solid deep sleep in weeks.
The Sad Morning
The following morning dawned beautifully. Doggie could smell the beach and wagged her tail excitedly when I got out the leash.
“Let’s go check it out, girl!”.
We hiked over to the ocean, doggie pulling eagerly the whole way, and when we arrived on the cool sand I let her off the leash to explore. As she trotted happily away to sniff some seaweed I walked further down the cove to check out the lighthouse. A moment later it happened -> doggie let out a loud yelp and came running towards me on 3 legs, tail down and looking dejectedly sad. Her back left leg was raised and hung limp, and she was definitely hurting. “Make it better mom!”
My heart dropped. I knew enough doggie stuff to know what had happened. She’d just torn her ACL and not just partially, but likely the full way. This was bad, very bad.
Now you doggie folks out there who’ve had dogs tear their ACL’s know exactly how worrying and confusing all this can be. Dogs don’t really tear their ACLs from twisting movements or trauma like humans do. In the vast majority of cases it’s simply a genetic pre-disposition (a combo of tibial angle, joint development and other such things) multiplied by wear and tear over time. It’s one of the most common dog injuries and sometimes it happens without any warning whatsoever.
In Polly’s case we kind of knew this might happen one day. She’s a very active doggie and has been on/off limping for a while. Her last limp injury was many months ago and really wasn’t too bad. Even the vet we consulted with at the time (in New Mexico) thought it was minor, and couldn’t detect any kind of forward knee draw (= the classic test for torn ACLs).
So, we opted to treat her through Conservative Management which is basically a fancy term for forced rest and short walks, allowing the knee time to develop scar tissue and (hopefully) stabilize on it’s own. We strengthened the regime with supplements (specifically glucosamine and fish oil) and red light therapy (I bought a human-grade light therapy device, just for the dog!). There was no guarantee it would work, but there was a chance and that’s a risk we were willing to take.
Over the next few months she appeared to recover. Motion restored, no real limp and apart from occasional soreness she was doing well, really well. We honestly thought we’d completely kicked it.
Then this happened.
Some dogs do perfectly well long-term with Conservative Management. Some don’t. A lot depends on their activity level, state of the ligament and even the angle of their knee (dogs with larger tibial angles naturally put more stress on the ACL). Sometimes it’s just pure bad luck. We knew we *might* just be buying time with Polly, and we also knew that if the ACL ever totally ruptured, Conservative Management would be out and surgery would be our next best option. We hoped never to have to make that decision.
Sadly, we had now come to that point.
The Diagnosis & Options
The local vet in Long Beach, WA (Oceanside Animal Clinic) was wonderful. He saw Polly the same day, immediately diagnosed the ACL tear and talked through all the options.
As with anything health-related it’s never a clear-cut decision. There are several different types of knee surgery for dogs and very heated supporters of each type. Some types are considered better for smaller and less active dogs, some are better for larger, more active breeds, and then there is full gamut of opinions in-between.
Online research is helpful, to a point, but after a while you can enter analysis paralysis. EVERY surgery has risks (and associated horror stories) and the possibility that it might not turn out the way you expect, so if you research too much you can sometimes get so anxious that it becomes impossible to decide. Plus the recovery for ANY knee surgery is long and arduous. You’re looking at anywhere from 2 to 6 months, no matter what you do.
We weren’t looking forward to any of this, but having researched the options ahead of time (back when Polly had her first limp injury) we already knew we’d likely be going for something called a TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy). It’s quite a radical surgery where you essentially cut the bone, re-position the knee and screw everything together with a metal plate to heal. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart and requires skill to perform, but it’s considered the surgery which gives active dogs the best chance of full recovery. There are never any 100% guarantees of course, but it has a good track record.
“I can do slingshot surgery here, but it might not hold” the local vet told us honestly. “For Polly I’d actually recommend TPLO. I don’t do it myself, but I know the best surgeon in the country”
For a very bad situation, this was very good news. Half the battle with any surgery is finding “the guy/gal”, and with that I mean the surgeon who’s a leader in his/her field and who does this type of surgery all the time. Working with your hands is an finely-honed skill that requires constant use to maintain. I always knew that if I ever needed any kind of orthopedic surgery I would want to find a surgeon that specializes in just that. That’s what I wanted for Polly too!
What followed from here was a frenzy of research, indecision and (finally) action
The clinic (Sun Valley Animal Center) was in Sun Valley, Idaho, over 11 hours drive away. Not exactly close and hard for a dog who doesn’t like the car (not to mention the poor doggie parent who has to do the drive), but it was do-able. Since I was solo-volunteering, Paul could just take off whenever he wanted while I held down the fort here in WA. It would be 2-4 days of hell, and then it would be done.
We found out everything we could about the surgeon Dr.Randy Acker. We talked to him multiple times, checked reviews and basically just tried to get as comfortable as we could about both the procedure and the clinic.
Everything looked good. He learnt TPLO from the guy who invented it (Dr. Barclay Slocum in Eugene, OR, now passed away), teaches classes on the subject, engages in continued research on it and does this all the time. He’s personally done over 6,000 successful surgeries, uses specially-designed medical-grade plates, internal stitches (no doggie cone-of-shame needed!) and has a 95% success rate. We both felt he was “the guy”. Plus he could fit us in next week.
The only thing left was for us to make the final decision.
On Friday afternoon we took a long bike ride on the Discovery Trail into town. It was a beautiful day, the kind of fabulous, perfect Pacific Northwest summer day that makes you want to settle down and stay forever. We had a few beers overlooking the ocean, ate some tasty food and talked it through one last time. It’s always hard to make a decision for your pets, partially because they can’t speak for themselves and partially because the outcome is never 100% guaranteed. Is it better to do nothing and just live with a (most likely) permanently limpy, but otherwise perfectly healthy dog, or do you put her through a pretty serious surgery and give her a chance (albeit with some risk) to get back to her old self?
If you knew the final outcome ahead of time this would all be easy, right?
In the end, we decided on the latter. She’s a young, very fit, very active doggie and if we could give her the chance to chase squirrels again we wanted to do that. Plus no matter what we decided (even if we did nothing) we were looking at 2-6 months of recovery.
Paul left on Sunday morning and did the 11-hour drive in one day. Next morning doggie went in for diagnostics (bloodwork, X-Rays) and then surgery. By 1:30pm she was out of recovery, and Paul (the crazy fool that he is) did the 11-hour drive back that same day.
2 days, 22 hours of driving, $2600 of costs and it was done.
Paul and doggie had a horrible, long drive there and back, and I was a nervous, blubbering, pathetic wreck the entire time they were gone. But the experience was as good as it could be, given the circumstances. Dr. Acker was very personable & caring, the surgery itself went flawlessly, Polly came out of anesthesia rapidly, and everyone at the clinic was lovely. Still, I can’t deny I was relieved and thankful when they finally got back home safely. Phew!!!!
