Thursday, July 30, 2009

12 Weeks

Today is 12 weeks post-op. We’re not where I wanted to be, but, as I keep reminding myself, we’re a lot farther along than we could be. I don’t want to be too optimistic right now, because it seems like every time I tell someone how well Reyna’s doing, I get home and find her worse than when I left. The good news is that she is doing better, the limp is fading, and the sass is definitely out in full force (and if I go home today to find her limping and grumpy, I’m going to be so aggravated). We have one more week of taking things very easy, and then we can start walks again. Not really looking forward to the boredom that is looping the cul-de-sac, but I’m going to make very sure we don’t push things.

Such Pitifulness

If you ask him, Niko will tell you that he only has one true joy in his life – his disco ball and bell. Of course, he completely ignores the fact that he loves to play peek-a-boo with Reyna, but that’s not important right now. What’s important is that disco ball and bell. Poor Niko was devastated last week when he broke it by pulling the bell out of the ball. I tried to fix it, but the bell just wouldn’t stay in place. It took me a few days to get to the store to buy him a new one, and during that time Niko was a very depressed bird. I’ve never heard him so quiet. I tried swapping it out for a different toy, but he wasn’t interested. He didn’t even want to play with Reyna. He’s happy now, though, since he has the new disco ball and bell. He’s back to his old self, chirping and swinging around with one foot holding on to the bell. It’s amazing what a difference one little toy makes.

Jeff – please don’t buy anymore insanely addictive toys for the critters in the house – I can’t handle the withdrawal symptoms.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty...

Saturday, I went to the Carnivore Preservation Trust with Mary and her nephew, Mitchell.

Our tour group had several people, including a bunch of small children. The guide started us out with some general information about the compound, its history, and some of the animals. She also told us to stay on either side of her, because the cats tended to aim for her when they sprayed. I considered that to be excellent advice. Another comment I found entertaining was that the parents needed to make sure their kids didn’t run and shriek – the cats are really excited by that.

Our first stop was Mary Stewart and Kiniki Caracal. When we first got to the enclosure, Kiniki was chewing on the back of Mary Stewart's neck.

Mary Stewart decided she'd had enough of that, so she ran Kiniki off. Since he didn't have anything better to do, Kiniki decided to check out the group of people who were clearly waiting to admire him.

Kiniki apparently has a habit of spraying the tour guide, and so she was quick to point out the warning signs - butt presented and tail raised. And spray her, he did.

Next on the tour was Magoo Ocelot. Magoo was very talkative (and very stinky). The guide said that it had been determined that the only way to remove the ocelot smell from a house where one had been kept as a pet was to just burn the house down. Based on the stench, I believe her.

Magoo very clearly expected and enjoyed the tribute of raw meat that the guide gave him. Even though he appeared to be very gentle when taking the meat, I don't think I'd be inclined to give him a treat by hand.

This is Rajaji Tiger, the first tiger on the tour. He meandered over to the fence when the treat bag appeared. Raj appeared very friendly and affectionate, but you'll notice the guide is still using the stick to provide treats. She said that tigers are ranked 4 out of 4 on the aggression scale, and that 9 out of 10 times a person could enter the enclosure and be fine. 1 out of 10 times, though, that person would get mauled. The problem is that there's no way to tell which time would be the one.

This is Isabella Tiger. She has some health problems as a result of bad breeding (sound familiar?) and she wasn't feeling well Saturday, so she didn't bother to leave her shady spot.

Lucky Tiger, on the other paw, was feeling very social.

Our guide had Lucky stand up for us so we could see just how tall he is. As a frame of reference, the guide was about my height.

And then Lucky got bored watching us all stand around....

This is Santana Serval. He's the youngest cat at the preserve. Despite the temptation of raw meat, Santana didn't feel like getting off the roof of his house to entertain us. Just like a cat.

Albert Kinkajou looks a lot like a small monkey and he's a huge fan of bananas. The guide told us that the kinkajous are rated a 4 on the aggression scale, just like tigers. The main difference is that every time a person goes into an enclosure with a kinkajou, the kinkajou will attack. And they apparently always go for the face.

