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Yogi - Never Just a Dog - A Post Surgery Journey

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

Days One and Two

Well folks here it is.... Yogi my beautiful four year old Tibetan Mastiff went for cruciate ligament surgery yesterday at Fitzpatrick Referrals. His surgery was more complicated than usual and both ourselves, our vet and the surgeon had concerns regarding his recovery period due to his breed typical strong guardian nature........

I did lots of research and asked lots of folks who had been through this journey. The overwhelming response was, from owners that had been through it, that the recovery period was pretty tough for both humans and canine! Undaunted and knowing that this is the best chance for Yogi to have as pain free a life as possible and in the longer term the best quality of life possible we have cracked on...

This ongoing blog will be about our journey over the first crucial six weeks and beyond. My hope is that our journey, efforts and experiences , will help offer others who choose or need to follow the same journey, insight and support and maybe help you avoid some of the hiccups we will no doubt suffer along the way Maybe with a little chuckle from time to time. We shall certainly be looking for that silver lining as we progress. Every journey offers an opportunity to learn and hopefully love. I am hoping I can spread both the love and the learning!

So Day One:-

Dropped Yogi off at 8.30 am yesterday, the operation was not finished until 6.30pm. I am called and told all has gone well, Yogi is now the bionic man!! Tplo surgery, two surgeons with an extra bone cut due to his rather individual bone structure. We always like be different!

Day 2:

Collected mid afternoon, surgeons happy with results. Advised he has been walking around with a totally snapped cruciate. We suspect this may have been ( due to a specific incident) for the last couple of months. He will have been in a lot of pain, but hidden it well. Not once did he fail in his guard duties! already weight bearing on the affected leg. He is very disorientated and the collar of shame was most definitely not a welcome addition to his attire.

Collar of shame discarded for a much more comfortable 'Elizabeth Collar' as per photo.

No crate once home, as agreed with surgeons, Yogi is confined by stairgates in one room at a time. The plan is that we can vary the rooms. It is however imperative that all plans are agreed with your surgeon. Visual and mental stimulation is essential to avoid potential depression from lack of stimulus (we will be working on mental stimulus over the next few days).

Yogi will be with either David or I 24/7 for the next 6 weeks to avoid unnecessary stress due to his confinement. Having us with him is already reducing his stress levels. I appreciate this is not feasible for all.

He has antibiotics, painkillers like saucers and sedatives. We are hoping that some delectable liver pate will aid their consumption, watch this space..... I use the one two three technique. One lump of pate, quickly following by one pill pate, and followed even faster by pate again. Let's see how quickly he calls my bluff.....won't be long for sure.

Take out lessons so far:

1. Be prepared for emotional exhaustion, don't plan to much and be kind to yourself;

2. Be prepared to be the dog house once you go and collect your pal;

3. If you have a large dog you may need a support sling. A shirt or leg sleeve to cover the wound plus an Elizabeth collar as opposed to a cone is much more comfortable.

Any questions at all please ask. I will be happy to answer them.........

Days 3-4 BIRDS AND BUTTERFLIES……………………….

Yogi is still sedated and will be for two weeks, he only has light sedation as agreed with our surgeon, to quell his guarding instinct a little and enable him to relax more. Looking ‘hang dog’ eyed and broody right now, quite becoming lol!

Food appears to be an issue at the moment, he is still no doubt processing the anaesthetic we are thinking about what to pimp his food with, ideas welcome, presently fricasseeing some lamb spleen, one of his favourites. He is not yet interested in any interactive, treat dispensers, -probably not surprising at this stage. His leg is still swollen and the surgeon said the swelling would go down into his ankle for the first few days, which it has - pics below. We have four dogs, so quite time is not easy. He remains contained in the living room and dining area, with the other two musketeers (the three boys are usually referred to as the three musketeers) prevented from ‘kicking him off’, much to their dismay. Not fun when one of your partners in crime is out of action, especially when h is the one that is normally shoved out front to deal with incursions, while the other two offer support from the rear! We are currently on five mins 3-4 times per day, on lead sniff and wee break. We are supplementing this with long car drives instead of walks, cruising the mean streets of local towns and villages. Yogi prefers the busier the better. I will endeavour to consider our carbon footprint in other ways!

We have even managed a short wobble from the car to a set on a local green to simply watch the world go by (all within the recommended wee break walks).

Now for the Birds and Butterflies............

Yogi wanted to sit on the decking at 6am this morning, he cannot be left unsupervised and must be prevented from any jumping up or sudden movements that will push pressure through the healing tibia. So there I am in a wobbly deck chair supervising…… What an experience, we never seem to find time to see the beauty in the word around us……However there is in my view very little that can match the beauty of nature. Today I watched the Red Kites, tails shifting and rippling like soft waves in the sky, catching the wind currents; I saw a whole flock of green parrots who would have given the red arrows a run for their money; pigeons diving through the sky, maybe avoiding the red kites (need to check this out) and a little robin on the top of my old dead, carved oak tree, like a tiny king of his vast towering and gnarled castle.

Then I thought for a moment I saw beautiful butterflies but they were leaves falling off the trees being lifted by the wind and fluttering from side to side with such grace before gently falling to the ground.

And then – I saw Yogi completely happy and chilled, using his Elizabeth collar as a cushion, no need for ‘lick’y mats and ‘canine enrichment’ toys, just access to a few wonders of the world and the wind on his back. It has been a good day so far…………..

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