This latest twist has changed everything (once again) for our summer plans. For the moment Taggart (our kitty) is stable on her meds, so we’re focusing on doggie. Once Polly has gotten over the first few critical weeks of hard rest recovery, we want to put her into rehab therapy. We feel it’ll give her the best chance of regaining full function, and that’s well worth the effort and $$ for us.
So we’ll stay here while I finish my volunteer job and then for July/Aug we’re looking to find somewhere we can settle down and do that for her. Ideally we’d like a decent canine rehab place (offering hydrotherapy, light therapy etc.) somewhere that’s preferably not too hot (Coast? Mountains?), aaaand that’ll actually allow us to stay (in the very worst season for RV bookings, ugh!) for 2 months. Anyone got any good recommendations?
Long, long recovery ahead. We’ll keep you all posted and are crossing all fingers and paws that it goes well. Only time will tell….SPONSORED LINK:
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this blog post may be affiliate links, so, if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a commission. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. WheelingIt is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
So sorry to hear about Polly and hoping she will be well soon. Our fur family are such an integral part of our lives and when something like this happens it CAN be so stressful along with tough decisions to make. Thorough research obviously – that post was amazing! Our own fur family is no longer with us :-/ but we’ve seen a surgery or two along with palliative care and can certainly understand. Sending best wishes for speedy recovery and for you all to be back to your ‘normal’ (shall we say typical?) life soon.
Bob Martel says
I don’t know where you stand with respect to your summer travel plans but at one point
I think you were going to spend some time in Michigan. If that is still in your plans and you want/can do your doggie rehab here, you are most welcome to stay at our place (we have an RV pad with 50 amp electric, nearby water and 30 acres) near Ann Arbor, MI. Just send me an email (or FB PM) if this is of any interest to you. Bob
Wow…that’s an awesome offer and super nice of you!! We’ll do some more research on the rehab side and let you know, for sure.
Denise Taylor says
You have been through the wringer with pet problems. So glad to hear kitty is doing so well on her meds. You and Paul are the best parents. Poor Polly, so sorry to hear about her ACL but looks like you researched it well and found the best surgeon for her. Thanks for sharing all of your info. It is a long road to recovery but you will see to it that she has a successful recovery and she will be good as new! Hopefully things will calm down for you with no more problems! Give your sweet doggie a hug for us.
Yes, NO MORE PROBLEMS would be very much appreciated. I’m hoping this was #3 and the “run” of bad luck has come to an end for this summer. We’ll see….
Keith L. says
Always terrible to hear about Polly and her Torn ACL but really, really appreciate the detail of how you went through the process.
We have 3 Border Collies that we compete in Agility so Torn ACL’s are always our biggest fears.
Mya our 7 year old (and strongest competitor) has been through this once and our bill with Rehab was more like $4,600. After that we ended up getting health insurance for the dogs.
My current joke is the best preventive maintenance you can get for your dogs is to get health insurance. Because once you start paying for it they never seem to get hurt again 🙂
Glad to hear that Molly is Healing well!!
Funnily enough (or perhaps not so funnily) I was looking at pet health insurance the DAY before all this happened. In fact I’d just gotten 3-4 quotes and was trying to decide if we were going to move forward with any of them. Ah well…hindsight is 20-20 right?
My heart dropped when I heard my favorite doggie was hurting .. and I know this was super stressful on you guys to make the best possible decision for her. So tough. You guys have hearts of gold, and go above and beyond for your pawed tribe.
Sending you guys all sorts of positive vibes for a restful recovery, and getting Polly back out there chasing things and Taggert to good health.
And lots and lots of hugs and love.
Thank you my dear. Certainly appreciate the hugs and love. Hopefully doggie will be recovered and back to full form by the time we see you again.
Lew Quilici says
We went through the same surgery with our Husky “Boo” three plus years ago. Very anxious time and a lot of stress. The worst of it was over ten days after her surgery. That’s when she had her staples removed and we didn’t have to support her weight with a sling anymore.
Just take things slow and gradual with her over the next few months. Before you know it, she’ll be rasing around as always. Boo send’ her best to Polly.
Yup, these next few weeks are going to go by really slowly. Biggest issue (for us) is getting the dog in/out of the RV. She can’t do ANY steps or jumping so we’re having to carry her out and back in for each one of her potty breaks (3-4 times/day). It’s hard going!
Oh no! So very sorry to hear this—but how fortunate Polly is to have you and Paul as her health-care advocates. I can only imagine how stressful this has been for all of you. Glad to hear that the surgery went well—sending wishes for a speedy and complete recovery for Polly, and for you guys to find the perfect place to settle down for the summer. Have you considered returning to Portland? Although it can get hot, it’s also beautiful in the summer, and the mountains and coast aren’t too far away. When we’re in Portland, we stay at Pheasant Ridge RV Park, which is lovely and offers long-term sites for around $550 per month. (It’s a bit further away from where you usually stay but works well for us.)
Portland is one of the many options we’re looking at. We’re not real keen on the 100+ temps that they’ve been getting recently (and also got most of last summer), but they do have a lot of really good doggie rehab options. Cheers for the tip on the RV park.
Jaymalea Bray says
Don’t count on a monthly rate at Pheasant Ridge. They have a limited number of “monthly rate” spots, which are usually booked out a year in advance. You may stay for a month, but will most likely have to pay the weekly rate.
It is a nice park, and we were happy to have a spot there during our transition to full time last year.
There is the vet university/school in Corvallis. You might call and ask for a rehab referral. They do pretty complicated cases there and might have inside information on rehab or hab fancy stuff themselves.
I will email Rachel my vet and ask for the best rehab in OR or WA.
My personal opinion; I hated the Pheasant. When were there to check it out when our stick house was flooded, we weren’t allowed to check out the camp ground, they had a pet limit and a pet size limit.
We didn’t like it, it was too perfect you know? It was like they had cameras everywhere to see if you set a foot outside the path. They didn’t have cameras(I think) but that’s what it felt like.plus the made funny faces and rolled their eyes about my wheelchair.
I like a park where I can be myself. Rather not as fancy where they make no problem of out patio and are even helpful setting us up, than stuck up noses park that make us feel not welcome.
Judy Butterfield says
It would be a long haul but the beautiful Finger Lakes region of NYS has one of, if not the best, vet schools in the country at Cornell University. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have rehab facilities on site. There are lots of places to camp, things to do and see as well. Unless it is an unusal summer into fall it should be OK weather wise.
Best wishes for a full recovery Polly and a continued stable situation Taggart. Goodness knows you all deserve a break!!
Kris Sullivan says
The same thing happened to our dog Trotsky on a beach in California. We, too, were scared, but found an excellent vet-surgeon. This was almost 2 years ago and Trotsky is just super. He runs, etc. He was 10 when we had the surgery for him and there are no regrets whatsoever. The first 2 months were very difficult, using the sling, getting the complicated medicine routine right. We didn’t give him enough pain meds at the beginning. A symptom of that excessive pain was he paced on our bed. Yes, he still slept with us. I put on his harness and we strapped him to the bedpost (with some slack!) so he couldn’t jump off. To this day, we still strap him onto the bed at night since we don’t want him doing that long jump down nor trying to jump up. His other leg is at risk as you probably know. He is definitely back to normal, maybe it took 4-5 months. For us living in LA, it was a lot more expensive $5800 if that makes you feel better! I would be happy to correspond if you have any questions. It is at the most difficult time now for you so you have my sympathy!
