Thursday, November 21, 2013

State of the Marnie Address

On Tuesday, Marnie underwent her first femoral head ostomy (FHO) surgery on her right hip. With this surgery, the head of her right femur was removed, thereby removing the bone-on-bone action in her hip that has been causing her so much pain. The surgery went well, and I picked Marnie up from the University of Minnesota's Small Animal Clinic yesterday. I even managed to snap a quick picture of her post-operative xrays for you all.

In this xray, you can see on the left how they've take the head of her femur off. To increase her stability on this side, they also moved some of the muscles and ligaments. On the right, you can see her "good" hip. In a dog with healthy hips, there would be a clean, clear line between the ball and socket of her hip joint. In Marnie's hips, however, you can see how blurry the joint is as well as some of the spurring cause by arthritis - that is what a painful hip looks like. According to her vet at Blackberry, Marnie shouldn't be able to walk steadily at all on her hips, let alone run and play ball like she loves to do.

In two weeks, Marnie will see a rehab specialist at the U to get started on a more intensive physical therapy regimen. We're to start physical therapy until then first to give her surgical wound a chance to heal up. Second, this will let the muscles in her surgical hip scar and tighten up a bit to help support the joint (or lack thereof). Until then, we'll be doing passive range of motion three time a day on her knee and ankle to keep them from stiffening up. We'll also be icing her hip four times a day. She go on three or four short, five to ten minute walks per day to encourage her to use the surgical leg (for the next week, these walks will be with the assistance of a hindquarters sling to help her stay stable and keep her from slipping and tearing the weakened muscles on the side of her operation). Marnie is already touching the ground on her not-a-hip leg when she walks, which is a great sign. Other than this mild rehab, for the next two weeks, Marnie will be on complete crate rest - no jumping on the couch, no stairs, no hiking, no swimming, and no ball.

So how is Ms. Marnie doing? Well, she's miserable. There's not really a way to sugar coat that. She's sore, and the pain meds make her drunk, and she doesn't understand what's happened to her. It's hard, when you don't have a way to tell someone that they'll get better, that this was the right thing to do for the big picture. I wish I could have five minutes with her where we speak the same language, and I could try and justify what we've done to her.

But in spite of her pain and confusion, Marnie has never shown anything except kindness to her care takers. Through all the poking and prodding and needles and knives, she's never so much as raised a lip to anyone. In fact, she continues to greet everyone she meets as if they were her long-lost best friends. She has a good soul, this dog, and her new family is going to be incredibly lucky to have her.

Marnie made me promise not to post any picture of her gorked out on pain meds,
so here's a pre-surgery picture for your viewing pleasure.

No comments:

Post a Comment