View Full Version : Rudy needs surgery,Mom needs support.

Pam Smith
4th July 2006, 01:26 AM
I am new to the forum and have only posted once. I really need advice and support. Rudy, my 18 month old Cavalier has luxating patellas and we have been watching them since Jan. and using supplements and exercise for muscle strengh. Anyway today's doctor visit presented me with needing surgery. He is almost a grade 1 in one leg and a heavy grade 2 leaning strongly to a three in the other. The vet said it is up to me as to when to do the surgery on the one leg. I am a high school teacher and am out for the summer and would be free to care for him now. If I wait until the end of August when school starts I am very tied down and not free to run to the vet that is 60 miles away. I hate dreading the surgery and would really like to get it done. The only thing that holds me back is during the school year my three dogs are crated and my husband lets them out for an hour when he comes home, then I am home by 3:30 and they are out until the the next morning. During the summer I stay at home and they aren't crated however they stay in one place and sleep all day as if I were at school. Anyway I wonder if Rudy would freak out being crated with the others free. The vet might agree to letting me put him in an small x-pen and I could put a low sitting chair in there to be with him while I am working on the internet or watching TV. My vet is very strict and says a big part of the healing has to do with me following instructions and keeping him still. Those of you that have faced similar situations with having surgery and other dogs around please advise. Rudy is a very senitive dog and whines when we he feels anxious. I worry what the isolation will do to him. Also he does sleep in the bed with us and the vet says that is a no no for a while. I think it is going to be harder on me than him. If anyone has thoughts on the best time for the surgery and anything else please respond. I have had two sons go through many issues, grow up, marry and I have children, but when it comes to my dogs I can easily lose it. My husband and I feel they are such a precious gifts and so dependent on us.
Thank you for letting me share,
Pam Smith

4th July 2006, 01:51 AM

It sounds like you have a lot on your plate. I can tell you about my experience and maybe it will be helpful. I can't speak specifically about the patella condition though. However, if the vet thinks your dog will be better off with the surgery, it is probably a good thing.

I think it would be better for both you & your pet to do the surgery while you are home for the summer. I think you will be able to watch over your little one better, than if you are at work and worrying about him, come this fall. He will be comforted by your being close by. It surely will be a big adjustment for him, but one that will be eased by your being home.

I have 3 cavaliers and one of them had juvenille cataracts. The eye vet watched it progress for a year and she recommended that it was time for surgery. I just got my third dog and 3 weeks later, my one dog (Pippin) went in for eye surgery on both eyes. My new dog, hadn't even adjusted to the family yet. But it all worked out.

I was able to get a routine going and the 2 other dogs, did not interfere with the recoving dog. I feed the 2 healthy dogs in their crates and that was my time to give Pip his medications and food. He had an e-collar on his head too, so I had to take extra time to get him to go to the bathroom outside. The other 2 dogs were very gentle with my sick pooch.

He also is very timid and I took off of work to nurse him through his recovery. He needed eye drops every 4 hours and he had 6 different medications to take after the operation. It is only 3 weeks after the surgery now and his eyes look great. Pip is now so happy to see again. He is really on the mend.

Anyway, what I am getting at is, you will find that once you move forward with this, you will get your rhythm with all the dogs. They learn quickly to the new routine. AND it is probably the best thing for your dog that is ill. For my dog, it is the first time he has been able to see clearly, since he was a puppy.

The vet said the same to me, that he did to you. The most important part is for you as the pet owner, to do the follow-up post operative instructions correctly and you'll get your dog through this with flying colors.

Let us know what you decide and we'll support you and help you through it.

Cathy T
4th July 2006, 04:39 AM
Yep to everything Charleen said! If surgery is recommended it's best to go ahead and do it. Shelby had it done Nov 04, although we had a bit of a rocky time...1st surgery didn't hold (it 92% effective) and had to have it redone. But it all worked out and she's great now. You pretty much have to do what's best for them. I always tell my guys...you may not like it, but you have to do it. Once you get a routine going they will adapt and get used to it.

