Do you remember the taste of food, Mr. Dexter…?

Well, Dexter’s adjusted tramadol dosage definitely affected his appetite a LOT. Though he was comfortable enough for the last day, his desire to eat food completely tanked. Spoiler alert – today, after another adjustment, trying to use Vetprofen (which is an NSAID) instead of Tramadol for his comfort, he finally ate again!! I had also resorted to giving him some Pedialyte against his will, because he hadn’t been drinking, but today he also had two good drinks of water – like a normal dog! His underbelly is getting less red from bruising. His urinary function still seems a little uneven, but his behavior fluctuating with the medicine hasn’t made it easy to tell what is the real cause. In any case, he’s still managed to go every few hours. His poo is not super consistent or the softness I would like it to be, despite giving him so much lactulose (softener), but drinking more fluids will definitely help there. Anyway, less poo talk… I got some pictures from the vet’s office yesterday and wanted to share a couple of cute ones from his surgery. I haven’t taken any pictures of his underbelly yet today, but it’s looking good enough that I don’t want to post the pictures from yesterday, even – it’s already better than that! He did have some itchiness due to hair growing in “down there” but we were able to provide some relief using anti-itch cortisone cream.

Please keep us in your thoughts! Here are two Dexter pics.

Dr Collins with Dexter pre-surgery! I love this picture
Dr Collins with Dexter pre-surgery! I love this picture
A very dubious Dexter coming out of surgery
A very dubious Dexter coming out of surgery


Saturday Morning Has Arrived

[12pm Update] The vet appointment went really great! Dexter’s incision/underbelly area is red due to bruising and a bit of irritation from the urine he’s gotten on himself – but no infection! I have a few challenges ahead – he hasn’t wanted to drink enough water, so there’s a few tricks to try there; his urinary function is still not quite normal and there’s probably a ways to go, including him re-learning his body’s signals, since his bladder was literally moved and tacked into place; he didn’t want to eat today, which is pretty normal for him, but makes it a little challenging to space out the antibiotics and other medicines throughout the day. Good things though: His butt area where he had the major surgery is healing up well so far, and is not nearly as sore as could be expected – his “pain levels” were really really good all around. The fentanyl patch was removed without any damage to his skin, showing his healthiness in another way. And!! The best news of all!! I received another generous donation this morning, and paid off my balance in full!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!

I’m a little excited if you can’t already tell!! But I have a few errands to run now to get more creams and such for his majesty 🙂 I also got a bunch of pictures from the super awesome vet tech and will be updating the blog with those at some point later today!

– – – –

It’s 8:30 am right now and in 2 hours we’ll be at LFAH talking with Dr. Collins. I’m optimistic about Dexter, especially after last night; mom and I both ‘camped out’ downstairs, she put a little shirt on Dexter plus his cone, and shut him in the crate, and prepared to watch over as I slept.. He was out like a light! No sedatives (so no loopy/dysphoric doggy) just painkillers. He was sooo good all night. He did manage to get out of the shirt AGAIN, which scares me cause I don’t want him to scratch at his underbelly incision – it’s so big! – but so far, so good, and every day he heals more.

He did go back to his usual “I’ll eat when I want to” attitude, which makes it difficult to regularly administer the antibiotics so I’ll ask the doc about that. Additionally, he’s been getting a lot of the Lactulose stool softener, but it still seemed a little firm when coming out, and he usually just kind of has a small accidental amount while he’s laying around, not so much going outside on purpose – perhaps because he didn’t even *try* to go when on the sedative, and it got a bit compacted, but I’m sure we’ll be talking about that, too. And I think his fentanyl patch has worn off, so that will be removed (it’s glued on and I didn’t see a reason for my amateur efforts to remove it when the appointment is so soon).

Updates on this post will go at the top, with a timestamp. Right now Dexter is sleeping in his crate. I wish he’d eat his breakfast, but he didn’t want it yet.

Friday Updates

Hi everyone! I’m going to do as before and make a few updates to this post throughout the day.

7pm: Had a fairly good day overall, but we’ve definitely struggled to get his cocktail of “as needed” medicines just right. And, since the pain management patch is due to wear off in a few hours, it might still change! He’s peed several times outside, but still hasn’t pooped. He had some issues with poo escaping his bum, but it wasn’t too firm, so I don’t think it’s that – he just hasn’t really tried to go. On the plus side, none of his medicines have made him nauseous/sick. I talked to a doctor at Alpenglow and a doctor at LFAH and got advice throughout the day. So right now Dexter’s planned treatment will be no more sedatives, and a bit more tramadol because in the experimental increase of the dosage, it seemed a good result – by experimental I mean there was a concern that he was becoming dysphoric (or “high” you could say) and anxious as a result, but the increase seems to have made him happier, not worse. (It was only a very small increase overall.) Dexter was in better spirits today for sure and even tried to get a toy for a few minutes this afternoon. He clearly WANTS to be better, but isn’t there yet!

