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Kuma's LP Surgery and Recovery
  • littlebearlittlebear
    Posts: 144
    Coming Home photo KumaSurgeryComingHome.jpg
    Coming home from surgery.
    Kuma had LP surgery on Thursday 6-6-13. I read all the threads I could find before his surgery and they were helpful. I hope Kuma's surgery thread will be helpful to someone else who will be going through this. I don't profess to be knowledgeable about the subject, just passing on what our vet and surgeon suggested. If anyone that reads this thread is knowledgeable concerning LP/Surgery and sees something that concerns them, please feel free to speak up so other readers will know and may discuss that issue with their doctor. Here is Kuma's journey.
    Kuma will be 2 in October. Before we got Kuma we knew he might have a knee issue. Our breeder told us after one of his health checks. We decided to pick him, with that in mind, knowing we would do whatever we could to give him the best life possible. My husband was preparing for his 2nd knee replacement so maybe we felt it was meant to be. Kuma showed no signs (that we could tell) until April 2013 when on a walk he lifted up his leg, then went back to walking. I took him to our vet. After resting, rimadyl and on leash to potty for a while, he seemed better, but within a few weeks of back to a 15 minute walk, I noticed it again. Off to the surgeon we went for xrays. Kuma needed surgery for LP on his left leg and the surgeon was concerned he might need repair of the ACL.
    Between April and the surgery, I started preparing. I bought toys and treats that I thought would keep him quiet and entertained. Kuma is very reserved. We were actually in Novice II training and going to camp once a week to help him with socialization. He also goes to work with us everyday. So I knew the cone, sling, etc would effect him. I ordered a Cuddle Cone and borrowed my daughter's sling (her Husky had double knee surgery) to get Kuma used to them. We "practiced" wearing them so once he had surgery, they would not be something new along with the painful leg. We set up the den as his recovery area. Luckily Kuma loves his kennels. My daughter had bought 2 husky size kennels that she shipped to my house for when she visited so again we were lucky because now I had 3 different sizes of kennels. I also bought a gate/pen that has probably been my best investment. Richell 3 in 1 Convertible Elite Pet Gate (6 panel). Surgery went well. NO ACL REPAIR NEEDED!
    1st Day Home photo KumaSurgeryHomeConeFoldedBack.jpg
    Kuma 1st day home, with Cuddle Cone on. It is a very stiff cone, but you are able to fold it back to give them a break. If I folded it back I was right with Kuma because he would reach for his knee. What I didn't like was that the inside fabric collected hair, but we took a damp rag and wiped it off several times a day. The velcro closing worried me that it might catch on something, so we basically were with him until the cone came off. Here is a close up of the staple site.
    Close Up of Suture Site photo KumaSurgerySutureCloseUp.jpg
    Our recovery area at home included several kennels, carpet on the floor and several beds and potty pads. Kuma pretty much wanted to stay in his kennel the first week.
    1st Home Set Up photo KumaSurgery1stHomeSetUp.jpg
    He never used the potty pads, I would carry him out to where he normally would go and then carry him back in. His appetite was good, but his water intake worried me. I had purchased a medicine syringe and used that and my daughter had bought me Chillin Bones which was wonderful. It has 4 bone forms I would put a few kibble in and then fill with water and freeze. I was able to keep some kind of track of his water intake. Kuma would only pee once a day for the first week. He finally pooped on the 4th day. YAY! Our surgeon's tech suggested 1/2 tsp of olive oil in 3 meals starting Friday evening to help loosen his stool. Kuma was on Tramadol and Rimadyl and he takes Dasuquin. I had gotten Ace in case it was needed. I was told to try benedryl up to 3 pills a day before trying the Ace. We have not used the Ace, yet. We also iced Kuma's knee for 5 minutes 2X's a day.
    Icing photo KumaSurgeryIcing.jpg
    Surgery was Thursday, Kuma started toe touching on Sunday. We went back to work Monday. Sophie, his best friend (Chihuahua) comes to work everyday too. We let her come see Kuma and with our supervision, she carefully slipped into his kennel and quietly laid down ( We didn't let her stay long) I guess she knew he wasn't well.
    photo KumaSurgeryampSophieinKennel2.jpg
    If Kuma was out of his kennel he was leashed to me. First day back at work taking a break with Kuma.
    1st Day at Work photo KumaSurgeryLyingonChinasCouch.jpg
    After two weeks the staples were removed and even better the cone!
    Cone Off - Staples Out photo KumaSurgery14DaysConeOffStaplesOut.jpg
    Close up of surgery site.
    Close Up after Staples Removed photo KumaSurger14DaysConeOffStaplesOutCloseUp.jpg
    Post edited by littlebear at 2013-07-06 11:18:00
  • littlebearlittlebear
    Posts: 144
    Week 3 home set up with 2 kennels and 2 pen panels seems to work well for Kuma. Gives him just enough space.3 Week Home Set Up photo KumaSurgery3WeeksHomeSetUp.jpg
    Week 3 of office set up with Sophie's little kennel outside Kuma's area.3 Week Office Set Up photo KumaSurgery3WeeksOfficeSetUp.jpg
  • littlebearlittlebear
    Posts: 144
    Yesterday on the 4th we hit week 4. I have added two pen panels to the office set up with an additional bed in the area. At home we still have the same set up. If Kuma is not in his area he is leashed to me with much control.
    I talked to our vet today. We discussed short 10 minute leash walks after 6 to 8 weeks. Erring on the side of caution and how active he can be it was decided to talk again at 8 weeks before any leash walking started. Water therapy was discussed as a possibility after 6 to 8 weeks, but my vet is concerned, knowing how reserved Kuma is, that we might have problems and Kuma is not fond of water. We are going to look into all possibilities concerning how, when and where this could be possible.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    Your set up looks great! Glad to hear he is doing ok. The repairs are so fragile seeming, and so expensive (both financially and simply in terms of being exhausting for human caretakers and stressful for dogs and people) that I also would be very cautious, because who wants to redo it?

