View Full Version : Surgery scheduled for Thursday 4/4!

29th March 2013, 08:47 PM
So Winston is scheduled for decompression surgery with Dr Glass at Redbank Veterinary Hospital in NJ for Thursday 4/4. We have to bring him in the day before for prep & blood work. Dr Glass does not use the titanium mesh & he's been doing this surgery for 15 yrs. He feels the healing process is a bit easier for us & the dog when the mesh is not used & he has not had a problem with scaring. I've cancelled all plans indefinitely & I'm lucky enough to be a stay at home mom to 2 12yr olds. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.

30th March 2013, 03:13 PM
Sorry I can't offer any advice but I just want to send all my best wishes and hope the surgery goes well for Winston on the 4th.

Love my Cavaliers
30th March 2013, 03:50 PM
I attached an x-pen to Riley's crate so that she would have more room after her surgery. She was allowed 3 five minute leash walks for the first couple of weeks. Other than that, she had to be in her crate or in our arms. I also put her crate right next to our bed at night so that I could hear her and tell if she was in pain. She came home with a fentanyl patch for pain which she had for the first two or three days which worked liked a charm. I only gave her extra pain meds once the first night home. THe hardest part for me was keeping her quiet in my multi-dog household. I had an 11 month-old pup who was so full of energy, that even when I was holding Riley, I couldn't trust that Oz wouldn't come and barrel up into us.

Truthfully though (and I've said this before) the recovery will be harder on you than on Winston. You will look at his shaved head and you'll feel his pain and you'll question whether you did the right thing, whether you've prolonged or shortened his life, whether you've given him a better quality of life, and you'll probably cry. It took a good 6 months for Riley to really recover, for us to figure out her meds (Winston will most likely be on meds even post-operatively), and for me to not look at her as if she were going to die any minute. It took another year for me to stop treating her with kid gloves and feeling like nobody else could take care of her like I could. I was afraid to let her out of my sight. Now, almost 5 years later, I treat her normally and treasure every day I have with her. I realize every day is a bonus that I didn't think I would get. She loves life. She runs, she loves walks, she is happy. She is certainly not a normal dog, her brain was too damaged by the time she had her surgery for her to be healthy normal, but she is living life and loving it.

Wishing you all the best on April 4th.

(By the way, Riley did have the titanium mesh implant)

30th March 2013, 11:53 PM
Thank you so much. It's so hard to know your doing the right thing before the surgery so I can imagine after the surgery will be really tough. I've been through other dramas with other animals so I do know the angst you are describing. Even as so far as to go with a dr that doesn't believe in the mesh. He did explain to me that the screws & the mesh result in a longer recovering as far as cranial pressure etc. he says he's never had a problem with scarring on any of his procedures in 15yrs. It's a very difficult decision & I'm already praying to God I'm making the right one. All I know is that if I don't do something he will get much worse. I'm curious to know what your dog still does that makes you say she will never be normal? I really want Winston to be the happy, sweet playful boy he is.

Love my Cavaliers
31st March 2013, 12:47 AM
Riley's main problems before and after surgery were balance. Her vestibular system was very badly damaged by the SM. She cannot jump and on bad days she needs to lean against walls to keep her balance. Sometimes she will be sitting and just starts shaking and her legs will collapse on her. So that's what I mean by never being normal. Prednisone keeps it pretty much in check and it is 1000% better than before surgery. But like I said, she's a happy girl and loves life.

31st March 2013, 02:03 AM
Aww thank you so much for sharing. Winston is pretty much mostly scratching his neck & head & licking his paws. About once a month he yelps. Of course all these symptoms are a lot less since on his meds. I'll keep you posted.

Joanie Davison
31st March 2013, 02:38 AM
Best of luck to you and Winston. You all will be in our thoughts and prayers.


Sydneys Mom
31st March 2013, 03:27 AM
I'ill be thinking about you on Thursday. Good luck and gentle hugs for Winston coming from across the country and from a former New Yorker!

4th April 2013, 11:25 PM
Surgery went very well today! Thank God. The next 24hours are critical but the Dr feels he should be fine. I'll keep everyone posted. Thanks for the well wishes.

5th April 2013, 12:04 AM
We'll all be thinking of you! Problems are very rare so I am sure all will be well -- but I know you'll be a lot happier once those first 24 hours are over. Let us know how things go. :flwr:

Sydneys Mom
5th April 2013, 12:06 AM
You must be so relieved that the surgery is over. Just take it one day at a time with Winston's recovery and I'm sure, in time, he will be just fine.

Love my Cavaliers
5th April 2013, 02:08 AM
Just coming out of anesthesia safely is a milestone. I'm so glad Winston's surgery went well. The day after Riley's surgery when I went to visit, she was so doped up on medication, she barely even registered that I was there. She rested in my arms for about 5 minutes but was just as happy to be taken back to her crate to rest there. Have you seen him yet? Riley looked like a half-shorn lamb with her hair-cut. It made her eyes look twice the size also. Rest well tonight. Winston is safe.

5th April 2013, 02:36 AM
No haven't seen him. It's killing me! I probably will not see him until we pick him up. I live 3 hrs away from where he is. I have twin 12yr old children so I'm split between them & him. When we decided on where to have the surgery it was an incredibly difficult decision because its so far but he's worth it. They didn't want us to see him the first day at because he's in a delicate state & he's so drugged. I'm not worried about seeing him shaved we keep his hair very short anyway because we are on our boat a lot & it's just neater. I want to give him a kiss so bad. I'll feel better when I see his tail wag & get a kiss from him. They are saying pick up will probably be Sun or Mon. I will definitely keep you posted.

5th April 2013, 02:37 AM
I am also busy getting ready for his homecoming with crates & blankets all over the house.

5th April 2013, 11:02 AM
He'll do well, I am sure. It also sometimes can be a bit easier, for you and perhaps for him, to see them after they've had a chance to start some healing, too, I think -- he'll mostly be sleeping in these early days and the rest and quiet will do him good. But I'd be torn too between going and staying! I really look forward to your updates as he heals. :)

5th April 2013, 10:14 PM
Great news. The Dr said we are out of danger! Winston is doing so good. He's even starting to wag his tail! The dr said he has nice range of motion in his neck. He's eating, peeing & pooping. He said he can come home I'm 24-72 hrs. I'm hoping he can come home on Sunday because my husband is off from work & there will be less traffic. Without traffic it's about 3hrs drive. Thanks for all your support. I'll still keep you posted on the situation.

5th April 2013, 11:10 PM
So glad the surgery went well and he is doing good! The hair is a trademark and he now is what someone with Chiari say they call "zipperheads". So welcome to the club, the hair will grow back and the best part is the surgery is over. Now for the recovery

Love my Cavaliers
6th April 2013, 03:01 AM
Oh what a relief! Anne' s characterization of the "zipperhead' is pretty accurate. I'm so glad he's responding to his caretakers at the hospital. Cavaliers have a way of working their way into everyone's hearts and they seem to take extra special care of them. One look into those eyes and who can resist just giving a little extra TLC? I know Sunday seems like such a long time to wait, but it will be good for Winston to have that extra recovery time for the long car ride car ride home. I'll be interested to hear what their discharge instructions are for him. Get some sleep now because you may not sleep well for the first few nights when Winston is home. And maybe plan on sleeping with his crate next to your bed for the first few nights home so you can tell if he's in pain. I'm sure he'll be so relieved to be home and with you too. Relish the moments even though they'll be subdued. Anxiously awaiting your first post about his arrival at home. (as well as others about his progress before he comes home!)

6th April 2013, 12:41 PM
Just catching up on this now. So glad the surgery went well....I can imagine the worry and angst you've been through.
Hope his recovery is uneventful.

Leo and I are send hugs and best wishes from "across the pond":hug:

Look after yourself and have a safe journey when you drive to pick him up.

Mel XX

6th April 2013, 02:13 PM
Thanks for all the well wishes. I think I'm prepared. I have a soft crate that I plan on putting actually on the foot of the bed. I have crates everywhere, in the kitchen & in the living room. I also have a gated area in the kitchen. I had terrible dreams last night, one Winston didn't recognize me & the other was that his head was so swollen that I didn't recognize him. Ugh.

6th April 2013, 03:27 PM
Winston comes home tomorrow(Sunday 4/7)!!!!!!!!!!!

Sydneys Mom
6th April 2013, 04:14 PM

Love my Cavaliers
6th April 2013, 04:26 PM
Oh Yay!!! You get your baby back. Driving there to get him will seem like the longest, but shortest ride of your life. You won't even notice the drive and any landmarks, you'll be so focused on how he's going to react to seeing you, how he's going to look, what's his level of pain, how he's going to tolerate the drive home, what his level of activity will be, etc. Just remember to have your husband focus on driving!!!! Hopefully today will whizz by. I'm glad he's doing so well.

6th April 2013, 05:34 PM
So glad to hear that the surgery went well and bet you can't wait to see Winston and bring him home. It must have been an anxious few days for you all, wishing Winston a speedy recovery and I am sure he will have lots of TLC.

6th April 2013, 10:02 PM
This day is dragging! Got Winston a new soft, light & fluffy harness. Can't wait to see him.

6th April 2013, 11:47 PM
This day is dragging! Got Winston a new soft, light & fluffy harness. Can't wait to see him.

Being a Mom I know you must feel so helpless with nothing to do but prepare and worry. We Mom's do better with someone to fuss about............. We all expect a full report tomorrow evening on how he's doing.

7th April 2013, 09:25 PM
Wow we are home! So he doesn't look as bad as I expected but still shocking. Instructions are strict bed rest, 3 or 4 5min walks a day for 6 weeks. If he's not on a walk he's to be in a crate or confind in the kitchen with the gate. We have to be careful if the door bell rings & he runs for it with the others dogs or if he jumps to bark at something on TV. He's on a fentynal patch plus pred & antibiotics plus his regular meds for CM & SM the tramadol & gabapentin & Omeprozole. They refuced the Gaba to once a day because of all the other pain meds. We have to go back in 10 days to remove the staples. We can do this.

