For over a year now I have managed to avoid the dreaded TPLO, or Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, with Foyle by keeping him on a leash when out walking and taking him to bi-monthly acupuncture appointments. But 3 weeks ago he tore the medial meniscus in his right leg so I had two choices to make; either put him down or do surgery hoping that his kidneys would survive the ordeal. Now who could put this beautiful, sweet boy down? Luck was definitely on his side because Dr. Peyton, an ICU specialist happened to be at the clinic when my frantic call came in at 6:30 pm one night when I saw that Foyle couldn't put his rear leg down. She overheard Foyle's acupuncturist, Dr. Wallace, going over his symptoms with the surgeon and as luck would have it, she specializes in renal patients! Dr. Peyton and Dr. Simpson prepared a specific anesthesia plan for Foyle and he made it through surgery without any complications to the kidneys or the leg! A miracle, truly.
Due to the renal failure, Foyle had to stay in the hospital for 5 days to make sure his kidneys were functioning on their own, and luckily they were performing well as they slowly took him off his cocktail of IV drugs. As you can see in the pictures above he was not happy being drugged up. But he was very spoiled for those 5 days and had everyone in the clinic wrapped around his big paw. I couldn't have asked for a better, more attentive staff. They even let me back in the ICU ward to spend some time with him after work.
Here are two radiographs from the Vet Surgery Central Inc. website explaining the TPLO procedure (not Foyle's) showing the cut they made in the tibia and the plate that is screwed into both pieces of the bone. The new angle helps to alleviate "drawer motion", and levels the slope of the tibial plateau. It can be better explained here and here.
Now the real fun of recovery begins! (check out the fluids accumulating above his hock!) Within an hour of getting him home he managed to break out of his xpen, leap through the dog door while stealing a bully stick on his way out, and make it out into the backyard all on his own. Completely embarrassed and mortified I had to make the humiliating call to the surgeon to make sure he was ok. So far so good, nothing split open and he can still "walk" on it. Just in case I slept next to the crate last night and my back has been regretting that decision all day. Apparently the hounds felt it was important to sleep next to Foyle too because I woke up with Nooner snuggled next to me and Ernie and Hazel hogging all the blankets.
So, for the next 8 to 10 weeks it will be heat therapy, massaging, and physical therapy twice a day. If only I could get him out of his crate. Literally, I can't get him to come out and I'm realizing just how long he can hold his bladder. Apparently a very long time! More updates later next week, but I highly recommend reading a really humorous take on Gad's dog Guiness and his TPLO recovery. It makes Foyle look like an angel!