Wednesday Kinkajou came to the preserve because she attacked her owner. The woman had her declawed, but the vet refused to defang her. One day, the woman walked in and Wednesday proceeded to try and chew her face off. If you ignore that, she's a cute little thing.

This is Coda Binturong. He also likes bananas, and he hates to have anyone mess with his water bowl.

Here's El Grande Binturong - this one apparently doesn't hate anyone.

While we were visiting with El Grande, we got to watch a chicken chucking. Some interns were out throwing raw, plucked chickens over the fences into the tiger enclosures. Lucky likes him some raw chicken.

Kaela Tiger also likes raw chicken. She even enjoys the occasional deer. She and her brother, Rajah, were dumped on the highway in Charlotte a few years ago. I actually remember reading about it. The preserve was selected as the permanent home for the cubs, and a contest was held to select their names.

Normally, Rajah Tiger and his sister, Kaela, share an enclosure, but not when they're eating. Poor Rajah, he ate his chicken too fast and had to stand around and wait for Kaela to finish her snack.

I'd highly recommend a tour of the preserve to anyone who can go. The guides are very knowledgeable and the prices are low. I'm planning to go back for a twilight tour in the fall - between feeding time and cooler weather, I'm thinking it should be a lot of fun.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Making Progress

Reyna is 11 weeks post-op today. Its been three weeks since Reyna started limping again, and she finally seems to be getting better. She’s still limping some, but its not as severe as before. We’ve got two more weeks before we’re allowed to start walks again (although the surgeon’s notes all referred to week 8, when she was injured, rather than week 9, when we actually saw him – I’m going by when we saw him). Reyna’s being a real trooper about the restrictions – outside, anyway. Inside, she starts spinning as soon as she thinks I can’t see her. I’d really hate to see her without the increased dose of happy meds. The good thing about all of this is that her attitude now is still much better than it was before the surgery. Even with the tissue injury, she’s clearly not hurting like she used to. She’s so much better, in fact, that her sassiness is starting to become annoying. Granted, its annoying in an I’m-thrilled-that-you-feel-so-great-but-I’m-going-to-strangle-you-if-you-don’t-stop way, which means I’m usually smiling while I’m fussing at her. Its no wonder she just smirks at me and trots off…

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Duncan!

On Sunday, my Little Man turned 4 years old. Mary came over Saturday to celebrate with us. Duncan was very patient about having his picture taken with his birthday cake, and even gave me a kiss (I’ll assume that was a “Thanks for the cake, Mom!” kiss.

But then I realized I’d forgotten to put the birthday hat on him. The strap kept popping off, though, so I finally gave up on it.

Mary brought Duncan a bag full of goodies. The squeaky squirrel was nice, but Duncan knew there was something in the bag that smelled yummy.

And he was right!

As always, Gourmutt’s Bakery did a wonderful job with the cake. Duncan loved it, except when he had trouble getting it off the plate and onto the carpet.

Reyna had to stay in her crate for the first part of the party, but she did get to come out for cake.

Reyna even let Duncan lick up the extra icing in peace.

Happy birthday, Little Man, and may we have many more years together!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Square 1.5

Good news: Reyna doesn’t need another surgery.

Bad news: We’re back to square 1.5 (not 1, because we don’t have to worry about infection from licking the incision).

Today was an exhausting day that I really don’t want to repeat. Our appointment was at 10:00, and at 10:45, we finally got out of the waiting room and into an exam room. The student vet did the initial exam, and Reyna quickly informed her that she didn’t like the vet messing with her legs. In fact, she tried very hard to bite the student when she tried to extend Reyna’s front legs. Apparently, Reyna’s shoulders are sore. The surgeon came in after that and had me take Reyna outside so he could watch her walk. He commented on the fact that Reyna was hunching her back and putting a lot of her weight on her front legs (hmmm, maybe that’s why she tried to bite the student vet). While we were outside, we had Reyna lie down so the surgeon could check her hips. He asked me to handle the “sharp end” while he worked her legs. He found some soreness in her left knee, which is most likely due to compensating for the right hip. He also said that her new hip was moving very smoothly, which I thought was good, right up until he said that some dislocations move very smoothly, too, and he couldn’t say for sure what was going on until he saw the x-rays.