    We didn't do water therapy. I knew it would be too stressful for Bel--going to a new place, new people, water, etc. At about four weeks out (maybe, can't remember exact date) I was able to let her go out off leash in her outdoor run. But Bel also was splinted for quite awhile. I believe we took the splint off at 4 weeks. Most vets don't splint, I realize, but it was actually quite a relief for us, as I knew it gave her a bit of stability.

    Anyway, great job keeping him safe and calm! And hang in really is a stressful time, the recovery, for everyone involved.
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1589
    You are awesome!! Glad he's doing well!!
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • kumaDUDEkumaDUDE
    Posts: 1259
    Thank you for this, I am glad everything went smoothly
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    This is incredibly detailed, and all the pictures and your discussion of preparation helps. Thank you so much for starting this thread. You present a good model for how one can prepare. It certainly doesn't sound easy, but you're very calm and thoughtful about the process.

    This will all seem like a distant memory to you and Kuma soon enough! Ganbatte! (Hope your husband recovers/recovered well, too!)
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • littlebearlittlebear
    Posts: 144
    Thanks everyone!
    @shibamistress I have read your thread on Bel several times and it was a big help to me. We have already looked into an outdoor run (eventually) for Kuma or partitioning an area for him, we have a big backyard so I know I will cringe when he first starts going out on his own. (which won't be anytime soon) He is hard to control on leash in the backyard, if he sees someone walking their dog I have to quickly pick him up. We also back up to a golf course, so there is a lot of activity there too. I am being extremely cautious and each week happy to have another week under our belt without a major setback. I hope to keep it that way, just taking one day at a time. You are right, it is stressful, watching him constantly or being tethered to him. I worry about his mental also, he is so used to being active. But it will all be worth it once he can run and play!
    @curlytails I think I have been mentally preparing for this even before we got Kuma. AND my daughter got two husky pups from two different breeders at the end of 2012. She did her research, or so she thought, and the male has already had double knee surgery (last February) She lives in another state, but I stayed with her for over a week to help her take care of both pups. So she had many tips and I have seen it first hand.
    I will be glad when it is just a memory! The weeks seem to drag. Probably more for Kuma than me. My husband has recovered too! Thanks!

  • CrystalWolfCrystalWolf
    Posts: 235
    Poor kuma. Hope he heals well and quickly so he can be back to his active self.
  • Just an update on Kuma's recovery. Tomorrow we will be 13 weeks post op! Kuma is doing great, but we are still cautious. He now has most of the house, we have tile floors downstairs so I have put quite a few large rugs down and have gated the upstairs, the gate will be permanent. We are still keeping him from jumping on and off furniture. He has started walking the neighborhood, we live on a street that circles, which is 1/2 mile. He is still on leash to potty as we have a very large backyard. In October we are planning to split the yard in half with temporary fencing and let him loose. Just talked with his last school trainer and we have gotten the ok to start back with our Novice II class we had to drop. If all goes well we will start back to camp in November. I can't wait for that. The best thing is we decided to try the water therapy. Since Kuma is very reserved and doesn't like anything new I was worried, but here is a pic from his first session. photo KUMA1STWATERTHERAPY8-12-13005.jpg He did great! He just finished his 4th week and they took a video that they said I could post. He is up to two 8 minute walks and even though he doesn't want to do it, he has been a real trooper. We are so proud of him. I am hoping school will go just as well since he hasn't really been around other dogs for a very long time.
    Here's the video!
    Post edited by littlebear at 2013-09-05 14:04:45
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8587
    Glad to hear that things are going so well with Kuma!

    I have heard a lot of great things about canine water therapy and have known several dogs that have done it after LP surgery. I am glad there is a center near you that has it and that Kuma tolerates it fairly well.

    Keep up the great work and keep us posted on how his recovery continues!
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • FoxyloverFoxylover
    Posts: 971
    Thank you so much for posting such detailed info on Kuma's surgery and aftercare. I am now facing this issue with Foxy and it helps to prepare myself to know what's all going to be involved.
  • @Foxylover Oh I am so sorry! Have you decided on a surgery date? Please keep me updated. My best advice is to take everything slow and give as much extra time as possible for healing. Also one thing I don't think I mentioned was that I had the surgery tech cut Kuma's nails really short once they sedated him. He hates to have his nails cut. That bought us some time until the next clipping and we semi sedated him for the vet to cut them and have done that since. Have not wanted him to be jerking that leg around. Good Luck!

  • Just an update. Kuma will be 19 weeks post op tomorrow on his 2nd birthday! We are back to school and he was so excited to go and has done great, even back to his true Shiba style of occasionally running around the ring on recall :) He is still going to water therapy but we now are going every two weeks with an appointment today. He now has part of his backyard and was so excited when he got to go off leash for the first time, you could see the smile on his face. As for keeping him off the the video
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    Hi, thanks for documenting this. I had a few questions:
    Kuma showed no signs (that we could tell) until April 2013 when on a walk he lifted up his leg, then went back to walking. I took him to our vet. After resting, rimadyl and on leash to potty for a while, he seemed better, but within a few weeks of back to a 15 minute walk, I noticed it again.

    Can you describe this better? Tatonka lifts his leg to pee all the time during walks, so this is not what you mean, I think.

    It's not clear to me about your work situation. Do you work 8 hours a day in an office, or do you work from home? What do you do with him when you are away? Did you take time off work for the first couple weeks or couple days?

  • FoxyloverFoxylover
    Posts: 971
    @littlebear I haven't decided on anything yet. Her knee popped out on her last week which left her screaming. I took her to the vet and they said they could feel bone on bone. This is on her right side. At her 1 yr. check up they told me they could feel a grade 2 luxating patella on the rt. leg so I started giving her glucocimine and walking her more trying to get some weight off her. At her 2 yr. they told me they couldn't feel anything so I thought the glucosimine and walking must have worked.
    In August I rescued a kitten and the two of them have been playing and roughhousing up/down the stairs on/off the couch etc. so I think this is what has triggered this latest flare up.

    They put her on an anti-inflammatory and pain med for the next two weeks and I'm restricting her activities. I've got her sectioned off in the kitchen when I'm not home so she is not tempted to go up/down the stairs.

    She's been walking fine now on cement. It's only on the grass that she walks on three legs lifting her right hind one. I also notice she has trouble squatting to pee as I suspect it bothers her to bend like that.

    I take her back for a re-check tomorrow. The vet said that if this doesn't work then we'll need to consult with a surgeon. So now I'm just doing as much research as I can on this to prepare myself for what I could be facing. I won't be doing it until next year as I'll need to save up for it. Unless of course she's in pain then I'll do it as soon as necessary. Unfortunately it's not going to be covered by my insurance and I'll be spaying the kitty in Dec.

