View Full Version : POST-OP Advise and Preperations

19th February 2013, 05:38 PM
Hello Everyone,
So we have made the decision to go forward with the surgery for our little Melvin. However, I have never had an experience with surgery (other than neutering or spaying) and I feel a little out of my element. I was hoping all of you might share some of your experiences with me.
What I have been doing:
I have been busy at work making lots of fleece blankets so they will have a chance to be "broken in" and smell like home. I am also making a bed that fits his crate for post-op so he can use the kind of bed he prefers. I am probably making too many, but they obviously don't have time to do laundry at the clinic and I get to see him every day so I'll bring in fresh ones. Yea... I know I sound crazy, but it makes me feel better. :) I also made up some instructions on how to feed Mel, as he eats a freeze dried raw diet.

So...What did all of you do in preparation for the surgery and recovery? I welcome ALL suggestions and ideas but below are some of my specific questions
Did your dogs have to wear cones? Did you use the soft alternatives or snoods?
How did you handle walks? Did you get a dog stroller? Mel is used to 2 walks a day. If it's too cold we use a treadmill (normally).
My dogs have their own room (that is entirely puppy proofed), should I pin him in one section of it when I leave for work? Or should I let him walk around?
Did you get dog stairs for your beds/couches/any other family snuggle areas?
Thanks for your input in-advance!


"Are these for me? You know I LOVE fleece" <3

19th February 2013, 05:57 PM
Gentle hugs to little Melvin. I have plenty of experience looking after dogs with cm/sm but I do not have experience looking after or preparing for this kind of surgery so I am not able to advise.
All my little Cavalier have their paws crossed and send you lots of healing thoughts.

Sydneys Mom
19th February 2013, 06:49 PM
You're a wonderful doggie Mom for doing so much for Mel to make him as comfortable as possible. I have no experience with this type of surgery/recovery, but my guess would be that Mel may need to be crated for awhile. If he isn't use to that now, you may want to start to doing that to ease him into it. Also, with the fleece blankets, you may want to wrap yourselves in them so your scent in on them or possibly bring an old tee shirt with your scent on it for him to cuddle with.

19th February 2013, 07:45 PM
I think the #1 most important thing is to restrict activity as much and for as long as possible (until fully recovered). I wrote a blog about Ella and things we went through. Here is what I wrote about the surgery and recovery.

"I decided to get the surgery. The day I took her in for the surgery was long! I had to wait for the phone call to hope there were no complications. When I got the phone call that everything went great and there was little bleeding. The neurologist said that it could not have gone any better. I was so excited. Ella survived the risk of complications that could happen with surgery.

I went to see her the next day and she was walking and wagging her tail. It was so great to see her!!! She had to stay one more night and I could take her home that weekend. I had her stay with my mom because I work and I thought that she could take care of her and it is really important to restrict their activity during their recovery. I would be at work and so I know I could not watch her during the day.

My mom kept her for a couple of weeks and I missed her so much but it was better for her recovery so that comes first. She seemed to do so well and the hardest part was keeping her from walking or getting excited. However the first weekend was scary. She would not come out of her crate to go outside or eat. I think that was because she felt safe and now looking back on it, could I have kept her in there longer? I had to take her outside and I carried her but you just never know if that has caused any damage."

So reading back I think providing a safe comfortable place in their crate is important. You will want to talk to Dr. Jeffries about specifics on exercise and activity but from what I remember, I needed to restrict as much as possible.

It was almost 3 years ago and I can't remember how long she wore a cone. my mom really helped during recovery since I could not be there during the day. It was hard getting her out of the crate so you may want to think about pee pads.

The first week or so Melvin may just want to be protected. I remember after that, Ella would want to be outside and do things like climb stairs. I would have to make sure she didn't.

The ideas like the stroller and stairs were more helpful later on and for cavaliers with or without surgery and having mobility issues. I don't know if I helped at all and others can chime in.

Love my Cavaliers
19th February 2013, 10:42 PM
Anne is right - providing Mel with a safe comfortable place is the #1 priority after surgery. I live in a multiple dog household so I had to make sure that my other dogs couldn't get to Riley. I set her up in a crate at first and as she felt better I attached an X-pen to her crate so that she had more room to walk around in. However, for her decompression surgery, I had strict instructions that for at least 4 weeks she was only to have 3-4 five minute leash walks, no running, jumping, playing. So, if she wasn't in her crate/x-pen, she was in my arms. Dr. Jeffries may give you different instructions.

Riley never wore a cone as her surgery was on the back of her neck and her scalp, so the cone would have irritated it and also served no purpose as she couldn't have gotten to the sutures anyway. Even Oliver who had cervical decompression surgery where they go through the neck didn't wear a cone for the same reason.

Right after her surgery, Riley was really out of it for 2 days and barely acknowledged me when I came to see her, but she is the rare dog who does not tolerate anesthesia well - probably because her vestibular system was so damaged from the SM. So having things from home probably wouldn't have mattered to her - although it sounds like it would have to Anne's Ella. She ended up staying 3 nights in the hospital. She came home with a fentanyl patch on for pain which worked miraculously well. I kept her crate right next to my bed for the first few nights so that I could hear if she was in pain, but she did really, really well and only cried out once the first night.

Like Anne said, stairs come much later, as does jumping. I believe jumping increases their intracranial pressure shich is why they don't want them jumping after surgery. Riley was always a lousy jumper anyway so a long time after surgery I bought stairs for her to get up on the chairs, my bed and the sofa. She took to them right away and now my arthritic almost 12 year old uses them all the time also.

I will tell you that recovery will be harder on you than on Mal at least psychologically. You will beat yourself up time and time again wondering if you did the best thing for him, wondering if you have prolonged his life or shortened his life, if you've given him a better quality of life - especially as you see him still recovering from the surgery and not feeling well and not being able to do the things he used to be able to (like take a walk during recovery). I spent many days/nights worrying and crying about whether I had done the right thing for Riley. It wasn't until about 6 months after surgery that I finally started to relax a bit. Her meds were stable, she was as stable as she was going to be. But I still treated her with kid gloves and every off day she had, every off move or sound she made, I overreacted and thought she was regressing. Four plus years later, I treat her normally and am thankful for every moment I have with her and count every extra day as a blessing. She is now 10 years old and I never thought she'd make it to such a ripe old age. But, as I've said before - she loves life and she's living a great life.

20th February 2013, 03:49 PM
Thank you for all of your thoughtful comments!

23rd February 2013, 07:16 PM

I just wanted to share the first bed I made. I don't think we are going to have any problems getting him used to sleeping on it before we leave. :)

Jimmie Jones
8th March 2013, 02:55 AM
My cavalier Jimmie is 5 years old and just had the surgery a week ago. Recovery has been rough. He is on gabapentin, omeprazole, tramadol and prednisone and is still having episodes of crying out in pain. Increasing the gabapentin dose has helped somewhat. I was curious to see how your Mel's recovery is going? Neurologists say to be patient- in can take up to 4 weeks or longer...

15th March 2013, 04:19 AM
Not sure if I missed something, but just wondering when the surgery is/was?

15th March 2013, 01:39 PM

I just wanted to share the first bed I made. I don't think we are going to have any problems getting him used to sleeping on it before we leave. :)

Wishing all the best for little Melvin, the bedding looks fab and I am sure this will be a great comfort. I hope the op goes well with the best outcome and thoughts are with you all.

2nd April 2013, 06:44 PM
My dog Winston is going in for the surgery on Thursday & I was just wondering how Melvin did. I'm so nervous.