I got back to the vet school at 3:45 for a 4:00 appointment. At 5:10, the surgeon finally came out to see me. He said they did a neurological exam (since GSDs are prone to certain neurological problems) and the results were fine. He said they also rechecked Reyna’s knee while she was sedated, and its sore but there’s no significant injury to it. Reyna’s hip x-rays came back clear, with no new cracks in the femur or problems with the wires. The surgeon said the new joint is sitting where it should and showed no signs of dislocation. The end result of all of this is a soft tissue injury. He said it could have happened at any time – she could have jumped or slipped and damaged the tissue by pulling some of the internal sutures loose – which means I have no idea of how guilty I should feel about this. Since x-rays don’t show soft tissue, there’s no way of knowing how severe the damage is without cutting her open (and no, that is not going to happen). The only way to fix the damage is to rest. So, we basically have to act like Reyna just had the THR surgery yesterday. For four weeks, she gets potty breaks only. Otherwise, she has to be crated or confined in some manner. After four weeks, we can start walking again – 5 minutes twice a day, slowly building back up. He wants me to bring her back in for a check up in eight weeks. After waiting for a new batch of Trazadone, we finally got out of there at 5:50. Reyna is currently sprawled on the floor in a sedation coma, and Duncan is curled up next to her, just happy she’s home.


So, Reyna and I spent a few hours at the vet school this morning. She’s still there, actually, being fed lots and lots of happy drugs so they can do the x-rays. I’m to be there at 4:00 to chat with the surgeon again. Based on information from this morning's exam, best case is a soft tissue injury; worst case is a joint dislocation. I’ll go into more detail this evening, when I have the final results.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Son Of A...

As if the mess with Reyna isn't enough, lets add a case of poison ivy to the fun. So far, its not a huge amount, and only on my knee and face. I just have to remember to NOT SCRATCH. And yes, Mom, I've already bought some Ban roll-on.


I finally heard from the vet school. Reyna goes in Friday morning for an exam and x-rays. They're thinking its probably a soft tissue injury, which is worse than a pulled muscle but better than anything that requires a surgical fix. She's back on total restrictions at least until Friday, but most likely for a few weeks. The vet suggested I up her Trazadone dose. I think I’ll start taking it, myself…

Monday, July 06, 2009

General Health Update

Best news – the clowder is healthy again. No sneezing cats with goopy eyes. Always a plus.

Good news – the prednisone helped my back enough that I’m going to hold off on the epidural for a while longer. Its not great, but its tolerable, and I can live with that.

Not good news – Reyna limped the entire weekend, with varying degrees of severity. I’ve left a message at the vet school, so hopefully I’ll hear from someone soon.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

8 Week Worry

Reyna is 8 weeks post-op today. Officially, she can start having more freedom around the house and yard, but still no wrestling with Duncan. Of course, not being allowed to play rough also means that she still has to be crated when I’m gone and at night. For the most part, though, the most significant restrictions are eased at the 8 week mark. There’s only one snag to this – Reyna’s been a bit mopey during our evening walks lately, so I decided we’d stop the evening walks for a few days, and even take this weekend to just relax. We’ve walked twice a day, every day but one, since she hit the 3 week mark, so I figured it would be okay to take some time off. With this in mind, I walked Reyna a little farther yesterday morning than I have before, just so we’d still come somewhat close to getting the same total distance. She was fine when I left, no limp and feeling pretty peppy, and the sitter said she was fine during her lunch visit. When I got home last night, though, Reyna was limping. For the first time in weeks. The limp had eased somewhat by bedtime, but Reyna was bunny-hopping quite a bit both last night and this morning. With any luck, the limp is due to nothing more than a bit of muscle stiffness, but we’ll definitely be taking things very easy this weekend.