January 1, 2018
Diva will be spayed in a couple of months and I'm already dreading it. I'm not looking forward to leaving her at the vet, or waiting anxiously to hear that the surgery went well. I won't be able to get to the vet's office quickly enough to put my eyes on her and know that she's going to be just fine. And I'm not looking forward to the days following the procedure, keeping her settled and comfortable as she recovers and heals.
She's never been under anesthesia, or had any procedure done out of my sight. And while I've got great confidence in the medical staff who will care for her before, during and after her surgery, as her owner I'm charged with protecting her from pain and undue stress, and yet I'll hand over her leash and send her on her way that morning, knowing full well that she has no idea what's will happen later in the day, or what's in store for her in the coming days. Not a whole lot of options to change that, but there is plenty that I can do to prepare her for the big day and the days that follow.
This blog chronicles various things I've done to familiarize Diva with some things she'll be experiencing before, during and after surgery.
The Surgi Snuggly
Diva's a BIG licker of wounds and sore spots, so I was pleased to come across the Surgi Snuggly, which will hopefully deter her from licking her incision while she heals, for times when she's supervised and taking a break from her Elizabethan collar. The snug fit should also give her some comfort, like a Thundershirt for anxious dogs.
Because Diva's also not a fan of wearing "clothes", the last thing I want to do is add stress by introducing it when she's already uncomfortable and possibly painful. Instead, we're working on wearing it now. She's learning that amazingly good things happen when she wears her suit. And when the awesomeness is finished, the suit comes off. The videos below show Diva enjoying a bully stick, getting treats out of a loaded treat ball and chasing tossed treats while she's suited up.
The Lamp Shade
The Surgi Snuggly will help buy me a little time if she tries to clean her wound while I'm supervising her, but there will often be times that I'm not available to watch her closely. That means she'll spend a good amount of time in an Elizabethan collar, and she's not particularly fond of things that go over those big, beautiful ears of hers.
In this video I'm teaching her to put her head through the hole in the cone, and introducing a bit of duration at the very end.
The next step was to begin moving while she was wearing the cone.
Next we worked on wearing the cone for a few seconds. A jar of baby food keeps Diva enthusiastic about game.
The Surgi Snuggly was added once she was comfortable moving in the cone.
Holding for a Jugular Blood Draw
The veterinary staff may need to draw blood as part of the process, so I want to be sure Diva is familiar and comfortable with what that feels like. Watch this video carefully. Diva's not the only one who's learning! By letting her use space as she needs to she's telling me when it's too much, sometimes she leans away as I move closer, and sometimes I've missed the memo and gone too far. At the end of the video, when I've asked for too much, she leaves a few times before she's willing to try again. Letting her do so takes the pressure off. Notice how she holds her position when she's ready to try again. Be sure to listen to what your dog is telling you!
Restraint for Sedation
Shortly after being dropped off for surgery Diva will be sedated so that she can be shaved and a catheter can be placed. Hospital staff will hold her for an injection that will sedate her. In this video I'm introducing her to how she'll most likely be held and restrained for her injection.
There are plenty of other things you can do to help your dog before and during her hospital stay. Check with your veterinary clinic to see if you can spend some time taking your dog in and out of the hospital cages, or if they'll allow you to be present when your dog is sedated. Bring an old towel or blanket with your scent to put in the cage with your dog., but be sure it's something you don't want back as it may get soiled during your dog's stay.
When you drop your dog off for surgery, ask the veterinary staff if you can walk your dog back to the cage that's reserved for her, and let her know you'll be back! Escorting your dog can start the day off a little less stressful than it might otherwise be.
The more positive experiences your dog can have prior to surgery, the easier her procedure and recovery will be. Give your dog the gift of preparation. It'll make things easier for everyone involved.
Special thanks to Dr. Leslie Carr and her support staff at Arnold Pet Station, for your great care of Diva and me throughout this process!
Diva Post Surgery
March 1, 2018
Life goes on in the Knowlton home, thankfully much more smoothly than it might have been for all the careful planning and preparation we invested in along the way. And worth every minute!
We're now looking forward to the day Diva and run full speed across the yard to fetch her ball again and jump in the bed at night for a snuggle. It won't be very long now . . . .
Just home from surgery.
48 hours post surgery.
48 hours post surgery.