Very good info, especially regarding the pain management. Polly is fully doped-up now, but we’ll be tapering off the prescribed pain meds over the next 4 days or so I’m definitely concerned for the period immediately following that. Great news that your baby is doing so well now.
If you want to look into Medical Cannabis for pain, the girl that make my tincture also makes tincture for dogs.
We used the glycerine tincture for my friends Border Collie who had an inoperable tumor and it gave her some good quality of life.
You don’t want her completely pain free as my doc always tells me, you might ignore it he says and want to do too much. But you want her comfortable.
Drop me an email if you want her address. She always talks about the pet first. It’s not like convential meds, one size does not fits all.
And for all who wants to know, no dogs and humans don’t get high from tincture. 🙂
That’s a great idea. I’m mostly worried about her being comfortable at night (to sleep). We’re definitely going to ramp down meds as prescribed, but I also don’t want her in so much pain that she’s pacing around and can’t rest. I’m going to let her guide me on that.
You certainly have had your share of jello lately! So glad to hear Polly is safe at home and on the mend. Here’s to a fast and full recovery.
So sorry for your dog, Polly, but sounds hopeful for a good recovery.
I also had a Lab with an ACL (didn’t end up needing surgery), but when he was older with arthritis I took him here in Portland, OR and it really helped him. He lived to be 17 years young!
Good tip, thanks!
Sonia & David says
So very sorry to hear about Polly’s torn ACL. Know you made the right decision for her. Time, plenty of love and affection and prayers will do the rest. Paul came home early and Taggart is responding to treatment. Polly’s had a great surgeon, has great and loving parents, all of which will aid in a quick recovery. Will keep you all in my prayers.
Glad the pup (and her humans!) came through surgery so well! I sent you an email with two great inexpensive places to stay on the way to the Great Lakes, because I know you’ll make it there some day. Hope they help!
Tears in my eyes reading this. I 100% support you decision and I am sure if sweet Polly could tell you she loves you for choosing to make her whole. Her joy is running and exploring and the greatest gift you could give to her is to give her the chance to do those things again. I wish Polly a full recovery !! Can’t wait to hear that she is walking on her own!!
Nina and Paul, so glad to hear that Pollubis doing well, we do all that we can for our four legged babies. We had similar incident last year where we end up going back to Portland for Bruce’s (our mini daschund) surgery to fix a fistula.
If you are looking for a place to stay, the Oregon City Clackamette RV park is looking for a host. They have closed the park last December due to the flooding from Willamette River. They have not re-opened it since they have not found a host. The park is right off the Wilamette River, electric and water hookup, but you have to dump your gray and black at a nearby dump station, which is just a few yards away. It is not the perfect one, but it is an option. It is very close to Portland and a Veterinary clinic . The contact number is 503-496-1201.
I hope this helps, and wishing Polly a speedy recovery.
Interesting option. Thanks VERY much for passing it along! We’ll add it to our list of possibilities.
Larry Worsham says
Oregon State University in Corvallis has a canine rehab center……no nothing about it but might be with looking at. http://oregonstate.edu/vetmed/hospital/clinical/sa-rehab
As your know Corvallis isn’t a bad area…………
Thanks! I actually found that center online last week and have already talked to them. They look like a good option (nice folks, have everything we’d want for Polly), but I am a little worried about spending July/Aug in that area…hot, hot, hot. They’re definitely in the running though.
Joan Austin says
And as an extra incentive, Corvallis has an awesome Grower’s Market!
Hmmm…that is a definite plus. We do love our farmers markets!!
Ruth Garside says
We had a yellow lab and she also had TPLO on both legs, 2 years apart. You are lucky with the price it was $4000 plus follow up x-rays and such. The surgery was very successful, the recovery, for us, was a real pain. Because she felt so much better it was very difficult to keep her down. We were at home during this and had baby gates everywhere. I did take her for physio which included swimming which was considered the best therapy. She also had lazer light therapy. But it is a 12 week complete recovery time. Meaning that although they appear ok you still have to keep them from running/jumping during that period. You did the right thing though. When we got our next dog, I immediately bought insurance !!!
Yeah, I think the hardest period of recovery will be when Polly starts to feel better. Right now she’s doped-up and hurting so we don’t have to worry too much, but as she starts to feel better I KNOW she’ll be wanting to do more…and way too early. We’re going to have to be really, really strict with the recovery plan. I’m also really, really hoping the other knee holds, but I know there’s a high chance we may need the same surgery on that one with the next 12-16 months. I think the statistics are 50% or so…pretty high.
Bless you guys. You are such great doggie parents. Sorry you have to go through this, but happy you are able to give and find such great care. Good luck with your summer plans, I’m sure you’ll make the best of it.
You two have been through the wringer with the shifting plans this year. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for Polly and that the cat continues to do well. I admire Paul’s willingness to drive 11 hours at a whack. That’s love.
It was honestly a crazy drive to do, especially in one go….and then he did the same drive again the very next day too!!! I can’t say I was too happy about it, but he powered thro’ and made it back. Poor guy is exhausted now.
P.S. It was lovely to meet you yesterday! I’m so glad we finally connected in person.
Susan Haney says
Sorry to hear about your animal’s health issues. Hope that both your kitty and doggie heal quickly and this new change of plans brings something wonderful in your life. Will be thinking of you all. Best wishes
Jane Johnsen says
canine rehab ideas –
I just read your post about Molly’s surgery. I found this site that lists recommended certified canine rehabilitation vets by state:
Below are just some examples of canine rehabilitation centers.
Washington State University Veterinary Hospital
Physical Rehabilitation. Lori Lutskas, Licensed Veterinary Technician, Neurology Rehabilitation, Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner; Dr. Stephanie Thomovsky, neurology clinical assistant professor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rehabilitation, Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (January 2013)
Jessica Bunch, DVM, CCRT
Port Angeles, WA
Nicole L. Wagnon, DVM, CCRT – http://www.bluemountainvet.com/services.html
Sonni Gilbert, DVM, CCRT – http://www.physiopaws.com/
Christin Finn, DVM, CVA, VSMT, CCRT – http://www.equisportmedicine.com/dog-physical-therapy.php
Broomfield or Englewood, CO
Canine Rehabilitation and Conditioning Group
Mickie Phillips, PT, CCRT
Jillian Gardner-Dammers, CVT, BS, CCRA
Abigail Smith, DVM, CCRT
Fort Collins, CO
Sandra Allweiler, DVM, DACVA, CVMA, CCRT
Felix Duerr, DVM, MS, DACVS-SA, DECVS, DACVSMR, CCRT
Juliette Hart, DVM, CCRT
Sasha Foster, MSPT, CCRT
Thanks. I found some of those online, but others are new. We will check them out.