    I'm open to all advice I can get.
    Post edited by Foxylover at 2013-10-16 18:06:39
  • FoxyloverFoxylover
    Posts: 971
    P.s. I love the video!! He's looking at you like, "I dare you to take my couch prvilages away again!!"
  • @tatonka I have been searching for a short video that I did on my phone of Kuma's gait that I took to the vet when this first started, but I can't seem to find it. When he would walk he would lift the leg just a little and hop a step or two and then go right back to walking. Kuma lifts he leg to pee also, but it is nothing like that, I think it is when the patella is slipping out then slips right back in. If anyone reading this can better describe it, please feel free. Will continue to look to see if I still have the video. Kuma goes to work with us. Our hours change due to client's schedules, but normally 9 to 5. I am fortunate that I work with my husband and daughter. She brings her chihuahua to work also. The surgery was on a Thursday morning and we picked him up that afternoon. I took off work Friday and we went back to work on Monday. My hours were shorter at first, just because it took me longer to get ready to leave. I was able to leave my desk and go to the back room where he was set up and spend time with him. If he was sleeping then I was at my desk. If I was back with him my voice mail picked up the missed calls and then I returned them. He really didn't want to move around that much the first week. I basically didn't leave him alone. We were at home or work. I slept on an airbed the first week or so right by his kennel. After his cone came off we moved him back and forth from his home set up in the den to a kennel in our bedroom where he normally sleeps. I had cleared everything but work from my calendar, and that was cleared as much as possible. If something was needed my husband ran and got it. Might sound a little over done but I wanted to make sure that nothing went wrong and again I am fortunate that I could do that. Kuma wasn't very active at first and he stayed in a kennel. Once he was moving a little we added space as you can see in the pictures, it was a very small space. Hope this makes it more clear.
  • @Foxylover Kuma's patella would slip and then go right back. I never could tell that he was in pain. We had a choice to keep his activity restricted, due to concern of the ACL or do the surgery. Since he is so active and loves to go to camp where he plays with the big dogs, we decided to go ahead with the surgery. He still has not gone back to camp, but I hope that will be soon. I have gated my stairs and they will stay gated. I think that they played a big part in his troubles. I had them gated when he was little, but had given him freedom to roam and he loved to run up and down them....not a good thing for him to do. We kept Kuma restricted until the surgery, no running in the house, no going on walks and on leash to potty. He was on a leash to potty for approximately 7 months. Just got his freedom and I worry about him running like he does now, but supposedly it is time and he really needed to be let lose. You could tell he was unhappy. And as you could see in the video he is back to his normal crazy self! I totally understand needing to save for the surgery. It is not cheap. My daughter's husky had double knee surgery and where she went there was some kind of credit type card that allowed you to pay it off by a certain time with no interest. I hope you can continue what you are doing and that will give you time to prepare. Good luck on the vet visit tomorrow and let me know what they say. Will be thinking about both of you!
  • FoxyloverFoxylover
    Posts: 971
    Thanks Littlebear! I really appreciate the input!
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Great detailing on Kuma's surgery! I'm so glad Kuma liked water therapy. It works great for those dogs that 'get it.'

    Sheba, my foster walks a bit bow legged in the back. Is this one of the symptoms of a future ACL problem? She's female and squats to pee, and does it quite often. So far, she has not shown any pain while squatting. Because she was so heavy, I am concerned about her legs and joints. What should I be looking for?
  • This is a really good thread, with lots of information, and I'm so glad to see the Kuma is doing so well!

    They way I've seen LP work is like this: the dog lifts the leg and kicks it backwards in the air sometimes, trying to get the patella back in place. Sometimes they might cry when they do this if it is painful, but sometimes it just slips back in place and doesn't seem to hurt them. Or they may hold up one leg if it is starting to get worse.

    @foxylover.....I usually say kind of wait it out the LP, because a dog may have it and never get it bad enough to need surgery (my older, overweight Shiba has had mild LP for his entire life, and it hasn't gotten any worse, thankfully). But I admit that your girl's sounds more extreme. That was pretty much what happened with my girl, Bel. First it was just mild, then something happened where it got significantly worse. Sometimes, just every day playing and running and jumping can cause a lot of problems because of the way the patella slides. By the time Bel was acting as you described, though, carrying on rear leg, and having problems squatting to pee, her knee was in very bad shape but her ACL was also torn. We did surgery on that knee at that point.

    There are some nonsurgical options for ACL tears that involve serious restricted activity, but I think (am not sure here--ask your vet) that those possibilities don't work so well when the ACL tears are triggered by LP.

    It does sound like your girl may need the surgery as well, but your vet will be able to give you a good sense of your options.
  • FoxyloverFoxylover
    Posts: 971
    Thanks Lisa! I just called and made an appt. for next Tues. That's when my regular vet will be in and I have to take the kitty in for her next round of shots that day anyway. Until then, I'll continue giving her her meds and keeping her confined to the kitchen/patio when I'm not home.

    Funny, through all this she has become quite the lap dog!!! Now, she always want to sit right on me or across me.

    I'll keep you guys posted. I really appreciate the feedback!!
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Thanks Shibamistress, Sheba has yet to lift her knee in the air, so hopefully, she's fine. She's got enough problems as it is and I'm more than happy not to have to worry about another. :D

    Foxylover, hope the vet has some good news for you and Foxy. Lap dog is a good dog! :)
  • I found the video of Kuma's limp that I was talking about before surgery.
    Post edited by littlebear at 2013-10-17 16:53:56
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Says the video is private... :(
  • @amti sorry, will check it out.
  • JScarf5JScarf5
    Posts: 202
    @littlebear - Thank you for such a detailed description of the surgery and recovery. You and your husband seem like EXCEPTIONAL owners and are willing to do whatever it takes for your pup. It all looks very well planned and the water therapy is amazing! It's so amazing to see all of the things that are available for our furbabies these days and its great to see such great owners doing the very best for their pet.
  • littlebear: thanks for the video on the walk showing the leg kick, classic example and really helpful! With LP it at least has some surgical options if you get to it soon enough.

    Thanks for sharing : )
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
    @littlebear thanks so much for the video! I've heard about the leg kick of LP, & Rigby sometimes does an odd kick when he's touched something (I think) with his back leg that he doesn't like. It's not like Kuma's though, so that gives me some relief! I'll still mention it to the vet at his annual check up.

    I hope Kuma continues to do well post-op! :)
    Jenn, Shiba Slave to Rigby /
  • Thanks everyone! I read every thread and anything else I could find when I was preparing. I hope this will be of some help to anyone who has to go through LP surgery. Will update again, hopefully with all good news!
    @Foxylover keep me posted!
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Thanks littlebear! Got to see it. The limp is very distinctive and the video very helpful! :)
  • RAM25RAM25
    Posts: 317
    Shinobi does this with her rear right leg too. I've been to 2 different vets about it (as in 2 different practices, about 10 actual vets), they've both tried to manipulate the knee and said it feels very strong but an x-ray is needed. They've said they'll do the x-ray during her spay. She's 1 tomorrow and still not spayed due to a series of unfortunate events. It's good to read this though and see other people have dealt with it, it's the not knowing that upsets me, a few times I've convinced myself it's hip dysplasia but I can see from this thread it sounds a lot like a knee problem. I've never noticed any pain and it's very intermittent so perhaps it's mild. We had her on anti-inflammatories too but she was sick with them so we had to stop. Glucusamine has seemed the best treatment so far for us.
    Post edited by RAM25 at 2013-10-19 06:05:41
  • @Shinobi We were told about Kuma's knee before we picked him so one vet had already manipuated and thought his knee was a little loose. Once he showed signs our vet did manipulate the left knee and said it was loose. At the surgeon's x rays were done and he showed us and also manipulated the left knee while Kuma was still out from the x rays. Kuma's right knee is a little loose too, but supposedly nothing to worry about. I do always have that in the back of my mind though. Also his x rays showed not the best hips, but nothing needed to be done about the hips either. We did immediately put him on Dasuquin and Rymadil. He is off the Rymadil but the Dasuqin is from now on. I am sorry you had problems with the anti-inflammatory, I think they bothered Kuma a little so we gave him the smallest dose we could and got him off them as soon as possible. Kuma didn't do the limp at all until we saw it on a walk one day, then it was every walk. My vet thinks our stairs, running and jumping on and off the furniture and running our fence might have made his knee worse. He also enjoys camp with the big dogs. Taking all that away from him forever was not an option and we were worried about his ACL. He would have been so unhappy, so surgery was scheduled. He will never get the stairs back, but hopefully soon he will have all the other things he enjoys. The vet he goes to for water therapy also does acupuncture and holistic medicine so I am really excited about that in case we need it in the future as he ages. I would think you vets would have been able to tell if the knee was loose. Kuma's was very evident. I am so sorry Shinobi is having problems and I hope the x rays show nothing needs to be done. Good luck and let me know what the x rays show. And Happy Birthday Shinobi!
  • RAM25 said:

    Shinobi does this with her rear right leg too. I've been to 2 different vets about it (as in 2 different practices, about 10 actual vets), they've both tried to manipulate the knee and said it feels very strong but an x-ray is needed. They've said they'll do the x-ray during her spay. She's 1 tomorrow and still not spayed due to a series of unfortunate events. It's good to read this though and see other people have dealt with it, it's the not knowing that upsets me, a few times I've convinced myself it's hip dysplasia but I can see from this thread it sounds a lot like a knee problem. I've never noticed any pain and it's very intermittent so perhaps it's mild. We had her on anti-inflammatories too but she was sick with them so we had to stop. Glucusamine has seemed the best treatment so far for us.

