This week we have seen a big improvement in Beau’s ease in getting around. In fact, he thinks he’s superdog! He clearly isn’t feeling much pain, so we have eased off on the Tramadol, but continue to give him the Metacam and the Acepromozine for sedation. The most difficult part of the week is getting him to just lay around. We’ve invented some little games to keep him busy but still – such as a toy we have that has stuffed, squeaky squirrels hidden in a stuffed tree and he has to work to get them all out. To up that game a bit, we hide a small cookie at the bottom. When he’s really full of himself, a small rawhide chewie settles him down a bit – but they sure don’t last very long. He’s never done well with the big rawhide bones – loves them, but his gums start too bleed. We have some very thick sweet potato chewies that do last longer, but they are expensive.
At the end of the week, Beau had a check up and got his sutures removed. His leg is getting a bit of hair back and the twelve inch incision looks very good. We were very lucky that Beau did not mess with his incision. I was ready with a pair of old boxers and a T shirt, to cover and distract, but they turned out to be unnecessary. The vet was pleased with his progress and indicating we were now entering the physical rehabilitation period. The idea is to build his muscle back up without over stressing the knee joints/ligaments. Her recommendations for the next month:
Swim Therapy. The vet hospital has a separate facility with hydrotherapy pool and trainer and is always pushing this. We did this a few years a go when we were first told Beau had hip dysplasia but it’s just too expensive to do it on a regular basis. I’m sure it’s wonderful, but we just couldn’t do that his entire life. However, a limited post op period is doable. We told the vet we could either do it one time a week for a longer period of weeks or two times a week for a shorter period of weeks. She preferred the longer period of weeks, so we’ll be taking him one a week for ten weeks. We do have our own pool that Beau swims in (it’s in ground, so it’s easy for him to get in and out) but we live in Ohio, so this isn’t an option until summer!
Stairs. Beau is now to be encouraged to do stairs either once a day for ten minutes or twice a day for five minutes. This is somewhat of a relief to me, since I’m worried that he’ll try this anyway. We’ll still have to keep the stairs blocked off most of the time, however, because the vet doesn’t want him just following us up and down the stairs all day long.
Walking on inclines. We are to take him on walks of initially five minutes, increasing an additional five minutes each week to an area with small inclines and zig-zag walk him up and down the inclines. This could have been challenging – Ohio is pretty flat! – but we live a street away from a golf course. We can drive there, get on the path, and walk him up and down the hills. The vet suggested these walks 3 times a week for now.