Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How's Roxy?

A little over a month ago, my farm pup, Roxy, had surgery on her left rear leg to repair a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and a luxating patella (floating kneecap). Normal recovery time (when dogs begin to use their mended leg again) is anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks. Disappointingly, things have not gone "normally" for Roxy and, to this day, she is still preferring to use three legs instead of four. Fortunately though, I see daily improvement and I remain optimistic that she be back on "all fours" again soon.

That said, it has been a really long month. For the first two and a half (almost three) weeks following her surgery, I was her private doggy nursemaid, 24x7. She required meds (a combination of painkillers, antibiotics and an anti-inflamatory) three times daily, she had to be carried up and down stairs (of which we have a lot), and an eagle and attentive eye was required to prevent her from licking and chewing her incision site.

Here's the command center where meds were tracked, cut and dispensed. Copious notes were kept on all aspects of her care:

Pills were deviously disguised in something I dubbed "tempting cheese balls":

Though, this was mostly wishful thinking on my part. Even morsels of one of her favorite treats didn't generate any enthusiasm:

Post-surgery, Roxy completely stopped eating. Getting her to drink water was virtually impossible. She lost almost a pound in less than a week. Back to the vet we went:

Her pain meds were increased and we were given a lovely prescription dog food that made her little salivary glands bounce with joy. She *loved* this stuff:

There was cause for great celebration when she began eating on her own again:

Such a good girl:

Once we had the pain management and food/water intake under control, most vital to her recovery have been long hours of rest and recuperation:

What's that around her neck, you ask? Well....:

Despite my attempts at having a vigilant eagle eye, it seemed like every time I turned around, she had managed to get another suture out of her leg:

It became clear she was going to need (insert ominous music) a cone of shame. We experimented with a number of them, trying to find the one that would work best for her:

We would try to make her happy by taking her, and her bed, outside wherever we were:

The goat boys, Pete and Reggie, even came by for a visit during one of Roxy's outside times. She wasn't really feeling up to company, though:

As of today, Roxy continues to favor her left rear leg and when needing to move fast, does a three-legged run. She will put her repaired leg down only for balance and when she is walking slowly:

We took a spontaneous trip to the beach on Sunday - one of Roxy's favorite places in the world:

It made our hearts feel light and happy to see our girl smiling again:

Her sparkle is back and she's eating again, now...if we could just get her to use that leg:

...then everything would be perfect.


  1. Thanks for the update Danni. I know your fans really appreciate knowing Roxy is on the mend, even though slower than we expected. Her new head gear is "lovely!" We all know how thorough you are in your record-keeping. I'm sure your vet appreciates your detailed notes too! Lets just hope that rear leg starts to feel more normal and is back to being fully functional.

  2. Oh little Roxy, it is so hard to heal. It takes time and it is no fun. I am happy that you have good humans that are taking such great care of you.

    Perhaps it might be time for some "alternative healing methods" Has you human Momma every heard of the homeopathic "rescue remedy" It is good for shock or trauma. Some rescue sites use it when they get a new pup in. It can't harm you and it taste like water.

    Goats visitors take quite a bit of energy. But they are very understanding, and will wait for you to feel up for there company.

    I loved seeing your pictures at the beach. It was nice to see you smile.

    From our farm to yours, I wish a speedy recovery.

  3. She is so cute. I am wishing her well and glad that she is recovering. Must be very stressful for you though. Thank you for the update. I wondered how she was doing.

  4. I imagine it will come.
    Glad to see she is doing so well!

  5. She couldn't be with kinder or more considerate people. I'm sure that the fourth leg will come into play sooner or later, but that is because I live in New Mexico where we truly believe in mañana. (That's when Kai's coat will get spun up, mañana, oh, mañana). All in good time. Poco a poco.

  6. Danni, Good thoughts and wishes for Roxy, she will get better and will use her leg. Years ago I had a male black Lab who eventually had to have that operation on both of his hind legs (one at a time), Sailor after he healed was better than even. Just give Roxy time, she will heal. Wishing you all sunshine and joy. God Bless

  7. Do you know how much a nurse with your caring can make? Good Caregiver! She looks great. I'm glad she is doing so well.

  8. Oh my goodness. I totally get the whole, "Please eat SOMETHING!!" thing. I'm a hyper-vigilant mom at the best of times. When any of my 'kids' are under the weather, I'm a real pain in the a**. So glad to hear Roxy is doing better. She looks happy and I'm sure she's favouring her leg because the memory of the pain is still too fresh. That will pass. Soon, she'll be feeling better and she'll forget all about it.

    Big hugs all 'round.


  9. Just a thought but have you tried swimming her. Ask your vet about it but that is what we did years ago with our Flat Coat after her surgery. You could get a large tub of nice warm water and give her swim therapy. Now we swam our dog around the bay but I imagine you could do something with a big tub.
    Good luck and three legs or four she is still a very lovely dog.
    I'm glad she's back to eating.

  10. I'm sorry Roxy hasn't bounced back quickly. I think a month's vacation at the beach might help, though. She looks so happy there!

  11. Hmmm... one thought to share. One and a half years ago, my daughter had surgery to help her in-toeing (they sawed thru both femurs-yikes). After she was fully recovered, she would still unconsciously lean on walls, use chairs for support, etc. I would ask her why, she said she had no pain and wasn't even aware she was doing it. This continued for a couple months. This could be happening with Roxy~her mind is saying this might hurt, so her body is responding accordingly?

