The beginning of a unknown journey..
Our journey begins almost a year ago with a very slight limp. A limp that was a mystery and was believed to be a muscle tear that would heal with reduced activity. After months passed with reduced adventuring and exercise it became apparent that a muscle tear was not the cause of Kyro's odd on and off limp.
We consulted Veterinarians and ran a variety of tests trying to determine what was the cause. Answers were being evasive and the mystery continued to grow. A balance of rest, exercise and Rovera (an anti-inflammatory medication) was started which seemed to help allivate the symptoms.
An answer was discovered..
After a period of truly not knowing the culprit of Kyro's odd on/off limp and lameness a Knee X-ray finally gave a hint of an answer. Inflammation was found in the X-ray around his knee and is a sign of a possible cruciate ligament tear. With this possibility we went to consult with an Orthopedic surgeon. The diagnosis was not 100% as some of Kyro's symptoms matched with a tear, but he didn't display real pain, or the symptoms that would scream a full tear. With a tear being possible though- we went ahead and scheduled a TPLO surgery.
Surgery day rolled around and the mystery grew once again. Kyro's updated films showed improvement in his injury when it was expected to worsen. Yet, his external symptoms (on/off lameness) had increased. Due to this, our Orthopedic doctor found herself scratching her head. She did not want to go ahead with surgery if it was not the right treatment for whatever injury was causing him his odd limp. We agreed that doing other tests first was worth it to ensure the right decision was being made. Her other concern was that he may have a very difficult to diagnose arthritis. To test for this, they needed to draw fluid from his ankle and knee joints. If excessive fluid was drawn, it would need to be tested. They shaved several spots and began the procedure. It was clear rather quickly that he did not have an excess of fluid as they were struggling to pull any from his joints.
She paused, I could see her thoughts flashing through her eyes. Slowly, she met my gaze. "I think we should go ahead with the TPLO." The certainty in her eyes had me convinced. She and the staff had taken such incredible care of him- I didn't doubt their judgement.
Shortly after this was agreed upon, Kyro was fully sedated and prepped for surgery. They shaved a square above his tail to give an epidural. They also shaved the entire leg that would be having surgery done on. I watched the hair slowly come off of him and found myself saying: "you know... I feel like 20lbs of Kyro's weight is actually made up of hair." A chuckle came from the Doctor and Techs in agreement.
Note: You should never shave a double-coated dog unless it's for a medical reason, or procedure. Double-coats are specially built to regulate temperature and protect their skin. When shaved many huskies end up with sun-burns, dry skin, skin conditions and have a difficult time controlling their body temperatures.
I followed them as they took Kyro to the OR room to begin his TPLO. Having watched them prepare him for surgery and administer such wonderful care to him- I felt relaxed and comfortable that he was in fantastic hands. I was worried, of course, but less worried after interacting with the staff.
Under the knife..
I waited outside the OR for awhile. Watching them begin the procedure before exhaustion finally won me over. I talked to one of the Vet Techs about the next steps and she ensured me they would call me with an update as soon as he was awake. I headed home, worry in my gut but knowing he would be OK.
Once home, I passed the time by editing photos I hadn't completed from our previous adventures. I communicated with dear friends and shared updates with my second family online. The support from the online community had me at even more ease. Several hours later I received a call from Dr. Walker telling me the procedure was a great success. Once they got into the knee they discovered the ligament was indeed frayed and we'd actually caught the injury quite early. Due to this, they left the ligament in tack with the belief that it may actually have a chance to heal now that the TPLO procedure had been done.
If you aren't sure what a TPLO is, here's a great article about the procedure!:
Everyone fell in love with him..
I was beyond relieved to find out we had indeed gone with the best course of treatment for him. She let me know he was resting easy and had been incredibly good. The next morning I went in to visit him as well as work my shift there. I was greeted by many staff members gushing about how they adored Kyro and he had been a fantastic patient. He had been calm and sweet the entire night. My heart was warmed hearing so much positive feedback.
When I saw him I was surprised to see how bright-eyed and happy he was. I was expecting to see a groggy, unhappy dog. But, no, Kyro was far from that. He was wagging his tail, smiling and completely relaxed. He whined as I greeted him and cuddled his soft fluffy neck.
Slow steps to recovery..
The Techs let me know that they had not been able to get Kyro to urinate that night and were hopeful that walking with me would do the trick. I took him outside and was surprised to see how well he was moving despite the surgery and large bandaging around his leg. He hobbled around, smelling bushes and the air. He urinated a very small amount and we headed back inside for him to rest.
The day continued on and he maintained his angelic patient label. He was sweet to everyone, took his meds and loved everyone that gave him any sort of attention. With his progress, they felt he would be able to go home that evening without a problem.
Soon enough, we were working on discharges and going over medications. Kyro would need to be on a regiment of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and pain medications 3x daily. 6AM, 2PM and Midnight (goodbye sleep!). Once everyone was properly addressed he was loaded up into my car and we were headed home. The entire way he was smiling with glee, knowing soon we would be home to where he is most comfortable.
Home sweet home..
Once home we introduced Kyro to his recovery room that we had set up. He drank down a large amount of water and then was insistently pushing to be out of the room. After several attempts to try and get him to lay down, we realized he really wanted to tell us something. He hobbled his way to the back door and we let him out. We followed him to the end of the deck where he waited, looking at us expectedly. My Dad lifted him, carried him down the stairs and set him in the grass. For several minutes he sniffed around before finally stepping and urinating. And boy, did he have to go. He had held it in the entire time, waiting until he was somewhere comfortable.
Once finished he seemed completely relaxed. My Dad picked him back up and we lead him back to the room where he comfortably settled on his dog bed. He is currently resting soundly in his room, happy to be home.
I will continue to post weekly updates as we go through this entire journey to recovery. My big brave boy will be himself in no time- I am sure!
If you are interested in donating toward his surgery, post surgery and recovery- you can do so here!