I snapped a picture of his underbelly incision and butt areas (the neuter site is out of view) while he was in the crate earlier. Note that we remove the cone when we’re both here watching him and put it on when we feel there’s ANY risk of someone missing a moment.

2 days after surgery. Shows how his underbelly and behind are, post-op
2 days after surgery. Shows how his underbelly and behind are, post-op

9am: Spent the 8-9am hour waiting for his medicines to kick in, and finally ended up giving him a 2nd dose of sedative in addition to the painkillers. I did just take him for a walk and he urinated again. Yay! Starting to (hopefully) understand which of his whining noises means pain and which could mean pain from needing to urinate. Really hoping he improves in that area sooner rather than later, for his sake!

Last night we had gotten Dexter settled with some medicines and then out of nowhere… The smoke detector I had literally gotten checked out by the landlord’s handyman LAST WEEK, started chirping. Dexter HATES the sound of high-pitched beeping on a good day… well, 1am is even worse. It totally destroyed his restful state and we didn’t get him back to be settled until around 2am. It seemed like at that point he was starting to feel the sedative and tramadol more. I slept on the couch and my mom watched over him.

5am or so he started to wake up more and so did I, though very tired. Around 6:30 we got him outside for another walk. He didn’t want to use his legs, but he totally could, and he peed more! Yay! Back in the house Drugged-Up Dexter laid in his crate and we gave him medications inside treats, which he took grudgingly, and some food, which he ate quite happily! So yay. We are still trying to get him to drink water, though. The food is very wet, but still, I wish he would drink. At least he is urinating on his own.

Updates on his first night home…

I fell asleep and it’s now the morning so will be continued in the next post.

[I will keep updating this blog post throughout the night as long as I stay awake! Lol!]

1am: He’s sleeping deeply for the last few minutes and we’re hoping it lasts!

12:30am: Gave him a little walk and he managed to pee more. He’s starting to settle in his crate and we’re hoping and praying that the sedative and pain killers are helping. We’ll be figuring out how to watch him all night – guessing we’ll take some naps in shifts, at the most.

12am: He’s been having some pain issues for the last 45 min. Gave more tramadol (the patch is still on, but could be starting to wear off, since every dog is different). Looked like he was trying to scratch at his incision (the cone can’t help his back feet) so we have tried putting a shirt on him. My smallest shirt is still too big, so a onesie will have to be found. He’s also had 10mg of a sedative that was authorized by the vet I spoke to when I called Alpenglow about 45 minutes ago.

9:45pm: He peed! Outside! Yay! The night will still be a challenge if he seems uncomfortable, but he peed! A stream! Yay! He didn’t really have control over it, but he did go a large enough amount that it helps my concerns a little.

Dexter Comes Home

This is going to be a bit long in order to accommodate all the various people who are asking me for updates! I just don’t have the mental capacity to answer everyone individually as much as I appreciate the concern.

Dexter had a fairly good day at the hospital, but he was stressed and annoyed that he was not home, so he was whining a lot. He also still was not urinating normally 🙁 The doctor decided to give him a catheter at around 3:30pm. He and I decided that Dexter should still come home at 5 because of how stressed he seemed to be with all the whining. He got injectable antibiotic instead of the pill I’ll be administering; he still has the pain patch on for through tomorrow night and then I’ll start him on Tramadol right before taking it off; he has a stool softener 3x a day for now as well; he has a Vetprofen (Rimadyl) prescription for pain and inflammation; he has a bladder medicine Bethanechol (more on that in a bit). He did eat some food at the vet’s (a bit of chicken breast) and just had about 3 Tablespoons of canned food about an hour ago.

The concern right now is if he can’t urinate on his own soon. He’s “dribbling” so there’s at least some flow going on and there isn’t any sign of blockage – it seems like the bladder being moved and sutured into place was successful and didn’t cause any damage, but either from the pain or some kind of inflammation, he hasn’t been able to get his normal function back yet. Thus, Dr Eshelman prescribed 3 days worth of Bethanechol in order to help his bladder contract as well as his sphincter to open more easily. Since Dexter has some dribble going on, and was fully emptied with the catheter earlier, he has some time before I have to start worrying – hopefully the medicine helps and he is going in a medium- to normal-sized amount by tomorrow morning. If not – I will have to go back to LFAH or maybe even back to Alpenglow for another hospitalization.