Feel free to ask questions...several of us have been through this surgery. The most important thing is the follow the directions to the letter for recovery to be successful.

4th July 2006, 10:08 AM
Hi Pam,
My dog had surgery 6.5 weeks ago and it sounds like your dog has pretty much the same grade in her leg.

My advice is to go ahead with it now. We had to work and crated Daisy Boo in the bedroom while we were gone and it was very lonely for her. Also, it stops you from having to worry if he is going crazy in the crate while you are out. After a couple of weeks Daisy Boo was able to come into the bed with us - we tied a lead around the headboard so she could not jump off.

I won't lie to you, and I'm sure everyone would agree, that it is not easy. Thinking about it will prolong the agony so you should just go ahead and do it.


4th July 2006, 01:30 PM
I don't have much advice for you other than keep a very open dialogue with your vet - if you're planning to do the xpen thing, make sure she knows about it and believes it is a good idea. Also, follow your vet's guidance 100% - no cheating - because you wouldn't want to accidentally make things worse and have to spend even MORE time and money and pain for the puppy at vet visits/surgeries, etc.

Other than that, I'm offering you some support - best of luck to you and Rudy. I'm sure everything will turn out for the best! :flwr:

4th July 2006, 02:57 PM
Hi Pam,

Poor Rudy & poor you too. If it were me I'd get the surgery done ASAP. There are ways and means of keeping them quiet and the other dogs do seem to understand and accomodate - they are an extremely intelligent breed after all ;)

Whilst we haven't had to go through surgery with Maxx, he's not supposed to jump onto high things like our bed as he has SM and a problem with one of the discs in his neck. I solved this problem by making him a bed on either side of our bed.

I bought a single duvet and cut it in half then sewed up the tatty ends on the sewing machine. I then bought some material and sewed up two cases with zips in and put one on either side of the bed. Maxx rarely tries to get on the bed now but will wait patiently in the morning for someone to lift him up for a cuddle and then lift him down again.

This is Charlie making use of one of Maxx's beds......

http://snap21.photobox.co.uk/20160942403b9efbc43ed4ee87a553a1c42d46dcc352fb268f 5e159b.jpg

Cathy Moon
5th July 2006, 12:10 PM
Hi Pam,

My cavalier, India had knee surgery at the same age as Rudy and the same grade of luxation. Our vet let us use both a crate and an x-pen for her. So we set up the x-pen next in the living room and the crate in a central area where she could see into the kitchen, dining room and living room. We used the metal crate and x-pen so she had good visibility - that helped her to not feel left out.

I would get the surgery done while you're off work. I took one week vacation right after her surgery, and then my husband and I took turns coming home at lunch time to take her outside.

Expect Rudy to have tantrums - standing on hind legs scratching x-pen with front paws with lots of barking and whining! I think it's unavoidable. But there are ways to keep them occupied - bully sticks, practicing a little obedience (sit, down), providing new toys, or interesting things to sniff.

You could start now by giving Rudy a treat in the crate or x-pen, and letting him chew his bones or bully sticks in there.

As far as at night, I slept on the sofa next to her crate for the entire 8-9 weeks. That may seem a little extreme, but I didn't want anything to happen to her that would undo the surgery!

One more thing, I would not put a chair in your x-pen because Rudy might try to jump on/off it, and that would be very bad for him. I used to get in the x-pen with India (on the floor) to give her belly rubs and watch TV.

Hope this helps! Feel free to PM if you need anything. :flwr:

Cathy Moon
5th July 2006, 12:17 PM
Forgot to say: I used a 36 inch x-pen, since India once jumped out of a 24 inch one when she was a pup.

If you can, get the thickest orthopedic foam pad you can afford for the crate - India chose that to sleep on at night and during part of the day; I could tell she was more comfortable on it than a dog bed.

Cathy Moon
5th July 2006, 12:19 PM
Forgot to say: I used a 36 inch x-pen, since India once jumped out of a 24 inch one when she was a pup.

If you can, get the thickest orthopedic foam pad you can afford for the crate - India chose that to sleep on at night and during part of the day; I could tell she was more comfortable on it than a dog bed.

5th July 2006, 02:26 PM
Zola had her's done in November and February and is almost fully recovered now. It was well worth it as I couldn't imagine her suffering for the rest of her life and not to mention that leaving it unchecked would have increased her suffering from arthritis also. I can't offer anything other than the advice given here, which is to follow the instructions of the vet, keep the dog as quiet as possible and to try and look at it as a short term discomfort now in exchange for long term discomfort for the rest of the dog's life.

Pam Smith
5th July 2006, 05:37 PM
I really appreciate all the response, this is exactly what I needed to move forward and think positive about the surgery. Knowing others have come through and are on the other side with success is so comforting. Only another true dog lover would understand the anxiety I am feeling right now. These responses will be available for me to reread when I am feeling unsure and fearful about the pocedure. I called and made an appointment for the start of the procedure nest week and the surgery could possibly be done on next Thursday. A thanks to everyone for taking the time to share, it means so much!

5th July 2006, 07:25 PM
That's what we're here for, Pam. Come in anytime and vent or ask for support - we all need somewhere like this - good 'old' Karlin for setting it up - it's the happiest Cavalier forum I have found. All the others are very clique and bitchy :( :roll:

5th July 2006, 11:45 PM
pam--i just want to say i relate to your strong emotional reaction. as you say, they're so dependent on us and there are so many judgement calls, especially when what's going on is mysterious and ambiguous. i have a full time job too and when zack has been sick, it's very hard to go to work, i just wish so much i could stay home on those days, it's very hard to leave the house. it's stressful and sad.

and i'd rather be home all day with a sick dog than to come home at the end of a long hard day to a sick dog.

judging from Joanna's reports on DaisyBoo's recent patella surgery, she doesn't have to make very many trips to the vet about it, no complications, appointments are weeks apart. Still, i sympathize with you to be 60 miles from your vet, that's far.

if it was me, i'd definitely do something like this during vacation, maybe more for myself than for the dog who might just sleep all day. the challenges of keeping a dog in a crate all the time are hard. But it may be better for Rudy that he's already used to being in a crate for long periods.

The other dogs running free may or may not cause him to be very upset. Probably at least in the beginning, he will know that he is injured and will accept taking it easy, so during that phase you can integrate the situation into the family routine.

i like cathy moon's idea of feeding and spending time with him in a crate or pen before the surgery, start getting him used to it and giving him some positive experiences with it before hand. bully sticks, booda bones, compressed hooves, edible nylabones--things that take a long time to chew up, have a big supply of those.

and hang in there and get through it. keep in touch.. :d*g: :xfngr: :paw:

6th July 2006, 10:24 AM
You've made the right decision Pam. Thinking about having to do it is the hardest part. I was lucky on that score because I went to the hospital without any intention of leaving Daisy Boo there because I honestly thought it was only a grade one. However, the diagnosis was pretty similar to yours and they took her from me there and then. That was eight weeks ago today and this morning she was trotting around the back garden!

You will have to crate him fot the 6 weeks. We had a checkup after three weeks and an xray after 7. We had one visit to our local vet after ten days to remove the stitches. He will have to be kept on the lead at all times for toilet breaks. I kept the lead on also when we were on the couch just in case she tried to make a run for it.

There will be a couple of escape attempts so you have to be vigilent. Daisy Boo made a run for it but only made it as far as her bed. I think that's what she missed most - it's like returning home after a long holiday, nothing like your own bed.

We had her on lead to go outside up until last night. The back door was open and she sauntered out and was very calm. I am letting her have the back garden to herself at the moment because if both of them go out I can't control them.

It's hard work but worth it in the end - Good luck :flwr: