Tue 27 Jun '06 I had to
take Truman to the vet yesterday as he had a funky looking nail which he had
been licking for the better part of a few days. I was allowed to accompany
him to the 'back' rooms to help control him for further diagnostics sans
drugs. Two x-rays later, it was discovered that he, indeed, had a funky nail
along with 'something' that had started to eat away at the tip of the
aforementioned toe bone.
After a lengthy conversation with Truman's primary
care vet it was decided to put him on Bayatril (antibiotic) & to apply a
Fentanol patch on his left rear hock to take the edge off the surgery to
amputate that toe, scheduled for the following morning. The decision
was made based on the erosion of the toe bone & the fact that it would have
been too iffy to get a good sample for pathology. And the time loss
could prove fatal if it was a fast moving cancer.
As some Bouviers do, Truman reactions to the Fentonol was a lot of panting &
hyperactivity. It was a bit difficult to calm him down but, as the evening
wore on, he became more sedate on his own.
Wed 28 Jun '06 It was
pouring rain this morning & no food or water for Truman. He didn't seem to
care much. He was a bit 'edgeless' but was plenty alert to know something
was up. He followed me around with his eyes.
Just before 9am, I covered him with a towel & piled him into the car to
drive to the vet. I handed him over to a vet tech that we both know with a
smelly tee shirt for his crate & instructions to call me in enough time so I
could be there as he came out of anesthesia.
While under Truman will get x-rays to make sure that if that "something" is
a form of cancer, that it hasn't metastasized to his chest. The toe will be
sent to pathology for follow up. Best case scenario: a virulent
infection and a 11 toed Bouvier. Worse case... well, I've already
Truman is scheduled first for surgery & it's now 11:35am & I'm waiting for
the call, trying to keep busy, writing this, amongst other things..
11:55am, the vet called to say he removed the entire digit (the bone
looked 'clean' at the cut), the x-rays looked clear, Truman is still under
sedation but they are cleaning his teeth. I can see him in 40 minutes or so.
The digit & some extra tissue will be sent out for further examination & I
will ask the primary vet to confer w the oncologist who took care of
Sabrina. It will take +/- a week for the pathology results.
Wed 28 Jun
06 12:30pm went to be with Truman as he came out of anesthesia.
Had gotten morphine shot & he was on a pain killer drip (can't remember
name). I sat in his crate, scratched his favorite place & kept talking to
him. Gradually.... an hour or so later, he started to move around but was
extremely groggy & didn't react to my voice or touch. I wondered if I was
getting through. Finally, veeeery slowly, as he came out of anesthesia &
2:30pm, Truman was getting restless. We thought he had to pee. He couldn't
hold his rear end up so we put a towel under him & helped him stagger
outside where he did nothing. So we all staggered back inside where he
flopped on the cold floor in the middle of the recovery area.
There he stayed for about 15 minutes, gathering his
strength @ which point I helped him up (he was really in the way) & directed
him back to the crate.
By 4:00pm I had to stretch my legs so I took a short break. When I returned,
tech told me Truman had been very disturbed in my absence; normally not an
issue but it indicated that my presence was definitely helpful.
4:30pm Truman was very determined to get up so I stood back to see how
what/how he would do. He wobbled directly to the exit door which gave me a
chuckle. I opened the door for him & he swayed his way thru the hallways
until we got to a small waiting room where he collapsed in exhaustion. He
took a little food by hand -- a good sign.
A few minutes later he gathered his strength again & lurched for the front
door like a drunken sailor. Outside he headed for the car but got distracted
& decided he preferred air conditioning so we headed back to the office.
There he collapsed in the waiting room to the dismay of a few people waiting
for their appointments. I had to explain he hadn't dropped dead, that he was
just tired & gathering his strength after having surgery, etc.
Don't anyone tell you that a Bouvier doesn't know exactly what it wants &
has the strength & determination to get it.
Around 5:30pm Truman got it together again & sort of hopped-wobbled-lurched
to the front door & headed directly to the car. So I picked him up -- all
110 pounds of him -- and placed him in the station wagon, ran back to
collect my stuff & drove him home.
5:58pm At home he allowed me to help him out. After that he made the supreme
effort to get into the house, across the lawn, up a few steps into the house
where he collapsed in exhaustion. At least he was home & in the a/c again.
Overnight he drank no water but had a couple of nibbles on a soft biscuit.
Around midnight he made an unsteady move to the kitchen (I sat w him until
he fell asleep @ 2am) where he stayed until 4:15am @ which point he returned
w a wet beard & flopped near the sofa where I was waiting for him. I stroked
him until he fell back to sleep.
Thu 29 Jun 06 T didn't
want breakfast but stayed w us in the kitchen. Still a bit unsteady but his
eyes are finally clearing up from that confused anesthetic look. He has not
whimpered or cried or panted in anxiety or pain so I didn't give him any
pain killers. Around noon he barked once (very quietly) to let me know it
was biscuit time so -- well trained as I am -- he got it. And then he
decided to join me in my office where I got my first tail wag & a little
kiss. That was a happy moment for me.
Now we're hoping he will opt for dinner. He's getting around better, hopping
along. When he stops he picks up the surgical foot. He's more alert but
still exhausted. The fentonol patch will stay on for 5 days.
I think tonight will be better. On Sat he returns to the vet for an
inspection & change of bandage. That'll be my first look at his foot sans
Fri 30 Jun
2 days post op Truman is still not himself but walking around
with that stupid bag on his foot. I've been trying to keep him
quiet but he is very restless. I heard a couple of very low
whimpers so between that & his restlessness I figured he had
[CLICK ON ANY PHOTO FOR
Instead of Deramax (very strong), I gave him 2
coated baby aspirin to see if that would be sufficient. He continued with
erratic behavior most of the day, would stare at me from the hall or walk
in, then walk out, lie down, then get up, would nudge me like he wanted
I talked to him, petted him, put down fresh water, gave him some treats,
asked him what he wanted as he's usually demonstrative, i.e. he will hit the
door, walk to his water dish, treat box, etc.
He didn't want to go out, didn't want his water, wouldn't eat his breakfast,
nibbled on his treats, couldn't make himself comfortable. Because of
all this weirdness he was getting plenty of attention so I started to wonder
if he was 'playing' me. Never underestimate a smart Bouvier's human training
Sat 1 July (+ 3 days)
Truman is different; he's more of a velcro dog. He has always keeps an eye
on me but Sabrina always stayed 'in close' so he opted for higher ground,
more of a general lookout. Now he's taken to following me around more (it
seems since the surgery) & I don't know if that's because Sabrina isn't
around any more or because of his surgery, etc. Whatever, it's interesting
Just before 2pm as I started to get ready to take him to the vet, he got a
bit antsy, following even more closely until I asked him if he "wanted to go
for a ride". Well, you would have thought this was better than baked liver
treats so we rode over to the vet. T had no trouble getting in/out of the
car, i.e. jumping onto the seat. However, once in the vet's office, he was
*extremely* anxious but behaved.
While in the waiting a new vet tech came out to greet us. And with a file
record in hand, she said cheerily "Hi! Who do we have here?... Sabrina?"
After a pregnant pause I replied "Well if we had Sabrina here that would,
indeed, be a miracle. She's dead." Suddenly there was silence, then profuse
apologies we entered the exam room, off to a bad start.
They know me well enough to know not to say to me that they are going to
take him to the back to do their work so everything possible is done in the
exam room with me in attendance. In this case, I helped position him on his
side w a "down" & "roll over" on the scale so the foot could be more easily
inspected & re-bandaged.
||I was surprised: the wound was dry,
||He got some clean padding & a nice
new, masculine blue bandage.
It's been 5 days since the Fentonol pain patch was
applied so that was removed. He is not to run & will probably take a good
month or two to fully heal & may favor that foot for the rest of his life.
That should be the worst thing.
Saturday (3 days post op) is the first day I can say that Truman is himself,
i.e. I believe the anesthesia is out of his system...finally. He's happy,
playful, still following me around.
Sunday, Jul 2nd. (+4 days)
appetite normal, water intake, all bodily functions returned to normal. I
will probably take him back to vet on Fri for another checkup to make
sure everything is still healing properly.
Truman is sleeping in the corner as I write this. He's had dinner & taken
his pee so he's happy. Me, too.
Because the bandage was left on for too long -- 5
days -- Truman developed an infection around the wound. This really
pissed me off as there was no reason for this to happen. A sample was taken
for a culture. Then the foot was washed off, dried, an antibiotic powder was
administered, the foot was bandaged & he was put on a common oral
later, the wound was washed & dried again, another helping of
antibiotic powder was applied & and the foot re-wrapped.
days, the wound was a little better but still slightly enflamed. The
culture came back; the results showing that the bacteria(s) he had
contracted were immune to the oral antibiotic that he was taking so that was
changed. The foot was treated as before.
days, the wound seemed better but the antibiotic regimen was to
continue for ten days.
-- 22 days post-op -- the sutures were removed & a looser
bandage was place on his foot.
later, we had a final checkup & everything looked fine so, in the
house, I took his bandage off so the wound could get air but when he went
out, it was covered.
2006. Hair is growing back, albeit slowly.
||T looks pretty silly with one shaved
leg but he he's not favoring his 3 toed foot. I've cleaned all
the hair between his pads to make sure he gets good traction &
no hair knots which would only complicate things. However, he
needs more exercise so I'm going to start regular walks with him
as he is less interested in roaming the property but I forget
he's going to be 12 & needs prodding.
Otherwise my wonderful boy seems to be in fine