12 1/2 Weeks…

It’s been a very, very long three months, but I’m pleased to report this evening that Winston has been given a clean bill of health by his orthopedic surgeon. He’s clear to resume normal activities up to and including use of the stairs on a limited basis over the next month. As happy as I am that my boy is good to go, I’m even happier that I can stop making regular monthly donations to the new wing that I’m sure I’ve been financing on the vet’s house.

WinstonWhen we started the TPLO process three months ago, I’m sure the vet was trying to be reassuring when she told me that a decade ago this was the kind of injury that would have been grounds for putting a dog down. The thought would have never occurred to me. Because for the last 50 years Americans have had more money than brains, it seems that just about any kind of surgery you and I can get, our four legged friends can get too. The marvels of medical science have definitely not left our pets out of their unending march of progress. In fact one of the forms I signed this morning was basically an advanced directive for Winston – laying out how heroic I expect their life saving efforts to be if his heart should happen to stop while he was getting his x-rays done. For the record, I was ok with them performing basic CPR and administering electronic defibrillation. That seemed like a reasonable compromise between “do nothing” and “crack open his ribcage and perform emergency open heart surgery.”

I’m told that Winston had a good day of wandering around with some of the techs and generally being the attention whore that he is. What can I say, my boy is a chick magnet. It was obviously hard work, because he’s been snoring in his crate since about three minutes after we got home this afternoon. I’d say he’s earned a rest.

For the moment, all is once again right with the world… but he’s a bulldog and I know that means the next medical disaster is out their just waiting to happen. Although I have no idea what it might be, I hope it hold off long enough to let me finish paying for the one we just got through.

2 thoughts on “12 1/2 Weeks…

  1. Hi! So, I googled TPLO and English bulldogs and your blog came up. Even those this seems to have happened to Winston 5 years ago I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about your experience. Earlier this week my girl was diagnosed w “suggestive bilateral ACL rupture.” Ortho is recommending surgery on both 4 weeks apart. This dog is MY WORLD and I’m currently in panic mode! She is still walking and running and playing, but after is obviously sore. She also uses her front legs to get up from sitting down. Would you do the TPLO over again??? I’m dreading this experience first and foremost for her, but also my sanity. Keeping her low key for 3 months..ughhh. Any advice?? My email is laurenmyrick24@gmail.com. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! -Lauren

    • Hi Lauren. I can tell you that the TPLO surgery for Winston was effective. Within 6 months he was back to doing everything he could do before the rupture. It was a long six months, but I guess that’s just one of the prices you pay for the company of bulldogs. The first month was a lot of crate rest and then I was able to give him a little more room to move. I set up a “play pen” of sorts in the living room that was probably 5’x5′ and he could at least stand, take a few steps and be a little more involved with the rest of the household. There was a lot of icing his leg, sling walking (at first), and staying up on the rehab exercise. You wouldn’t think a dog who was on crate rest would be more work than a dog who is heathy, but it was.

      Having the surgeries four weeks apart sounds daunting (and of course expensive!). Winston wasn’t bilateral, but his other ACL did rupture almost 3 years to the day after the first surgery. The ortho told be up front that was likely to happen eventually. Based on his age when the second one happened, I decided against the second surgery. My 8 year old bulldog is a lot less active than his 5 year old self. We were able to treat for a month with pain meds and restricted activities to give his body time to build scar tissue around the joint. If he had been younger when the second leg went, I would probably have gone with the surgical option. Winston is coming up on his 10th birthday in the next few months and is getting along remarkably well considering one leg is full of metal and the other is full of scar tissue.

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