Lusha Evans says
Washington State University is top notch. I worked at the state animal disease diagnostic laboratory there for 9 years. Great group of caring people there at the vet hospital. If you decide on WSU- please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have ANY questions about the area. I’m a life long local and crazy cat lady here to help 🙂
Jane Johnsen says
So sorry, I meant to type Polly, not Molly!
Furry Gnome says
Well good luck with Polly! The vary same thing happened to our dog about two months ago, and we went through the same process, aided by a daughter-in-law who is a Vet Tech and could get the inside advice on who was the best doc. Roxie ran madly around a circle in the garden and came out of it on three legs. The local vet recommended rest to see how it developed, while we investigated surgery. She was still on three legs after two weeks, so surgery it was. Same injury, similar surgery, same cost, and it’s been about 6 weeks now. Six very quiet weeks for Roxie, but she seems to be doing fine. Hope Polly does as well.
Love your blog, though I rarely leave comments. We’re not RVers, but love to read well written blogs about those who do. One thng I thank you for is putting the Oregon coast on our bucket list. Keep up with the great blogging, and good luck with Polly.
You guys definitely went through exactly the same thing. Very happy to hear Roxie is doing well now! Those first 6-10 weeks are tough, especially for an active doggie. Continued good healing to her!
Wow, you have had a rough stretch with the “kids”. Glad kitty is doing well and the pup’s surgery went well. Sending positive energy your way for a more quiet stretch.
Carol Landesman, phone: 503-663-7767 says
My yellow lab, Sunbear, had TPLO surgery with the master, Dr. Slocum, many years ago when Dr. Slocum was still alive. He was a wonderful man. We were allowed to watch the whole surgery through a glass window and help Sunbear through the anesthesia recovery. He did very well and it changed his whole life. He was able to hike, run, swim, play and live a very normal life. After he died, we got another Labrador who was diagnose with severe elbow dysplasia in both of his elbows at age 10 months. We consulted with surgeons in Portland, Oregon, and were told that if someone did not develop an elbow replacement device that actually worked by the time he was three or four years old, he would have to be put down from severe, unbearable pain and inability to walk. We took him to Dr. Bianca Shaw at Back on Track Veterinary Rehabilitation (503-546-8995). He went every week for the first four years and she helped him tremendously. Then, he jumped out of the back of my Suburban and chipped off pieces of bone in his left elbow and was now, severly lame and in terrible pain. Luckily, a couple of weeks before, we had heard about Dr. Randy Aker from a vet in Driggs, Idaho, who had done emergency surgery on our older Labrador’s stomach when we were RV vacationing nearby. That vet noticed our dog Gannett’s elbows when we were visiting our other dog in the hospital. He told us about Dr Aker and said that he was doing clinical trials on a new and finally, effective elbow replacement device. We thought, at the time, that Gannett was stable and would hopefully stay that way with his wonderful physical therapy, but we took the information just in case. Gannett ended up being the eight and youngest dog to have Dr.Aker’s elbow replacement surgery ( the Tate Elbow, named after Dr. Aker’s dog Tate, who suffered greatly with the same disorder). He had a few complications after surgery, but acupuncture and physical therapy saved the day. Dr. Aker actually came to our house a week later in Gresham, OR, when he was visiting his daughter, a student at the OSU Vet School, to check on him a week after his surgery. I tell you all of this because I know the agony you have to be going through and to tell you that in my opinion, you have done the right thing. Dr Aker is the best of the best. Gannett went to see him for follow-ups every summer as we traveled from Gresham to Wyoming on our yearly vacation. His whole staff is amazing. I’ve been through challenges like this far too many times with my dogs. I go all out to provide them with the best care possible, no matter what horrible diagnosis they might get. I can tell you that if you decide to come to the Portland area for Polly’s recovery, Dr. Bianca Shaw at Back on Track, and also Dr. Becky Jester, Natural Healing Veterianary Acupuncture (503-867-3857) are the best of the best. They both treated Gannett and several of my other dogs with other issues, with great success. If you would like to talk to me in person at greater length about my experiences with either of them, please email me or call me at the number listed nest to my name below. Recently I lost Gannett at age twelve to hemangiosarcoma. He was only given days to live last June when he was diagnosed and deathly ill. I refused to give up and did a nationwide search and found a canine cancer researcher in Pennsylvania who sent me an immune-type cancer protocol for him and he lived ten months instead of three or four days. I have learned so much from all of my challenges with my dogs. They have truly been the best teachers in my life. I love the saying from the film ” Tracks”: “the universe gave us three things to make life bearable: hope, jokes and dogs. But the greatest of these gifts was dogs”. You can see pictures of my dogs, if you are interested in seeing how healthy they look at my website, http://www.drcarollandesman.com. I wish you and Polly the very, very best. Know that you made the right choice, and please also know that your obviously deep and abiding love for her will be the best healing potion of all.
Thanks so much for the detailed comment! I’m so happy to hear you had a good experience with Dr.Acker. He actually told us about the elbow surgery that he pioneered back in the day. I was fascinated. Amazing that your doggie was one of the first 8 to have it! We do learn so very much from our furry family.
Bill Mevers says
What a fortuitous post!
My boy’s large dog is having the same problem. I know they have done a lot of research and talked to Doctors.
Your info and experience will certainly help in making their decision.
Your excellent writing and photos make RVing easier and more fun for many fellow travellers. We are very grateful for your sharing and I look forward each new email. Many, many thanks.
PS: My brother and I were born in Coral Gables, FL – before AC & DDT. He graduated BEE Uof F, I BCC Ga. Tech. I’m 81yo and Sheila and I sold our home and began fulltime (36″ Montana 5th wheel and F350) 6 years ago. Love it!
You know when I stop if you come across a white cross with a cowboy hat hanging on it!
Awww…poor doggie. It’s tough, and even more so with a large dog. Hope your boy finds a good solution and that his dog recovers well.
Sue Malone says
Oh, Nina! No wonder you couldn’t write. What an ordeal for all of you, and more to come. I have no clue about where to go, but hopefully all your loyal readers will have some ideas. Give yourself a big hug from both of us, and Paul and Polly as well. Sheesh!
Yeah, I’m the kind of person that just can’t write about stuff unless I’m feeling it. That works great for “real-time” travel blogging, but makes it more difficult when something happens or I fall behind. Cheers for the hugs!
Barbara - Me and My Dog, and My RV says
I’m so sorry this happened to Polly – such a beautiful girl and so active. She’s lucky to have parents who love her this much and are willing to do what it takes to get her back to her normal self again. I hope the rehab goes well. At least now you and Paul can take a deep breath and know the worst is over. Sending good thoughts your way. 🙂
When it rains, it pours 🙁 Sending healing wishes for Polly to have a speedy recovery. And recommend lots of extra beer for mom and dad!
Alison Erickson says
So sad to hear this – and I feel like I can relate as I am scheduled for knee replacements -one in July and one in October. Just a random thought popped in my head as to a somewhat cooler place that shouldn’t be overly crowded with RVers – Bellingham, Washington. Came across this: http://northshore-vet.com/services/physical-rehabilitation/ There are several RV parks just north of Bellingham and in Ferndale that get pretty good reviews that might not be fully booked for the summer. Best wishes to you two and Polly.
