It’s done: Maisy had surgery yesterday for her torn cruciate. She had a TTA or tibial tuberosity advancement, a surgery which changes the geometry and forces acting on the knee during weight bearing and movement. This page has a nice, simple illustrated explanation of what the surgery actually is and does.
A note: This particular surgery was chosen based on her size, the specific angles in her knee joint, and her lifestyle/activities. BUT keep in mind if you browse around the rest of that website that despite its claims there is no “best” way to handle a cruciate tear in dogs with a capital “D”. I imagine it’s probably hard to create and maintain a website called “ttasurgery” that doesn’t do SOME cheerleading, but every dog is different. So it is not my intention to say or imply that anyone choosing a different treatment path for their dog is wrong, that website just happens to have the best illustration of the surgery I’ve seen.
Anyway, she came home last night stoned out of her gourd on pain medication and looking like this:
Normally she sleeps upstairs in our bedroom, but once she got settled into that bed I just let her stay there and slept on the couch next to her. I wasn’t completely sure what to expect but was prepared for a rough night. As it turned out, she had a really good night: I didn’t hear a peep out of her and every time I woke up she was resting comfortably. This morning I took her bandage off, took her outside where she peed for about a minute, and fed her breakfast and her cocktail of pain killers and antibiotics which she ate like a champ. Now she’s sleeping like a baby again and I’m awake at an ungodly hour on my day off.
She is 3-legged when she walks and toe-touches when she stands, both normal at this early stage. She’s getting around fine, not licking her incision, and not overtly acting painful. Such a resilient, tough-but-sweet cookie. She’s just the best girl.
I worried that the hardest part of this would be managing her pain after coming home. I’m kind of a blubbery marshmallow when my pets are sick or in pain or sad. Since that angle seems to be under control, now I think the hardest part will be the game of musical dogs we’re about to be playing for the foreseeable future. (Right now, the boys are still upstairs in the bedroom.) I’d already been letting them out on rotation so that she and Squash wouldn’t play crazy in the yard, but now I’m going to have to keep them separated in the house for a while, too. Which is going to be an inconvenient drag, but infinitely better than her being in unmanageable pain. Fortunately, we live in an old house with lots of little nooks and crannies that are easily baby-gated off from each other.
Before this all happened I had taken some time off work next week to go camping. I’ll see how she does, but while I might go ahead and go with Squash for a few days I’ll probably be spending most of the time home playing nursemaid instead. Well played, universe, well played.
I’ll keep updating in this space. Thanks for all the kind thoughts we’ve been getting over the past days and weeks as we navigate this plot twist, they truly are appreciated.