My dog, Mocca, recently had surgery to remove a mass that had been growing over the past several years on the underside of her back left leg. The mass was just a fatty tumor, not cancerous (I had it tested years ago when it first appeared). But, it was getting bigger, and the bigger it got, the harder it would be to remove. So I decided to have it taken off. See the post about this decision here.
I thought I would be totally prepared for this, but I was naive I guess, and what I’ve been dealing with has been unexpected! I suppose I thought she’d just be fine right away, maybe a little sore. What I didn’t realize was…
- I would have to keep her outside trips to on-leash 5-10 minute walks only for the 10-14 days.
- I’ll be giving her antibiotics for two weeks to fight any potential infection, along with a supply of pain pills. (Pill Pockets here we come!)
- Mocca would have to wear an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) so she wouldn’t irritate her incision. The “cone” we were sent home with was a shock. She couldn’t reach her water bowl very well, and whenever I put it on, she thought she couldn’t move. And when she did, it was just to bang into something and be confused as to why she couldn’t move. I tried a new inflatable type, which I heard many success stories about, but unfortunately, it didn’t work for us. After a few days, Mocca seemed a little more able to maneuver with the cone, but I am still thinking about getting the soft version.
- I have to keep her downstairs at home until her leg is healed enough to make it up the 20 stairs to the main living area. This means altering my lifestyle at home completely so that I can spend as much time downstairs with Mocca as possible.
- She is in a lot of pain. Her incision is about 6″ long. When we had our cat neutered, they sent us home with pain pills, and I wondered, how would I know if he needed them? We never even gave him any. With Mocca, there is no wondering. You can tell by the way she is hopping around on three legs, and looking at me with painful eyes when she has to walk up the four stairs to get outside. The mass was underneath the muscle, so her leg is expected to be pretty sore. I will post a photo of her incision at the bottom of the post. Don’t look if you don’t like that type of stuff.
- I’d have to suffer watching her try to hop up on the bed in her room. Yes, it’s a real person bed she doesn’t HAVE to get on, but it is her habit. I set up an extra step for her so it would be easier, but she still gives me that first glance of “oh boy…this is gonna hurt.”
THANKFULLY, at the end of day three at home after surgery, she seemed to be doing a lot better and using the leg more. In fact, I was upstairs making dinner, when I heard this banging noise. I wondered what the heck she was doing so went to investigate. What did I find? Mocca trying to barrel her way through two propped up pet gates (leaning on each other to block the stairway, but allow the cats access). She was using her CONE to do the knocking over! I took the cone off and told her if she wanted to go upstairs then fine. She proceeded to trot up the stairs with little problem and then lay down happily in her dog bed. I guess she was ready for the stairs!
I am slowly taking her on longer walks, and I hope she continues to improve and we’ll be on track to remove the staples from her incision and be back to 100% in no time. I am, of course, worried she’ll have a limp or be unable to do agility anymore – but our vet said that shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll keep you posted! Thanks for all the great stories and advice.