WOW what an ordeal all the way around…I feel so for all of you….You know if you decide on Pullman, WA we are right there if you need any additional help…give Polly a big hug for me as well as one for you and Paul.
I think you made the right decision as I expect you will for the future of all of your pets.
It’s a happy ending, yet my heart is broken. I imagine my two girls with a problem like that, and it’s more than I can handle.
I can’t deny I felt pretty low when I first heard that yelp and saw Polly limping towards me. It was heartbreaking to see my fit, active girl so hurt and it was scary knowing what was coming. It’s going to be a long recovery, but I really hope she can get back to running like she used to.
Marcia GB in MA says
Poor Polly! I hope she heals up well and quickly. And that you find just the right place for her rehab and to spend the summer. Plans do have a way of changing when we least expect it.
Bill Sitkin says
Bummer for you and the dog! Hope all goes well. Our dog is 9 and just starting to get arthritis. Our vet used cold laser treatment on her when our dog was having a hard time healing from a cancer removable operation. The laser treatment worked awesome so now we are thinking of getting one ourselves to treat her and us. I have researched a little on what is out there. What brand did you end up with?
Thanks for any advice
So we got a red light device, rather than a laser. It’s not as penetrative, so you probably won’t get as dramatic results as cold laser therapy, but we’ve been very happy with it nonetheless (we’ve used it on ourselves too). The one I got was a pen made by Tendlite, since it had the best online reviews I could find.
This exact model: Tendlite LED Pen
So sorry to hear about Polly….best wishes for a speedy recovery. Our Abby had TPLO surgery on both knees and ran like a puppy again (she was 10 at the time) after several months of healing.
So great to hear! The end point seems sooooo far away right now, but I know it’ll be here soon enough. It’s wonderful your doggie did so well.
I’m so sorry to hear about Polly! If we had known, we would have offered Paul & Polly a stopover in Boise….we’re not that far from I-84.
Wishes to your animals for a healthy recovery. Hope you & Paul are doing well also.
Paul was pretty determined to do the whole drive in one shot so I don’t think he would have stopped, but cheers for the offer.
Best of luck!! My three fur babies are so much part of who I am, as Polly is to you. Hate to see you all go through this.
Holy Moly!!! I am an RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician) and worked for a Boarded Veterinary Surgeon specializing in orthopedics (and ALSO worked with Dr. Slocum!!)… What a small world!!! You presented the material exactly as I would!! You are VERY informed about the things going on in your life! Excellent presentation!!! Good for you! I’m really very impressed at all the accurate information you dished out to the community. Thank you!
It IS a difficult decision! And I know you made the best choice for her! Definitely with her energy level she was a perfect candidate for the TPLO… Truly the BEST recovery is the quiet and confined first six weeks (minimum)…. which is always the hardest because they no longer have the pain and want to get up and get going!!
I love reading all your adventures! Hope you all start feeling a little more “normal” once the routine gets flowing.
Congratulations for getting through it all. And Good luck with the rest of the recovery!!
Very happy to hear I got it all mostly right 🙂 This was definitely a tough decision for us, but hopefully it’ll end up being the right one in the long term. So interesting that you worked with Dr. Slocum. What a small world indeed! Cheers for the comment.
We’ve only been full time for 6 months now but your blog has been one we’ve scoured for information and follow regularly. So sorry to hear about both pets- I don’t have any good recommendations for you regarding RV accommodations or rehab clinics.. What I do have is some information about a type of therapy you can check out. I am a massage therapist and specialize in Craniosacral Therapy, a modality that focuses on the nervous system. Most of the research you’ll find will be about humans but there have been studies and several people who’ve branched into working specifically with animals- dogs, cats, horses, dolphins (to name a few). I know you’re a researcher So I encourage you to check it out. http://Www.upledgerinstitute.com
Feel free to contact me as well.. Our doggie passed from the most aggressive form of lymphoma that the vet had ever seen- I worked with him through the last few days to make him comfortable.. I’ve worked with a handful of my clients’ pets as well for various reasons.
It won’t be a magic wand and make it all better right away but it will speed up the recovery process and help keep both Polly and Taggart at ease and relatively pain free.
Shoot! Correction in the website…
Very interesting! I will definitely read more. I’m an active believer in massage, acupressure and acupuncture all of which target the nervous system in some way. I’ve been giving Polly back massages for a while, but I’m always interested in learning more.
Nina – we’re headed into the Puget Sound region next week for our summer art shows / visit, our kitty will be going to her lifelong vet in Auburn for her annual check up.
Her vet was great when she experienced a broken pelvic bone and when she had trouble and a big limp in the recovery process, he recommended and helped us find a great vet who did acupuncture, I know it sounds strange, but we went from having a kitty who could barely walk after the break healed to one that is now active and leads us around on her leash!!
Be happy to ask him for a canine PT recommendation if that helps, he has a good network. About the only affordable place to stay in that area is the Puyallup fairgrounds, basically a large grass field with FHU at $25/night. Let me know if you want me to inquire.
Sure! Puget Sound could be nice. And I’m a big supporter of acupuncture. It was a practical life-saver for Paul when he hurt his back in 2012. Many of the doggie rehab centers offer it these days and we’ll definitely make use of it if we end up with a place that does.
Paul Silver says
Best wishes for full recovery of doggie. The xrays of the plate and screws look like the ones on my wrist after falling off a ladder in March while pruning a tree of some limbs damaged by winter storms. Ouchie! I am now doing physical therapy to regain range of motion on the wrist and arm. I hope doggie heals well and can soon be back to enjoying the adventures you take her on. Take good care and keep up the wonderful blogs on all your adventures.
You’re totally right. Much of the surgery they do in doggies is based off human surgery, so there’s tons of similarities. Sorry to hear you’re having to rehab your wrist after surgery (ouchie!). Hope it all goes smoothly for you, and you get full range if motion back.
Ronnie Rhyne says
Nina, I love the way you explain things. What great parents also.
Bayfield Bunch AL says
It is so difficult for we animal people when misfortune befalls our beloved pets. Hard for them not understanding what has happened and hard for us knowing exactly what has happened. I still remember when Polly & Pheebs first met and Pheebs had that big silly cone on her head. What must Polly have thought of that.
Good to see Polly in that photo not having to wear one of those things. All the best to you guys and Pheebs sends along a big get well ‘Woof’ for Polly:))
I still remember that meeting too LOL. Pheebes was soooo happy to meet Polly, but Polly was totally freaked out by the alien monster-headed dog that came running out of the house towards her. It was pretty darn funny. Their next meet, without the cone, went much better.
Gail Morris says
So sorry! When our babies hurt we hurt right a long with them. Hope the recovery goes well. I’m so glad kitty is doing better. Best wishes for your rehab search.