    I would think that if they can't actually manipulate it and make it slide out, then it is not that bad. Might as well do the xray I guess, but if it's really mild there isn't much to do at all, except watch it, and glucosamine is a good supplement to help keep the joints gliding correctly. In my dogs, my vet has easily been able to feel it (and showed me how to feel it too). The girl Shiba was a mess, but the boy is mostly tight and strong--it just occasionally slips out.

    I wonder about giving them a regular dosage of antiinflammatories before they actually know? My vet tends to do that too--they want both my dogs on a regular dose because they both have some problems in the cervical vertebrae, but I decided instead to use them as needed, because I don't think it's great for them to be on them all the time. (some are hard on the liver, some are hard on the kidneys--depends on the drug). I can tell when the Akita is sore, and so I give him his meds then. Still figuring it out with the Shiba though. different problem, of course.

    Also, elk antler velvet is a great supplement that a lot of people have had really good success with for dogs with joint issues. It's super pricey, so I haven't been using it regularly yet. But people who have used it have had great success with it.
  • FoxyloverFoxylover
    Posts: 971
    @littlebear & @shibamistress So I took Foxy to the Vet today and they did x-rays which showed no tear or anything like that. She did say that her Right LP is at a grade high 3-4 about 70%. The main thing she wants to do is get some weight off her. I've been trying to do this for a year now. She's currently 24lbs and they want her at 21 lbs. I reluctantly went with Hills Metobolic diet but I may change my mind on this. It took me so long to find a good food that didn't cause her stomach issues I really don't want to go down that road again. She's currently on Great Life and only eats a 1/4 cp in the am and another 1/4 in the pm. Her treats are healthy freeze dried sweet potato strips where she'll have 1 or 2 a day.

    We go on a 2 mile walk every morning then I have someone walk her in the afternoon when I'm at work and take her out again in the evening though that one isn't as long.

    I'm pretty frustrated at this point. They also want to do Adequan injections for 8 weeks then once a month for 4 months. I let them do one today but don't know if I'll continue since I'm already giving her all the other supplements. I don't want to go through all this to only end up having to do surgery anyway.

    So obviously I've got some tough decisions to make. :(
    Post edited by Foxylover at 2013-10-22 20:37:41
  • FoxyloverFoxylover
    Posts: 971
    @Notoriousscrat yes, I had it checked four months ago and it was fine.
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    @littlebear, thanks for the detailed info and thanks for the video.

    General question. I did notice one time Tatonka walking in from the backyard on 3 legs. I say 'walking' and not hopping is because he was walking just like he would normally but on 3 legs instead of 4. I got really worried, but after about 20-30 seconds he put the leg down and was walking around fine on it (there was no kicking or snapping like in the video). He sleeps on his side and it SEEMED like to me that one of his legs had fallen asleep. He hasn't once done it since. Do dogs's legs fall asleep generally?
  • @foxylover....don't do the science diet! It's a terrible food, and if she already has digestive issues, that's a terrible food for them even to suggest! So stick to your own plan about what food works well for her.

    I don't know what adequan is, so I looked it thoughts there, though I would wonder about the need for the shots? Is it really going to help or not? I guess if I were you, I'd spend more time researching and trying to decide how useful it is, and frankly, given how expensive the surgery can be, I might even consider getting a second opinion on treatment/surgical options.

    @tatonka...I don't know, but I imagine it must happen, you know? If Tatonka has only done it once, I wouldn't worry about it.
  • @tatonka You are welcome! If what we have been through helps anyone, that makes this thread yet another resource for information. Kuma was doing the limp walk on pretty much every walk. I didn't really notice it at other times, but I probably just missed it. I agree with shibamistress.

    @foxylover Oh so sorry. Shibamistress knows way more about all this than I do and I do agree with her. I do have experience with Adequan. Our deceased Akita mix rescue was what I call a special needs dog for all his 13 years. He had a very bad back and saw the same surgeon when he was one year old that we used for Kuma. His x rays showed problems up and down his spinal column. The surgeon said way to bad to try to fix. He said he didn't think he would live long...(he did get that wrong, but I think it was also why we called him our million dollar dog:)) The surgeon started him on Adequan, which he took for his entire life. VERY EXPENSIVE. Our vet at the time said he was sorry, (we had thought it was his hip) which would have been fixable. Bear (Akita mix at 120 lbs in his prime) also took Tagamet due to the Adequan and Rymidal. He then also took steriod shots in his last years. We were lucky that the worst spots supposedly calcified, but he couldn't curl or bend his back. At 13 he lost feeling in his hind legs, which we knew would eventually happen. I think these drugs could be very bad in the long run (especially if you already have stomach issues) which was why I was so questioning both our vet and our surgeon about Kuma's dosage and length on Rymidal. From what I have read once the LP gets to a certain point, there are not many options beside surgery? Something about the groove that the patella sits in? Also would any tear definitely show up on the x ray? The worse the knee gets, the more damage there can be, along with arthritis? Maybe someone with more knowledge can help here. I have heard of vets waiting for dogs to lose weight before they do surgery. Was this vet also going to be your surgeon? We live in Oklahoma and have a vet school in our state that also has a clinic and hospital. A friend of mine has used them and said they have state of the art equipment and are not as costly. We would of had a drive and the surgeon we used came highly reccommened so we decided to stay local. Is there anything like that where you live? My vet is big on keeping Kuma lean, which I understand, but I am also having the same problem you are. Kuma weighs around 25 lbs. My vet would like him at 23 lbs. We have been able to dip down to 24, but don't seem to stay there. My vet carries Hills too, but I do not feed Kuma Hills. I agree with shibamistress, if you can, maybe a second opinion. Just from what I have read, seems like you will possibly be expending much time and money and then still having the expense and time of surgery.
  • FoxyloverFoxylover
    Posts: 971
    @littlebear "Just from what I have read, seems like you will possibly be expending much time and money and then still having the expense and time of surgery."

    That's exactly what I was thinking.... However, I think I'll try the pre-made raw route to see if I can get some weight off her. I'm going to head out to a pet-store that carries a variety of ones, Primal, Natures Variety, Steves etc... and hope that she can recommend something. I'm going to return the Hills. I can't even believe I opened it.

    Meanwhile, I'll continue to restrict her activities in the house (chasing kitty up/down stairs & jumping on/off couch) and continue her walks and the Glucosemine & other supplements.

    I'll give it a couple months and see if it's any better, if not, I'll research the surgery route and get a second opinion.

    by the way, that sounds awful what your Akita mix went through with his spine. Poor baby :(
  • @Foxylover Did your vet ever have you quit walking? My vet did. And on leash to potty. Seemed to help for a short while but then Kuma started the limp again. I also think I read somewhere that if rest and anti inflammatory drugs don't do the trick then nothing much is left but surgery?
    Kuma eats Natures Variety Instinct Raw Medallions. We do not get the chicken just because we think he might be somewhat allergic to chicken. I am sure my vet would probably recommend Hills because he sells it, but I have known him for quite a while and he knows that I won't use it. We did feed it to Bear (he was our first dog). Live and learn. He actually was a pretty happy dog and was still playful the week before we had to put him to sleep. He loved to chase squirrels and golf carts :) As soon as he couldn't walk you could tell he was frantic and quality of life was gone so I let him go. Swore I would never get another dog....I am so thankful I did.
    Sounds like you have a good plan keep me updated!
  • FoxyloverFoxylover
    Posts: 971
    @littlebear, no I haven't been told not to walk her just mostly restrict the running/jumping. Thank goodness because I couldn't imagine how I would get the weight off with even less exercise.

    So I went to a really good pet supply place tonight and while I thought I'd start introducing her to pre-made raw I was advised to cut her Great Life kibble just a bit more and add Diggin Pumpkin/Cranberry to her kibble. The lady there felt she'd do better with more fiber and that rather than mess with her already sensitive stomach right now it was more important to get the weight off using something she's already used to. I appreciated that she didn't try to sell me a bunch of stuff that may not have been critical to the situation at hand. She felt that once I get the weight off if I want to go that route it would be better at that time.

    I'm glad you didn't give up after Bear as it seems you were destined to be a great dog parent :)

