Category Archives: Teddy’s journey post-amputation

Following the recovery of Teddy the Beagle following his automobile accident and front leg amputation

Teddy’s journey: what the fracture looked like

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and so before next week and another update on Teddy’s progress, here is what Teddy’s elbow fracture looked like.

Compare the x-ray of the right, broken leg with that of the left.  It was a dramatic break.

Left elbow xrayRight elbow xray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are not looking back, however.  Teddy has had a good week and we are looking forward to even more as we get him comfortable and happy in his new life as a tripod.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Teddy’s journey: big improvement this week

Teddy 10_9_14Teddy, bright and alert, met me at the door this week.  He’s looking and feeling much better now that his pain is under control.  It is great to see him up on his feet again.  The mood in the entire household has lifted, too.

Teddy’s medication regime has been changed from Previcox to Rimadyl as the preferred NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) with Tramadol for added pain relief.  He’s also had a second acupuncture treatment which is clearly helping to improve his energy and pain levels.

Since last week’s osteopathic adjustment, the compression in Teddy’s back has been relieved and I have been able to use more massage and acupressure techniques on him because he is no longer in pain.  I’m still using laser on Teddy, but the ability to manipulate his muscles and limbs is essential to help with the movement of blood and lymphatic fluids.

Yesterday, I gave Teddy a full body massage with emphasis on lengthening and stretching important muscles.   I did a lot of work on the latissimus dorsi – one of the major muscles that supports the back.   All of Teddy’s remaining legs have good range of motion, although some of the muscles in them need a little help to be warmed and stretched.

Teddy slept through most of his massage – another great sign that he is able to tolerate rehabilitation and that his body is able relax, which will support recovery.

The right hind leg, which has arthritis and is affected by hip dysplasia, is causing us some concern.  Teddy is noticeable wobbling on this leg and so we’re focusing on giving this leg extra attention with lasering and acupressure points.

Jill says, “To hear Teddy’s cries and whimpers was distressing for all of us.  I’m so happy that Teddy’s condition has improved.  I feel like we have turned a corner.”

The floor layout in the main living area has been improved, too.  Baby gates still restrict Teddy to a small area.  Jill has installed rugs with a foam underlay in the areas where Teddy walks.  These will help with shock absorption.

A couch with a very low seat is now Teddy’s preferred sleeping place – he can watch the garden from this position.  A foam mattress crash pad is below the sofa to ensure Teddy doesn’t do any damage to his remaining foreleg when he decides gets down.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Teddy’s journey: pain and anxiety come to the fore

The past week has been a tough one for Teddy and for Jill.

When Teddy first came home from the hospital, he seemed to be adjusting quickly.  He’s always been an independent boy and so he has rejected any support such as a strap or harness when taken out for toileting.

However, this week, Teddy became noticeably withdrawn.  For much of the time, he was restless and would whimper frequently.  We were sure he was in pain.  Because he was so out of sorts, we also felt that he was suffering from anxiety.

When I saw Teddy on Monday, Jill was stressed and Teddy was clearly not himself.  We introduced a hot water bottle (or ‘hottie’ as they are known here) on his back which seemed to provide relief and comfort.  I also gave Jill a CD from the Through a Dog’s Ear range.  This music is designed specifically for dogs to help calm and treat anxiety.  These seemed to assist Teddy in the short term to relax and rest.

But Teddy needed better pain management…

Teddy and his 'hottie'

Teddy and his ‘hottie’

Jill took Teddy back to his vet several times this week to discuss pain relief.  She freely admits, “I didn’t feel that I was being listened to as the owner.  I knew Teddy better than anyone.  Persistence, in my case, finally paid off.”

We seemed to agree on Monday that he was taken off his pain medication too quickly – he was taking only Previcox at the time –  and his body had been left vulnerable.  A Fentanyl patch was re-introduced on Monday and replaced again on Thursday.  Jill also started Teddy on Tramadol on Thursday and Teddy received a ketamine injection, too.

Meanwhile, I could tell that Teddy’s back muscles were stiff; his top line did not seem normal, and he was clearly distressed at being handled along the withers and the back.  Thankfully, since Teddy was too uncomfortable for deep massage, I was able to use the low level laser along his spine and muscles to help with blood flow and pain relief.  I know I want to passively stretch Teddy’s spine but we agreed to wait until Teddy was more comfortable before attempting this.  I was able to do passive range of motion stretching on Teddy’s legs.

Armed with this information Jill took Teddy for acupuncture on Tuesday and an osteopathic adjustment on Friday.  Both his acupuncture vet and his osteopath agreed that Teddy was in pain and that support with traditional veterinary medicines were needed.  The osteopath used gentle traction on Teddy’s back since she found his spine has become compressed.

With his pain properly managed, we can do more to help Teddy’s muscles, tendons and ligaments to adjust to his new gait.  And then true rehabilitation and exercise can begin including a greater focus on core muscle strength.

During this stressful week, Jill took to the Internet for help with Teddy’s condition.  She found a wonderful site – Tripawds Blogs – for owners of amputee dogs.  Owners soon responded with news that helped to assure Jill she had made the right decision for Teddy and gave her information to help her discuss pain management with her vet.

