Riley continues to be a good news/bad news doodle. The good news…very good news is he is still walking on all four legs. The bad news…the walk is not pretty; the pain meds have been increased. The good news…Riley’s tail is high; his energy level is over the top. He is a happy, happy fellow and that is our goal.
And you all know about our Riley. We call him our High Maintenance Dood. Over the Christmas Holidays Riley again started lifting his left leg off the ground…we were devastated. The x-rays (yes…more x-rays!) showed the elbow to be in place, the bone healed…all looked good…so why? Riley has pulled a muscle in his back and the pain goes down the leg. We have been told that until his left side muscles are strong he is prone to injury. With the snow and ice here it is not easy to exercise Riley outside, so…back to physio…intensive exercise program using an underwater treadmill. We didn’t even know they existed! Until we get this left leg working strong we cannot even think about doing anything to the right leg which is getting worse daily. With the amount of pain medication Riley has been on since he was 6 months old, we worry about the rest of his body. Everyone who has met Riley falls in love with him…he is gorgeous to look at with the sweetest temperament, a truly noble dog. He has cost us a fortune; we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our lives have been enriched by Riley.
Enough of my dribble…you are probably all glad now that I don’t post very often! I know that we love the animals, and when I read all your posts and I know you do too…for me that means living. Bless you all, I pray for all your doods.
Riley with Rehab Therapist and my husband Steve
Riley in the underwater treadmill (one day you may even see my face...
Riley working very hard on the underwater treadmill
Riley update…we were concerned that Riley continues to limp on his surgery leg…I phoned the clinic to have Riley x-rayed...they did this on Tuesday, sent the x-rays to the bone specialist, Dr. Philibert. He called me that night...9:30 in the evening. He said he didn't usually make calls at that time but he knew we would want to know. The bone is healed beautifully; the metal plate and screws are embedded in the bone just as Dr. Philibert hoped they would be. The elbow is a mess though. We have to remember that the elbow is in a new position, there is a lot of swelling (partly arthritis) around the elbow, the tendons, muscles and nerves are all still healing. The sooner Riley develops his shoulder muscles he will be able to remove some weight off of the elbow which will help it heal faster...plus, remember, his other leg cannot help him with this...we are to continue physio and be patient. Dr. Philibert is going to let me know when he is in the area again and he will take a look at Riley. He is hoping that Riley can get this leg strong before doing surgery on the other leg...he wants to monitor this. We really need to have the other leg done too before both legs will benefit totally from the surgery(s).
So, we feel better. We are going to keep Riley on leash with only occasional free runs when we see him walking well. Our plan is to enjoy the gardens with the dogs now that the weather is improving and the mud is drying up. I do enjoy spring time and so do the dogs!
Riley is doing fine…it is five days now since he had his left leg/elbow surgery. It was a flip of a coin as to which leg to do first, both are equally in need of the surgery, but the bone specialist will only do one at a time. Riley was under anesthetic for 3 hours, they performed Arthroscopy of the elbow joint and Sliding Humeral Osteotomy (SHO) on the left leg. To do this they cut the humerus bone and screw both ends to a stainless steel plate, thus moving the two bone parts to their new positions. The incision is about four inches long and stapled. Riley came through the surgery with no complications, the surgeon, Dr. Philibert is very optimistic that a full and successful recovery will result.
Riley is sleeping a lot with very little energy. We think it is the pain medication making him like this. Today was the first day we could give him these pills on an “if needed’ schedule, so we gave him fewer but then we noticed that he had more difficulty moving around. We have had lovely warm weather (-7 degree Celsius, 20 degree Fahrenheit) for this time of year and Riley is able to lie outside on the deck, the fresh air will make him tired too.
Riley seems to be ignoring the leg that was operated on, but is licking the other leg a lot and wants us to rub it all the time. The surgeon predicted that this leg was going to suffer with Riley putting all his weight on it. We are allowd to do four five minute walks each day; we are using a sling to lift the weight off of both his front legs. This has become a tour around the house. We have been planting a raw hide bone along the route and Riley wags his tail as he stumbles on this great treasure, quite content to return to the deck and guard it…no energy to chew it, but has a paw on it the whole time. I have learned (the hard way) to plant this treasure near the end of the walk or Riley will forget to do his pee. My husband has been home for a couple of days and is home tomorrow too…this is a huge help keeping our other dogs entertained…this walk around the house just doesn’t suit them at all!
Riley has good appetite and is drinking a lot of water…so I think all is good… On Tuesday, our dog trainer/friend, also a Veterinary Technician will be coming for a visit. Riley’s leg is still very swollen, but I think the incission is healing very nicely. I will feel better after our friend takes a look at it. They used staples to close the incission…not very nice to look at but apparently the new and improved way of doing this. We are supposed to ice the leg 3 or 4 times each day but Riley really does not want this, he has to be very drowsy for me to have any success with this at all…I’m hoping that lying outside on the cold deck will also help with this…please don’t think that I am leaving him out in the cold, I do check to see if he wants to come in…probably every 30 seconds! Riley has always had ‘his spot’ on the deck to watch the world and guard the house. Now, he enjoys his spot, but wants us to stay out there with him…we have been acused of spoiling this dog…well, Riley is going to be ruined by the time this is all over with. Riley doesn’t even have to bark now for attention…he only has to look at us!
Donations should be made to:
Dr. Devin Hunt - Primary Veterinarian
Dundas Veterinary Services
P.O. Box 132
Morrisburg, Ontario K0C1X0
Note: Donations are either cheque or credit card, and in the name of Riley the Goldendoodle.
Dr. Hunt will internally provide donation payments to the orthopedic surgeon who will be traveling in a mobile medical unit to Dr. Hunt's office for the surgical procedure. The surgeon is: Dr. Denis Philibert, DVM, MVetSC, Diplomate Medical Surgical Specicalist.
Riley is home with us, and not very happy, but finally resting peacefully.
Thank you for asking...it has been a long day. I had Riley at the clinic for 8:am...I was up at 5:30 so worried about being late! We were actually early and had a walk about the building, Riley was so excited...a new adventure...it broke my heart. Rachel, the Vet Technician met us inside and took Riley right away, he was the first surgery scheduled with the goal to send him home today.
Riley was under anesthesia for 3 hours, they performed Arthroscopy of the elbow joint and Sliding Humeral Osteotomy (SHO) on the left leg. To do this they cut the humerus bone and screw both ends to a stainless steel plate, thus moving the two bone parts to their new positions. The incision is about four inches long and stapled. Riley came through the surgery with no complications, the surgeon, Dr. Philibert is very optimistic that a full and successful recovery will result.
They called me at 4:30...Riley could come home! They gave Riley another injection just before leaving...for pain and antibiotics...which put him into a deep sleep all the way home. We had to carry Riley (75 lb.) into the house in a blanket, hammock style.
Now the true nightmare begins. Riley woke up about two hours later howling in pain, confused and very frightened. The clinic gave me Tramadol for pain as well as antibiotics which will make him drowsy. Riley has been on medication since a puppy, so giving him pills is like giving him a cookie. He enjoyed a few ice cubes with his meds...wouldn't even look at his water bowl. We have a sling to move him around with. The challenge we are faced with is Riley is not able to move around on three legs...the right leg is just as bad as the left leg and it is too painful for Riley to put his full weight on it. Tomorrow I will be able to give Riley his regular dose of Metacam which combined with the Tramadol should help with the pain.
Riley is finally sleeping (12:30 am)...he continues to whine even in his sleep. Dr. Philibert sent home four pages of rehabilitation instructions...exercise restrictions, medications, physiotherapy, cold/hot therapy...broken down into week 1-3, week 4-6, week 7-9...then we will do x-rays to confirm bone healing. Only then will we be able to plan when to do the other leg.
I still cannot believe what we have put this dog through...he growled at me once...but I understand it is just the pain and confusion that made him do this. Still, it hurts.
This is probably more information than you really wanted...I really should get some sleep if I am going to be able to cope tomorrow. My Mom and sister left today after spending Christmas holidays with us, my husband is working tomorrow but will be home on Friday and the week-end. The computer is in our basement recreation room, and we have the stairs blocked off...Riley won't be doing stairs for at least 10-12 weeks. I may not be on the computer again before the weekend. I will try to keep you updated, and will post on the Zoo. An update on the messenger is also required, we have this surgery paid for in full...depending on the cost of medications and physio we will know soon how much we need to do the right leg...we don't have the luxury of time anymore. The right leg is only going to get worse while the left leg heals.
I wish you could meet Riley, then you would understand, this is all worthwhile. Riley is one exceptional doodle in so many ways.
Please, post a note on the Zoo for me...that would be amazing. Riley slept through until 6:30 am and woke up crying...the pain meds seem to take effect quickly. We went out on the deck for a little air...quick pee (Riley...not me!)...and back to sleep. He seems quieter and calmer. When he wakes up I will do an ice pack...our instructions are 4 ice per day to reduce swelling.
I must get back upstairs now, our dog groomer/good friend is coming over this afternoon to help out. My other two dogs are looking at me wondering why we are not on our hike through the woods...hard to keep them all happy!
Thank you so very much Susan, the Doodlemessenger and The Zoo have been a blessing for Riley and me....
Have you ever heard the sound of bone on bone? When you go for a walk with Riley our goldendoodle, that is what you hear, bone on bone in the elbow joints. The sound is a dull thud as the bones knock together with each step. Riley shows no sign of pain, except for the limping. Riley has never walked without pain, he was born with FCP (Fragmented coronoid process), OCD (Osteochondrosis dessicans) and MCD (Medial compartment disease)…the worst case of elbow dysplasia that the bone surgeon has ever seen in a dog so young. Riley is only 17 months old.
Riley is such a gentle, good natured fellow, and we want him to have a long and active life without suffering pain each day. There is a procedure that the bone specialist has recommended…it is called 'Sliding Humeral Osteotomy'. This SHO (as they call it) is a metal plate that gets screwed into the humerus bone (above the elbow)...the bone is then broken and slides over so that the metal insert acts like a wedge resulting in less pressure on the joint. The bone will actually heal around the metal plate. This surgery will provide full movement of the elbow joints, and decrease the lameness and eliminate the pain. There is an 8-12 week recovery time...and the surgery should only be performed on one limb at a time. Then the costs...an estimate of $3,500 per leg.