  12. Oh my. That picture taken through the door with the cone of shame is a real heart-strings puller. :( I wish Roxy ate Peanuts. I would send her some. But, as they say, time heals all things, and I bet given enough Roxy will use that leg again. We'll get goatgirl to talk to THE MAN on her behalf. :)

  13. Thank you for the news about Roxy. I'm very glad that she's back on her food. Our Buddy dog had a hip injury sometime before he came to live with us and once in a while it would cause him some discomfort. He ran and got in plenty of trouble on three legs. The vet explained that he would do just fine on three legs. It didn't take long for him to be on four legs each time he tweaked it.

    I'm hoping that Roxy gets better soon. Of course, she might be liking the special treatment and may not tell you when she gets better.

    Sending you and her some love!

  14. You have been a very busy girl! I am sure Roxy will be going on all fours eventually. It does take time. Lots and lots of time. Our Sedona has a pulled (not torn) ACL and she three legged it for almost a year. She's using all four again finally. It just took time.

  15. Oh sweet Roxy, Winslow Homer and I are so happy to hear you are making progress, we have missed seeing your sweet little face. Danni, I too had a difficult time getting Winslow to take his medications, I tried just about everything I could think of. My vet offered suggestions, but finally through trial and error I discovered and much to Winlows approval, cutting his pills in two and placing each one in a slice of hot dog with peanut butter sealing the ends. Works like a charm. Sending greetings from Maine, Julie and Winslow Homer.

  16. Thanks for the update on Roxy. She is such a cutie. Roxy may just need a little more time than the normal dog to get back to 100 percent. Hope you have a great weekend.

  17. I'm having such a hard time keeping up with blogging these days but I don't know why! Tell Roxy I'm sorry I wasnt' around to cheer her on during the difficult part of her recovery, but I'm here now to celebrate with her and pep talk her through the remainder of her difficult days. Loved teh pictures in the following post, esp the deer and Roxy laying on the beach! I need to find a beach to take my girls to. They would LOVE that!

  18. What a incredibly sweet post and update. Roxy is loved by many, including me.

  19. so glad to hear that roxy is semi back to her cutest self! those pics look so familiar. we did the same thing with our last chow freddy. at least you found something that roxy likes to eat. teddy is a pistol. i have been trying to get 1/2 of a benadryl into her and whatever i put it in, it gets liked off and dropped on the ground. i think roxy will use her leg when it feels better. she probably has a bit if atrophy in it too. i hope all is back to normal soon!

  20. Goatgirl has a good point; swim therapy (made easier for such a little girl) would encourage her to use that leg again.

    My first border collie Riley had ACL surgery and it was quite a while before she used that leg again, but she finally did. I think sensitive, smart dogs keep favouring that leg long after its healed.

    And I also hear you about finding a food they'll eat; my girl Skye-dog is having chemo and finding food that doesn't repulse her (my poached salmon apparently did!) has been an ongoing battle. She now favours her original kibble.

    I'd love to hear where you got that Elizabeth collar from...


  21. I have a co-worker who's lab had that kind of surgery. Took a long long time for him to use his leg again. Hang in there Roxie!

  22. I'm all choked up and can't even type Danni! Hope she gets back on all fours real soon. Sending hugs from Daisy Lu too.

  23. Roxy is certainly lucky to have a caring "mother" like you! I think it's great that she has done this well -- hopefully full recovery is just around the corner! Thanks for the cute pictures!

  24. Roxy is one lucky pooch!
    I can only hope that the people taking care of me after my upcoming surgery are as compassionate as you...


  25. What devotion! No wonder Roxy is smiling again after weeks of exceptional care and love. Her mom became totally housebound, I want everybody to know, while she nursed our sweet Roxy puppy back to health.

    I am certain that with the 'real' warm weather approaching, Roxy will finally put her rear leg down and bound effortlessly through tall grasses in endless green meadows!

  26. Thanks for the update - Roxy looks so happy at the beach - and all-be-it on three legs, you can't ask for anything more - a happy, healthy dog. I know about these long convulescences with dogs, our weimer broke his leg and had titanium plates - surgery twice, cause the screws came out...he was by my side for three months - on a lead, in a cast being carried into and out of anything with is hard - but hopefully she will come out on the other side of this - with full speed ahead - no worse for the wear. I love her cone - it is very fashionable! And love this last photo of her on this post - that is a HAPPY DOG SMILE!!

  27. Hi Danni and Roxy
    Glad to see Roxy is on the mend! Swimming is such a great idea. I have also gone through the head filing cabinet, and in a dusty draw at the bottom, a little spark ignited.

    This is a little foggy, I read and article on how to use a soda can (coke from memory) the top cut off, take off half, cut slits down the side, and bend in. Pad with fabric/cotton, whatever works, so there are no sharp edges, and it will fit around her "good" back foot.

    The idea is to make it uncomfortable for Roxy to use, and to start using her weak leg. You only do this for very short periods, like only a minute to start with. Of course check with your vet.

    Glad all is going well, back to my holidays.

    LiBBiE in Oz

  28. Danni, it's nice to hear everyone is doing better. I thought of you when on July 7th, our 11 year old beagle mix went in for the same surgery. He didn't eat the first day but thankfully, his beagle nature got the best of him and his appetite returned. This is a stressful time for everyone keeping our babies safe!

    Big hugs to you and Roxy and the whole farm.

  29. Hi Danni: Came over from Between the Fenceposts to say hello and check out your blog. You looked like such a riot in your meeting with Sarah and the word 'critters' is like a magnet to me. :)

    i'll be a frequent visitor here! i sure hope your little girl gets to healing! glad she is eating and feeling better at least!


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