Owners who have been through similar adjustments with their dogs said:

  • Amputees go through an initial ‘good’ period after coming home, only to suffer because they do too much, too soon
  • The muscles of the body are under incredible strain because the body’s mechanics have changed rapidly
  • In Teddy’s case, his amputation was not preceded by a period of pain or dysfunction in the front leg – so his body had no time to adjust (such as would be the case for an osteosarcoma patient, for example)
  • Pain management medication is critical; the switch from Fentanyl to Tramadol was recommended
  • Teddy’s size is a big advantage – he’s a lot smaller than, say, a Labrador with the same conditions
  • Every dog is different and it takes a little time to find the right balance of therapies

Jill says, “In hindsight, we really took things too quickly and allowed Teddy to move around the garden area with enthusiasm.  I wish I had thought of this sooner and we may have avoided him seizing up so badly.  The Tripawds site has been a fabulous resource for me  knowing that there are others who have been through this before us.

I do feel that vets should listen to owners when it comes to understanding their animal.  And if you are not happy with your vet, you need to find someone who you are more comfortable with.  The vet can’t have all the answers when they are not with the dog as often as the owner is.  This proves that vets are not the final word in recovery – and I’m grateful that complementary practitioners are part of Teddy’s healthcare team”

It’s a new week – and we are all hopeful that Teddy is back on track to recovery.  He’s booked for massage and acupuncture this week.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Teddy’s journey – the bandages come off

Teddy has had two consultations this week to assist his recovery.

On Monday (a day after discharge), Teddy was at home resting near the log burner and constrained in either his crate or a playpen area that Jill had set up for him.  His pack mates – sister Verdi (shown in the background) and his mother, Maggie were a little confused by the new situation.  Verdi was showing some signs of dominance – growling at Teddy.

Teddy sleeping with compression bandage

Teddy’s amputation incision was covered in a compression bandage to help with swelling

Jill was using an ice pack on the incision area four times per day to help with swelling and pain relief (Teddy was also receiving pain relief through a Fentanyl patch which delivers pain medication through the skin and also Previcox, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.)

On this day, I performed an acupressure sequence on Teddy to help his body recover from the anesthesia.  We also measured Teddy for his Walkabout Harness.

Teddy received a replacement Fentanyl patch on Tuesday.

I returned on Friday to see Teddy – with his bandages removed.  This is the first time I’ve been able to view his incision up close.

Teddy's incision

Teddy on the massage table, ready for a light treatment

Teddy was very tired on Friday and favoring his right side by sleeping mostly on his left.  This is not surprising since the comfort of the compression bandage and padding on his surgery site had been removed.

We will treat Teddy conservatively and manage his comfort in the early stages of his recovery.  Consequently, I only worked on Teddy in the above, resting position.  I gently massaged over his hips and back and he received cold laser therapy over his hips and his left forepaw (which has some arthritis).

Teddy was deeply asleep after his session – a sure sign that he needed the time out and that rest is the best thing for him.

Teddy has always been a receptive dog for massage and I expect him to be even more so post-amputation.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Teddy’s journey starts

Teddy is an almost 8-year old Beagle.  We’ve known each other for 4 years now because Teddy is a regular customer of my dog massage, nutrition and rehabilitation practice.

Teddy

Teddy

Teddy suffers from bilateral hip dysplasia and his owner, Jill Gordon, has been successfully managing this condition for years by giving Teddy good nutrition, massage and laser therapy, and regular osteopathic adjustments.

But Teddy wasn’t so lucky on Friday, 22nd August 2014.

On this morning, which started like so many others, Teddy was riding in his father’s van in the front seat to go to work.  When the van came to a sudden stop in traffic, Teddy slid off the front seat into the foot well.   The force of his fall and the angle in which he fell caused him to severely fracture his right front leg.

The veterinary term for Teddy’s compound fracture is a comminuted open right intracondylar elbow fracture.

Teddy’s dad rushed him to their local veterinary practice at Lincoln Village Vets where the staff there stabilised him and Alex, the vet nurse, accompanied Jill and Teddy to the local specialist surgery practice, Vet Specs.   At Vet Specs the lead surgeon, Helen Milner, assessed Teddy.  She said she might be able to save his leg through a complicated 5-hour surgery.  Jill authorised the surgery.

However, once Helen got Teddy onto the operating table, she saw in more detail than the x-rays allowed her to just how badly broken Teddy’s leg was.  It was shattered and she didn’t have enough bone fragments to successfully attempt a repair.   The only choice was amputation.

Amputation has been a devastating outcome for Jill.  We know that Teddy has a challenging journey ahead not only to recover from his amputation but also to adapt his lifestyle and surroundings so he doesn’t aggravate his hip dysplasia.

Quality of life is paramount.

Jill has chosen a healthcare team including Sarah Wisson, his osteopath, Dr Susanne Anderson, a veterinary acupuncture specialist, and me to see Teddy through this new journey.

Jill wants other owners to learn from Teddy’s experience about the need to restrain their dogs when traveling in vehicles.  And she wants owners to share in Teddy’s journey to recovery.  She has given her permission for Teddy’s story to be told here.  You will see the new category on the blog:  Teddy’s journey post-amputation.

Teddy has just been released from hospital and is recovering at home.  Jill says he’s still her handsome boy as seen here:

Teddy, before his discharge from hospital

Teddy, before his discharge from hospital

Join us for Teddy’s journey in future blog posts.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand