Everyone has a different experience with this but here’s a synopsis of Tate’s first week. I thought it might be helpful to someone facing a hemipelvectomy for their dog; everyone else will be snoring by Day 3.
Day 1 (Surgery Day). Normal hemipelvectomy, very stable, followed by nothing but drug-induced sleep.
Day 2. “Fabulous” is a relative term. “Miserable” to the uneducated eye. Regardless, he was standing and sort of walking, drinking and sort of eating, wearing a shoulder-to-tail stretchy mesh bandage.
Day 3. We didn’t see him but Dr. reported steady progress. IV out, the only remaining issue was the drainage, still too high to come home.
Day 4. Continued progress but still a lot of drainage. They cut back on his Tramadol. We brought him home in the evening; he was his normal happy self but slower, and in need of lots of attention. His appetite was great but he was drinking a lot more water than usual.
Day 5. He was panting and stressed; called and the nurse said it was okay to add more Tramadol. A bruise developed close to the incision. Couldn’t maintain suction on the drain, plus it looked like there was a leak where the tubing meets the plastic and Tate kept licking it. Put on his e-collar but he wouldn’t lay down, staggered and stumbled around and I was worried he’d fall. I decided to just sit with him outside. His nose was very busy!
Brought him to the vet; Dr. Scott said the “leakage” is just weeping, of no concern. He took off the full-body bandage and put a little patch on the drain site, secured with a wrap and Tate was much happier. Slept the whole rest of the day. Much quieter night. But his appetite is declining a bit.
Without the mesh bandage, his butt looks so tiny, but she did plump it up with surrounding muscle.
Day 6. Very normal morning, ate, drank, peed, pooped (it’s a little hard for him to keep his balance to poop.) But all his parts down south seemed swollen. It didn’t bother him until about 2 hours later, all of a sudden he started panting and licking like crazy. Dad iced it (why didn’t I think of that?) and it was like flipping a switch, he immediately settled and fell asleep. Same thing happened again in the afternoon, and hours later in the evening. His appetite is even less.
Day 7. Similar to yesterday, ice packs and the usual med routine. But he hopped out to greet me when I got home from work. By evening, he is showing more interest in activities, asking for a toy. But then he doesn’t know which one to choose and gives up. I think he’s bored.
Dr. called with path results (see previous post); she said the “swelling” is actually fluid accumulation and it will go away as the fluid is absorbed into his body.
Day8. The day got off to a great start, clearly less pain, more appetite, more wagging. We reduced the Tramadol, 2 instead of 3 and he’s been depressed and unsociable all day. Didn’t budge when I got home from work. Gets up and walks away from us when we try to spend time with him even for favorite activities like a good brushing. Right now he is lying outside, hiding under the low branches of the spruce tree. His new favorite place.
I am hoping it is just an adjustment to the meds, and not really being sad. At least we are past the panting and need for ice packs, and he’s able to lie on his left side again.