    Foxy is my first dog..... boy what a experience we've had. Not sure if you know her story but if you look up Giardia, you'll see what we've been through so far..... it's been very tough and I am calling her my million dollar dog also... Hahaha
    Post edited by Foxylover at 2013-10-23 22:59:17
  • @Foxylover OMG I just read through the Guardia thread! How awful and I am so glad you confronted your breeder. I am surprised you got money out of her, good for you! Poor Foxy! Glad you found someone to talk to about her food. Hope that works. My daughter has 2 huskies and one of them has a very sensitive stomach and she has had issues with Guardia too. You two have been through so much. Foxy is so lucky to have you!
  • RAM25RAM25
    Posts: 317
    Thank you "Shibamistress" and Foxylover I've only just seen your comments! Thank you for the advice and Shinobi had a great brithday, thank youu XXX
    Post edited by RAM25 at 2013-10-24 01:53:26
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Foxylover, I saw you were starting Foxy out on raw and your Foxy has a sensitive tummy. Kaji has a sensitive stomach and after a recall on his Innova food, I went raw. There are a lot of different thoughts on how to feed raw so it would be best to read up on them and decide what you think will work for Foxy. I don't feed premade raw, but instead, I went full out raw for several reasons. One was cost, but the most important reason was I could control what he ate. Most people start out on plain chicken with bone. Many dogs get the runs when they start out on raw. I believe I gave mine a chicken leg and they ate it all (on the second day- just licked and sniffed the first day) but a lot of people recommend giving a whole chicken and letting a dog take his time to learn how to eat. Kaji's poop was very soft at first, then slightly firmer and slimy on the outside for about 10-14 days. It got harder as the days went on but the slime was still there. I kept him on this until his poop became normal. Once there was slime, I removed the skin and fat and it helped. The slime means there is some GI upset which was from the transition. I was doing kibble in the morning and raw at night, but stopped my morning kibble to speed up his transition, and that helped. My other dogs, Taisho and Sheba, had no issues whatsoever (they were rescues/fosters so they were used to eating anything and everything). After everything was normal, I added a new meat, then organs (one at a time). You go very slowly at first. Once their body does well on a new protein for a few days, then you introduce something new.

    I think the premade raw patties are really convenient and great. But with a premade patty, you don't have the option to go slow because everything (meat, organs, liver, bone) is mixed in already. You also lose some of the benefits of feeding raw when you give nothing but ground meats. Tearing at the food, chewing bones, and eating real uncut raw meat involves so many more senses. Eating becomes work where food isn't just gobbled up, but licked, chewed, pulled, sniffed, rolled around, and crunched. The tearing and crunching is what cleans the teeth and keeps them clean. When you think of how kibble is eaten, and then see a dog eat solid raw meat, then you'll see how it differs and why dogs on kibble get nasty teeth.
  • FoxyloverFoxylover
    Posts: 971
    @amti that's great advice. Thanks. I've decided to hold off for now. See my above post. This will give me more time to do the proper research becuase the last thing I want to go through is more digestive issues with her on top of everything else.
  • catloreecatloree
    Posts: 1541
    OMG poor Kuma! I'm am so sorry to hear that he had to go through all of that. It was heartwarming to watch the latest video of him, though, he looks like he is doing so great! You guys are awesome for taking such incredible care of Kuma throughout the process!
    Catherine (human), Elwood (Shiba), & Sadie (Pomeranian)
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    Saw Tatonka do the weird skip during pur walk Tuesday night. The vet examined his knees and determined his right back knee had slid out and back in and that the area was inflamed. He's on anti inflammatories and confined to "gentle" activity for 2 wks.

    Should I freak out about this or is it generally not a big deal, health wise?
  • @catloree Thanks! Kuma is doing great. Of course, I probably will always cringe when he is running around, but it was time to give him space and freedom. He has been so much happier! But, it was worth keeping him restricted to give everything time to heal and mend!

    @tatonka Oh sorry :( Did the vet say what grade or how loose the knee was? I remember you posted earlier in the thread, is it the same leg? Make sure you keep him inactive. Kuma's other knee (right) is just slightly loose, but we were told not to worry about it, but of course, I do... We have never seen any issues with it. I think it depends on the severity. I have read that if it is not bad that rest and anti inflammatory drugs might be all that is needed. We did what you are doing now, and I hope this is all that Tatonka will need. When we started walking again, after several days, Kuma had the same symtoms, so we went to our surgeon who sedated him and took x rays.

    Just an update, Kuma is now 5 months post-op. He is still doing water therapy (by choice) every other week. We will probably continue that as long as we can afford it. We just finished our Novice II class early...skipping the test...and we are going to retake the class again in the Spring with our same instructor. Kuma was so happy to be back, he decided that on recall, as he is running to me, it was time to do a Shiba 500.... We figured that all the other dog parents (no one has a Shiba) would be happy to test without Kumie interruptions:) Kuma went back to camp on Tuesday for the first time, just for a few hours. He was so excited, he looked like a vibrator, wriggling around telling everyone hello. Once he was back with the dogs, they said he was his usual self, smiling (showing teeth) when he first goes in and someone (dog) gets in his face and then he's ok. He is in with the big dogs, so I was concerned about his knee, but they watched him close and all was fine. He will go back to his normal schedule of once a week. Kuma is back to his pre surgery life to the most part, he seems fine and is happy for the freedom. If we had to do it over again we would do the surgery, for us it was the only option.
    Post edited by littlebear at 2013-11-14 17:52:25

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