I’m sending Puppy Prayers. So glad you found the right vet to do the surgery. Maybe it would be good to do rehab at a location that has a vet school. That way all of his needs will be in one spot. I’d say come out here but Texas isn’t very pleasant in the summer. Surely there is a vet school in Montana or Wyoming. So sorry all this happened but hope your guy recovers without any glitches.
Diana and Jim says
Bless you two for taking care of your kids. Diana and I know exactly what you are feeling, as we would have done anything for our puppies.
As for the Ann Arbor offer.. I would seriously consider that one, if I were you. Great progressive town! If you can’t find rehab there, MSU has an amazing vet school an hour up the road. Grand Rapids is two hours away with an awesome beer scene…as is Kalamazoo. And Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state in the union!
The MI lighthouses are DEFINITELY calling our name. We are dying to see them!
Bob Martel says
The beer scene is Ann Arbor is none too shabby. In fact, I’d say that the Michigan beer scene is perhaps second only to Oregon’s. 🙂
Mmmmmm…..beeeeeeeer…..what were we talking about? Yup, the beer scene in MI is definitely calling to us too!
Jim and Gayle says
What a stressful time you’ve been having, first with the cat and now this. Glad everything went well with Polly’s surgery. I’m sure you’ll find a place to spend the rest of the summer for her to have rehab. Hope there is a really good brewery nearby 😉
A good brewery nearby will be a hard requirement LOL.
Not sure if anybody has mentioned OrthoPets in Colorado. Our dog partially tour her acl and we worked with them to get her a brace that helped her a great deal. She could go for walks again and enjoyed a full life and didn’t have surgery. Not sure if they do rehab or not, but great people to work with. Hoping for a speedy recovery for Polly!!!
Good tip! Thank you! I’ll add it to the list.
So sorry to read about Polly! Our little Queensland healer is super active and it is easy to imagine that exact scenario on the beach as you described it. While the healing and recovery will be challenging, she seems like a she has a resilient spirit… And with doggie dad and mom like you two, she’s bound to be her self again.
It’s a common injury for herder/heeler-type breeds. Unfortunately not much you can do to prevent it except keep your dog on low activity, and with a herder/heeler that’s almost impossible to do! Plus there’s the genetic component to it. Polly is a mixed breed so who knows what all genes are in there? Hopefully your doggie will never ever have to worry about any of this.
Sounds like the whole family has been slammed pretty hard. It’s good that Polly has come through the surgery successfully. Though my heart goes out to Paul with that insane drive!
Sending lots of heart-warming wishes for things to settle down for all of you!
I still can’t quite believe he did the whole 22-hour drive in 2 days. Crazy hubby! I don’t think I could have done that.
Diane Borcyckowski says
All I can say is that Polly is one lucky dog to have you as her loving parents! Blessings on the recovery process for both your “kids”.
We are wishing Polly a speedy recovery. We have followed your blog as we full timed for almost the past 2 years…it has been immensely helpful and we just stopped the road tour last week. Unfortunately, we lost one of our Golden’s on the road to an aggressive prostate cancer. Yet we were blessed to get the diagnosis when we stopped to visit family in Colorado Springs –where the specialty veterinarians are as common as bi-ped specialists. We choose the conservative route of pain management for our Buddy, but had options of specialized chemo locally, and the potential for surgery up in Denver. I cannot recommend a long term place to stay, as we were at the AF academy fam camp over the winter with our doggie hospice unit. However, if I had the mobility to go where the best quad-ped treatment was available- that area would be my first choice. Wishing Polly ( and the rest of y’all) all the best.
Aaron and Beth Jones says
I love Polly as if she was my own…I always share the photos of Polly on her long walks or glamor poses on a hiking trail or ocean side cliff with my wife. She was heart broken to hear of Polly’s health issues. We have only furry kids too and would spend all we had to make sure they had the best care possible. May Polly heal fast and get back to her old self soon! Good luck guys.
Thank you much for the support! She’s on day 3 post-op and looking pretty good so far. Very little bruising and no swelling, which is a definite testament to the skill of the surgeon. Plus her spirits are up. So, we’re hopeful. I’ll be updating everyone as we go along.
Tall Chief RV Resort in Fall City, Wa does take monthly renters. Great place! We stayed from Dec thru April.
Paradise Pet Lodge in Woodinville, Wa is the best! They have Massage and Hydrotherapy!
All the best for you and your pup!
Mike T says
Sorry to hear about Polly! We had the same experience with our Black Lab Kyoto and made the decision you did to have the TPO procedure 6 years ago. For the first year after her recovery I cringed every time she ran full out , but the procedure really works. You can tell that she favors the other leg to sit with but other than that you really can not tell that she had the surgery today. We have both of our Girls on Glucosamine which was recommended by our Vet. I really do not want to go through that again as it was hard on her, those sad eyes looking at me, not really understanding why she was going through that. But that is pet ownership and we must take the best care of them as we can. I’m looking forward to future pictures of Polly enjoying the trails again.
So happy to hear your doggie recovered well!! Yes, the lack of communication is one of the toughest parts of all this. Doggie really doesn’t understand why she’s hurt or why we’re putting her through any of this. Those sad doggie eyes are total heart-breakers! But doggies are also so incredibly resilient and adaptable. I was honestly amazed at how quickly she adapted to hopping on 3 legs when she originally got injured. I think there was one day of struggle and then the next day she figured it out and just hopped around with her tail up like “what’s the big deal?”. We can learn so much from our pets.
I’m so sorry to hear about Polly, but I wanted to share with you that we went through the same thing with our oldest dog, a blonde pit/boxer mix. At 7 years, she fully tore her ACL. She was very active, routinely running and swimming with me. We were absolutely devastated seeing her in pain and knowing that she may not ever be active and happy again. After we had the chance to clear our heads and do some research, we decided to go with surgery, and doc recommended TPLO. It took her only about 2 months to recover and her therapy involvedngradually going from light to moderate exercise over the course of the next 6-9 months. It was tough, but I wanted to let you know that it was absolutely worth it!! She was herself again in no time!
She is going to be 14 in July and she’s still very active. She’s been going camping with us regularly and is always ready to go for a hike or to play. People who meet her do not believe that she is 14 or has had a metal plate put in her leg. She doesn’t run for more than 5 minutes now, but she can still hike for several miles at a time and tire me out. We joke now that she has a bionic leg.
I can’t imagine not having the surgery done and getting her back to herself. It’s given her another 7 years of happiness for all of us! I hope you guys have a similar experience. Hang in there!
This is sooooo wonderful to hear! Your doggie sounds very much like ours -> very active, always outdoors. It’s really fabulous that she recovered so well!! And still going strong at 14! Love it!
I know this next 6 months will be a slow and difficult slog, but I’m hoping the same for Polly.
Jenny Waters says
Poor Polly. She looks soooo sad in that post op pic. But I’m sure she will be feeling better soon and it will be worth it. I hope things get better for you guys soon. I’m glad to hear that the cat is doing a bit better.
Yup, kitty is stable for now thank goodness. We still have to decide what we’re going to do about her thyroid long-term, but she’s ok on the meds for now.