7th April 2013, 09:29 PM
So glad to hear he's home! :flwr: Each day will be a fresh improvement now, hopefully. This will likely be the hardest stretch -- especially as he starts to feel good and wants to move around a lot. His hair will grow fast and before you know it, he won't look quite as worrisome as he will right now. :)

Love my Cavaliers
7th April 2013, 10:29 PM
I'm so glad he's home. His discharge instructions sound similar to Riley's. Keeping Riley quiet in a multi-dog home was a challenge as you'll find with Winston - and you'll make mistakes and you'll kick yourself for them. You'll let him sit on your lap on the couch and before you know it, he's jumped off when the other dogs run for the door- or something similar. These happened to us with Riley and you can't beat yourself up about it. You learn and move on. Those big beautiful eyes will make you feel so sad for him also, especially as he starts to feel better and wants to do more. That's one reason why I say the recovery will be harder on you than him - because you are the one who has to keep him quiet and penned when all he wants to do is be a dog and roam around the house and play with your other dogs. On another note, the fentanyl patch worked great for Riley. I hope it is a wonder drug for Winston too. I hope he and you have a good first night home.

7th April 2013, 10:36 PM
We wish Winston a speedy and good recovery, all the very best.

7th April 2013, 11:53 PM
Post a sign on the door asking people NOT to ring the bell!! And try to get someone else, hubby, kids, friends to take the other dogs out for some serious exercise for the first few days if possible---the whole house might be better with tired dogs and kids :) I would guess keeping him "resting" is going to be the hard part after a few days. So glad he is home and doing great :lotsaluv:

8th April 2013, 12:52 AM
No it's ok. I realized I didn't make sense after I wrote it. The reason for all the crates & gates is to keep him from running to the door with the other two dogs. Keeping him confined as much as possible will keep him safe. I don't think in this circumstance I can be too careful. It's going to be a long six weeks is a understatement he already wants to run & play & it's only day 4 after brain surgery.

9th April 2013, 12:12 PM
Took pain patch off today as instructed. I'm very glad we are taking one medication away. There are so many meds in the morning & he seems to stay pretty depressed & loopy until about 1-2:00 in the afternoon. That's when he gets another Tramadol. I can't wait until we are done with the prednisone but that's another 2 weeks after this week. Over all he's doing pretty well, eating, peeing, pooping & wagging his tail. Not scratching too bad at all, maybe 2X a day when he gets excited. Trying to keep his excitement to a minimum. He's been very good on his leash walks but I can tell some walks he wants to run & roam. Staples come out next Wed 4/17, another trip to Red Bank. That's ok, I'm really getting used to it & he's sooooo worth it.

10th April 2013, 04:07 PM
So day 6 after surgery is a little tough. We were up all night, at least from 1:00 am on. Winston had his nightly meds about 9:30 last night and I woke up when I heard him panting & being very restless. I took him out of the crate & took him for a short walk & some water. We stayed in the living room where eventually after about a half hour he stopped panting but was then breathing heavy. I suspected the prednisone. I spoke to the Dr early this morning & we are reducing the pred to once a day instead of twice. Winston & I are having a pj & couch day today. He is now very tired but very comfy. Hope it goes a little better from here.

Love my Cavaliers
10th April 2013, 04:19 PM
Sorry you had such a bad night. 10 mg of prednisone is a pretty high dose. He should do fine on 5 mg. I know I have trouble myself on 10 mg pred and I weigh a heck of a lot more than these little dogs :lol:

10th April 2013, 04:30 PM
He's on 2.5 twice a day. Now we are going to do once a day & see how it goes. The reason it's so low is because he's had reactions before, he's has reactions to A LOT of medications & vaccines. It was supposed to step down to once a day on Sunday for 1 week & then once every other day for a week.

16th April 2013, 04:38 PM
Staples come out tomorrow!!! Thursday will be 2 weeks since surgery. So to sum up what's going on now, since Winston is on the low dose of pred we've been getting up once during the night to pee and/or poop so we are a little tired everyday. He's been scratching at his head more than usual but it's very difficult at this point to know if it's pain from the SM or the incision & staples. They don't want him to wear an e-collar so thats a challenge. He doesn't scratch while he's in his crate so he does spend a lot of time in there & resting. It hasn't been too difficult to keep him resting because of all the meds. He seems very happy & comfortable. He is starting to become quite smelly so we are really looking forward to a much needed grooming in a few more weeks. I wish I had him groomed right before the surgery but I didn't want to stress him out needlessly. He is pretty much his old self. Time will tell. If anyone has any insights regarding their experiences after surgery please chime in. Thanks so much.

Sydneys Mom
16th April 2013, 05:21 PM
So glad Winston is doing well. It won't be long now before he is running around again. As for being smelly, maybe you can get some doggie wipes and just spot clean. They're scented so will help with the smell.

16th April 2013, 06:02 PM
It's ok he's not too smelly & I'm so glad just to be able to smell him.