The first week

Great Dane on 3 legs
K’Ehleyr’s tripawd stance

We are heading into our second week as I post this.  Here is a recap of what the first day and week were like for us and K’Ehleyr.  This post contains affiliate links for your convenience to some of the products we found helpful post surgery.

Before K’Ehleyr’s surgery a new x-ray of her lungs was required. She felt it was a good time to remind the veterinarian and the techs just how strong a 116 lb. Dane can be. It took 2 sedatives to get her on the x-ray table and third to keep her there. After a 2 hour wait I was told all was clear in her lungs and they were prepping her for surgery. By mid-afternoon I finally received the phone call that all was well and she was in recovery. They kept her the night but we were able to visit and give her some encouragement although she was still rather doped up and couldn’t keep her tongue in her mouth.  All the doctors and staff at Torrey Pines Animal Hospital have been great, her doc even went in a 3AM to check on her.

The next morning she stood up to greet the doctor as he came in to give her some more pain meds. Later in the day we were able to take her home and tackle the challenge of going up stairs. There was lots of resting and slowly moving around. The biggest challenge came when trying to negotiate down the stairs to go outside. We initially relied on a towel to help lift her, we have since purchased a RuffWear Web Master™ harness and brush guard. The harness has made helping her maneuver easier but unfortunately the buckles are on the wrong side. She has to step into the harness, if the buckles were on the other side it would be infinitely easier to put it on her since she wouldn’t have to try to balance on 2 legs to step into it.  I know the harness is not marketed for 3 legged dogs but it is one of the top recommended ones for them so it would be nice if it could be purchased in right or left legged versions, just a consumer hint to RuffWear.

Walking still consists of short distances over a long time.  One of her dog neighbor friends came out to visit her and she insisted on going back to his house for a visit proving she can really move if she wants to.
After a couple of days she has taken to racing up the stairs and is slowly learning to negotiate going down the stairs carefully. Going down seems to be more of a mental fight than a physical one for her.

Some things for consider having on hand if you ever have to go through this, which I hope you don’t.

  • Peepads, because things aren’t all under control right away.
  • Pill pockets, cream cheese or peanut butter for getting the medications down.  If you do opt for peanut butter make sure it doesn’t have artificial sweeteners, they can be toxic to dogs.
  • A t-shirt to cover the stitches and keep a newly shaved dog warm.  The stocking bandage she came home with had to come off the next morning because we didn’t have peepads for her to sleep on.
  • If you can, give a bath ahead of time because it is going to be at least couple weeks before they can get another.  I have allergies and try to give my dogs baths every 2 weeks to keep the dander down.

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