So sorry to hear about Polly. This has to be hard on you all. But I have faith that she’ll recover. You are good fur parents. Best of luck with the rehab choice.
Caroline Beck says
John and I are glad to hear Polly came through surgery so well. She is one lucky puppy to have you and Paul caring for her till she is again running and playing as before.
How about Bend? We seem to get some 90F days here, but mostly 70 or 80F. We do have water therapy, acupuncture, PT for dogs here. We just adopted a 9 yr old 60 lb dog with both knees shot so our vet was talking to us about this. We took her to the river today for her first swim session to try to build up some leg strength.
We might be able to host you on our property here in Bend. Good luck!
Bend is a possibility for sure. We love the town (no doubt). I’ll definitely let you know!
So sorry to hear about Polly. But glad to hear she and Taggart are both doing okay. It seems if things are going to happen they hit all at once. I’ve found when things happen unexpectedly and throw a wrench into my carefully laid plan the unexpected ends up turning out better than my plan would have been. I hope your new plan ends up being better than Plan A, B, and C. Best of all you already have some plans set aside to be enjoyed at some later date.
I’m a firm believer in the power of positive thinking and embracing change.
Take good care of the fur babies.
So glad Polly, you and Paul are on the road to recovery. :))) No experience with ACL tears except in people but I do know we loved the Colorado Veterinarian School–probably not much cooler in summer than Portland though! Best wishes guys!
So glad that Polly has been in the best of care, both with her surgeon and with you two as her parents.
When Paul first asked me if Pipa had TPLO surgery on her ACLs, I was sure she had, because I’d recalled her surgeon mentioning it. Of course, I was also in my own state of denial, shock, fear, at that point, so my memory was obviously foggy. After reading your description above, I realized that Pipa had the slingshot surgery, as she had cat-gut like sutures, and not a metal plate. (insert face-palm!)
Should your travels bring you to Michigan, as you’d originally planned, we can highly recommend Pipa’s rehab doctor, Dr. Joyce Balnaves. She and her staff were top-notch! Here is the link to her practice. http://www.watergaitvetrehab.com/aboutUs.shtml
She is based in Allen Park, MI, which is a suburb of Detroit, but she also has a clinic in picturesque Dundee, which is about 30 minutes south of Ann Arbor. This is where Pipa went, and she had great therapy and recovery.
Continued well wishes for Polly’s recovery (and poochie smoochies!), and for your mental well-being, as her parents. Our hearts go out to you guys!
I figured Pipa had the slingshot when you described the surgery to me. Makes total sense for her size. If Polly was a tad smaller that probably would have been our choice too, but at 50lbs (and very physically active) we figured the TPLO made more sense for her. It can be a confusing choice. Cheers for the tips on rehab too!
bill zuelich says
Just a note…my dogs are the most important thing in my life…i understand what you are going through…my best prayers and wishes to you, paul, and polly….GOD’s speed to you all..
Check out the rehab possibilities at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. It’s an outstanding veterinary school and they may have rehab or recommendations!
Best of luck!
Wow what a spring for you guys.
My wife and I went thru this process with our Corgy Schnauzer mix “Toby” about 4 years ago.
The recovery was long and very difficult. He just wanted to be his usual self, not understanding his situation. So years later at 10 he is still tearing across the yard chasing his ball.
And the kitty…that is hard.
You are great animal parents.
Best wishes for an easier summer.
Great to hear your doggie did so well. The recovery is definitely difficult both for the dog (who doesn’t understand) and the human (who sooo wants doggie to be happy and active again). We’ll be plodding through it step by step.
Wow! I can’t think of any other reply here. You guys have had one thing after another this year. When it rains it pours, as they say. But I am hoping for you that all of this will come to pass ASAP and that you and the critters can all be back to full health and return to your normal selves and lifestyle. It’s good that you’re in the position and lifestyle that affords you these flexibilities to adapt as needs arise.
I wish I had an offer for the 2 months needed for the recovery you described but my current home barely allows me room for my own vehicles. If it were otherwise, you’d all be more than welcome. So I’ll keep you in my thoughts and hold best wishes for you.
Keep up the positive attitudes!
Lauren Brown says
Lordy! Your summer has sure been turned upside now with the health problems of your pets. I hope it won’t be necessary to develop Plan E for the rest of the summer! Good luck with both of your pets!
Yeah, we’re hoping Plan E doesn’t need to be made too LOL.
Ken & Jeannie Armstrong says
Our little 19 lb. terri-poo, Jacey, severed her right ACL while doing her impersonation of a flying squirrel off the back of a high couch! We had what I think you are referring to as “slingshot” surgery where they tied it off.
That was nearly 4 years ago when she was 9, and it lasted great for all this time (and no, she didn’t slow down much at all on the flying squirrel acts, or anything else). We had the laser treatments, and though there’s no way to tell if that actually helped or not, she did recover nicely and completely. Sadly, we lost our sweet Jacey last Saturday, but a painful leg wasn’t part of her physical problems. Wishing Polly a rapid and complete recovery!
Oh goodness. I’m so, so sorry for your loss. No matter how much time we have our doggies in our lives it is never enough. Their light shines bright, but so very short. My deepest condolences.
Like everyone else, I am SO sorry to hear about this sadness in your family but glad that you are clearly so on top of it and that you have such a wonderful following of people who have such great ideas and suggestions for you. That’s the best part of commenters. Wish I could add to it but they all know more than I do. I just send my thoughts and best energies to you both and to Polly. We know about doctors and hospitals and operations and meds and pain and well all of it. Take it easy easy is important to remember. Glad you have the freedom to go where the care is the best. That’s what we did too. A specialist is the bestest. A great thing about this life.
Mike Stanley says
Following up on Bob Martel’s offer of a place to park in Ann Arbor, MI: The Michigan State University Vet School is also top-notch. They offer a Rehab program. It’s about an hour from Ann Arbor to Lansing.
Wish I had some suggestions for you and Paul on where to do Polly’s rehab and where to spend the summer months. Given all the support you have I feel certain you will find a solution that will work for the entire family. Glad that the surgery is behind you and now your focus can be on getting Polly back to her active self.
Big hugs and much love to all three of you.
What an awful stretch of fur-kid illnesses. Happy to hear Polly has had surgery. I’ll tell you what that one photo of Polly after the surgery says it all. What a forlorn expression.
Take care of yourselves too. This is all very stressful for you!
Don’t know what I could add to all the comments, except of course adding my good wishes for all of you to have a quick and easy recovery! So sorry you’ve had such a stressful time, and at the same time grateful that you shared it with us after they were back home 🙂 Hugs to all.
Richard Cross says
Nina & Paul, best wishes for Polly’s recovery! I know you made the best decision from personal experience. Oh, I know I am not a dog… and an arthritic hip is not canine ACL… but I do know that living with pain is not preferable to surgery. My hip had been degenerating and I had stubbornly lived with the constant pain for four years. Standing, sitting, walking (hobbling really) was all getting to be impossible. Five weeks ago I had a hip replacement. The relief was immediate. My new titanium hip and I went for a walk later the same day (they made me use a walker). I went home on day 3 and was back to work at the winery on day 6. Day to day life was a joy again.
I choose to believe that Polly would tell you “Thank you! Mom!” if she could only type.
May her recovery be full and her future be full of squirrels.
Steve Espy says
Long time reader, first time commenting.
Our 18 month old Lab ‘Gladys’ had the TPLO procedure done on both knees at the same time. It was a challanging 12 weeks of recovery but 3 years later she is still going strong.
We did weekly water treadmill therapy, which seemed to help a lot.
But of luck to you and doggie…
Goodness!! BOTH knees at the SAME time!! I can’t even imagine how tough that would be. So happy to hear she’s doing well 3 years later. That’s very encouraging.
Laura Kosloff says
As soon as I saw the word (well the abbreviation) ACL, I went “ow.” Just went through that recently ourselves with our 7 yr old German Shepherd, Ming. He had the surgery last October and yes, we had 6 months of pain-in-the-you-know-what. We opted mostly for “self therapy” (is that a word?) due to the cost. We work at home so are around most of the day. Each day I took him out for his walks — starting at just a couple of minutes, then several days of 5 minutes, 2-3 times/day, then several days of 8-10 minutes, 2-3 times/day, and so on. It can be done if you follow through. I agree with comments above re Portland — that’s where we are, and there are several rehab possibilities if you decide to come this direction.
Ouch indeed! Very happy to hear your doggie came through it all well. Polly is on day 6 now and slowly starting to use her “new” leg. We’re keeping things very, very short with lots of rest. Once we get past the 2nd week we’ll start taking slightly longer walks (few more minutes) like you did. Slow and steady wins the race!
MonaLiza Lowe says
You are so fortunate to receive all the recommendations/suggestions and offers. All I can add is Polly is the best doggie I’ve ever met, and Im so glad she is mending now.
We all have challenges in life to go through and knowing you and Paul, both of you will ace this one.
Your solo volunteer job is a good distraction from all the chaos around you.
Wishing you and Paul the best, hang in there, and take care
It’s amazing all of the TPLO surgeries! We are in recovery for our Mastiff’s 2nd TPLO surgery in less than 1 year. She’s doing well, in our 3 month now of recovery for the 2nd surgery. She goes on short walks, and that has seemed to speed up the healing process this time. Last X-ray showed she’s 98% healed. I can tell she feels so much better- now to get to the 6 month mark so she can play again. Good luck to you- I think you made the best decision for your pup, but I understand what a pain in the you know what this is (too many months of sleeping on a couch for me!!). My best to you…
Argh! Two surgeries! That’s so tough. I know that may be in our future. They say there’s a 50-60% chance when one knee goes, the other goes within the year. My thoughts are with you…recovery is sooooo long. Hopefully your boy will be out and running again soon, and this time will become nothing but a distant memory.
I feel for you and Polly. Thought I would share a happy ending story with you. I had a dog that had the TPLO surgery. Like you I looked into rehap therapy. I couldn’t find a place that seemed good where I lived so the dog never had therapy. The dog recovered fast and lived another 5 years as a happy dog, running and jumping and never blew out the other ACL.
Craig Garvey says
We are on week nine post TPLO with one of our dogs now, he is doing well.
I feel for you, it’s tough to deal with.
Week 9… You’re almost there! Glad to hear your doggie is doing well.
Connie is amazing! Used her 15 years ago, then again 13 years ago for a “tune up on my big lab with bad hips. Can’t say enough about her. http://www.aquadogk9pt.com/about.html
And, Santa Cruz, Ca, would be nice area to summer in.
Hello Nina and Paul –
I have a dear friend that works part-time for a vet near Portland and she just recently let me know that the best pet rehab in the area is Back On Track. I noticed several other people commented on them, so wanted to add another recommendation from a vet. Also, she has mentioned that in addition to checking out hosting options, you can see if the ODFW (fish and wildlife) have any opportunities in the area. You’ve probably already solidified your jello plans for the next few months. Hope Polly’s recovery is going well and kitty is feeling better too.
Gary Wood says
I’ve not been online much the past few weeks and I just saw this post. I’m so sorry to hear this. I always worry about such things with my Aussie, Jagger. That’s why I have had pet insurance since I got him. I couldn’t afford a major surgery like that, so I pay a little as I go. I know it’s not the best, but I have friends that paid much more for procedures on their animals. One had a hip procedure done for over $5,000 and her dog only lived another year, passing from something else. I guess you never know.
I’m happy this worked out and your “doggie” is doing much better recovering.
Question: How did “doggie” negotiate the step into your coach?
We’ve been physically picking her up and carrying her in/out of the coach since the injury. Still have probably another few weeks of that before she can negotiate the step on her own.
Woefully late to this post (still catching up from beginning to end – and thanks for the fabulous travelogue!!!), but our Belgian Malinois, Daisy Dog, underwent TPLO surgery at around age 5, two days before Christmas 2005. Got her home on Christmas Eve. The day after Christmas, we found out that my husband’s National Guard unit was being called up for a year in Baghdad (he was 55 at the time and 90% VA disabled, bad shoulder, bad knees, sleep apnea, swallowing problems), and just as I was about to take on the presidency of a national trade association group. They sent Daisy home with no pain meds and, on Dec. 27, she had pulled out all of the staples and needed to go back to the vet surgery, 30 miles away, in a raging snowstorm. I made sure they gave me some doggie downers when I picked her up! It was a miserable recovery (and that wasn’t the least of the stress, I had been embroiled in a very stressful and in some ways hurtful political mess with our governor for the prior 6 months — no wrongdoing, just differences of opinion — I refused a call from the governor of our state on the last full day hubby and I had together before he started his deployment). I’m convinced that all the political, Baghdad and doggie stress led to my contracting uterine cancer the following year. (Thankfully, surgery and done.). A few years later, Daisy blew out her other knee, but not as badly and, as she was aging then, we figured it was an “old lady” limp, so by the time I got her back to the doggie surgery, the doc said they no longer do TPLO, the scar tissue had grown around it enough that it had stabilized, and to give her X mg per day (I think it was 1200) of EPA/DPA (fish oil fatty acids). Not sure it helped, but she had stolen a piece of raw tuna off the shelf one night long prior (after another (different) run-in I’d had with the governor, and I was so looking forward to a good meal, grrrr!), and she was a total whore for shrimp – cooked or raw-frozen, didn’t matter, so she tolerated the salmon-oil version of the EPA reasonably well. Sorry to bore you with my travails, which are thankfully long distant in the rear view mirror, but your philosophical musings have me waxing philosophical, and the whole TPLO thing brought back THE most stressful period of my life. Thanks for letting me “road sickness” it out. I hope Polly is enjoying Europe!!!
You’re actually bringing this right back for me too. Polly is starting to limp on her other leg (the non-TPLO leg) so we’re going back to the vet next week to have it checked out. Really hope we don’t need another TPLO, but you never know. She’s loving Europe otherwise 🙂