Otherwise, he is resting now in his bigger crate (pictures below). He walked outside without any stumbling or difficulty except that he didn’t really want to do much. But he did have more than enough strength to try and pull me back to the house, so I had to quickly scoop him up and carry him back! He will be closely monitored all night as we try to get him to urinate and keep giving him the chance to defecate as well.

The cost of things is slowly inching up to the budget I have, even though I went over the goal. I can’t update the goal bar right now because I’m simply too tired and hungry from all this (including the new adventure of The Pharmacy They Called Didn’t Actually Have Bethanechol And No One Nearby Does; Let’s Drive Far Away And Without Phone Battery Either! – my favorite) but please consider a few bucks if you can spare it. Thanks and here are some pictures of Dexter waiting to go home from the surgeon’s. (WordPress is fighting me lately but hopefully they are rotated properly. It keeps lying and showing them as fine until I hit publish and then they aren’t fine. But then they are fine again in Edit mode. Sigh)

Dexter lying in the bottom half of his carrier, waiting to go home
Dexter lying in the bottom half of his carrier, waiting to go home


Scratching at Dexter because he was whining NONSTOP
Scratching at Dexter because he was whining NONSTOP


At home in his Cone Of Shame, and the crate he likes
At home in his Cone Of Shame, and the crate he likes

Post-Op Day 1 Update

Sorry for the delay, but last night took a long time and by the time I’d had dinner, I was wiped out! Anyway onto the good stuff. Dexter got settled in at Alpenglow for the night (and the waiting I had to do was just to talk to the doctor and fill out papers and such, he was already being taken care of). As of this morning, Dr. Swetz has updated me – the doctor working overnight at Alpenglow. Dexter’s epidural wore off and he is walking around with full function, so it doesn’t seem like there is any issue with his sciatic nerve – yay!! The only issue at the moment is that his bladder function is not yet returned to normal. He’s basically “dribbling” urine instead of going at once. Because they moved his bladder inside his body and tacked it down, they can’t “express” it by pushing on it, and so if it becomes very large they would have to use a urinary catheter to provide relief. The epidural and other surgery medicines are expected to be contributing to this problem, and so it is hopefully going to be improved by the end of the day, but it’s not 100% certain. I’m really glad I got the hospitalization done so that he is being monitored by professionals.

Of course, the total cost for his after-care isn’t really final yet, as a result of these possible complications. If I could afford it, I would have him maybe stay another night at Alpenglow just to be sure he is okay. Dr. Swetz used their ultrasound machine to keep checking on his bladder, and at least that part was free of charge. But until his function is more normal, I am still worried. She told me that if there was no previous history of bladder function issues, then there’s “no reason to think he won’t recover fully,” but the timeline is not so certain. And, Dexter hasn’t wanted to eat while in the hospital, which I’m not surprised at all to hear. He’s so picky! But he seems comfortable and as happy as one would expect at this point.

I’m still not out of the woods yet and I’m honestly a little concerned about the unknowns still ahead… I paid only a partial amount to Louisville Family Animal Hospital mostly because the Paypal debit card has a daily limit, so I still owe them money, but the plan is to work it out on Saturday at Dexter’s first follow-up appointment with Dr. Collins. If you have any change to spare, please consider sending it through my Paypal donate button. Thank you!

I did get a pic of Dexter with his “do not express my bladder!” label.. that they stuck on his forehead. LOL.

They wanted to be sure the message was heard loud and clear!
They wanted to be sure the message was heard loud and clear!

Surgery day pt2

DEXTER DID GREAT!! He is just coming out of anesthesia. I will make a more detailed post about the procedure in a few hours (because I’m still at work!) However, I just had a great talk with Dr. Eshelman (the surgeon from Alpenglow who did the procedure). But there are still some questions about exactly how he is recovering for the next 24hrs due to the paralyzing effect of the epidural that he received. For example, we have to see if he can urinate on his own later tonight, but if he can’t then they will use a urinary catheter to alleviate the problem. The good news is that the abdominal procedure and repairing of the herniated muscle on his right side seemed to do so much for him that the rectal exams seemed to indicate his left side didn’t actually need the same kind of surgery! So he had less surgery than they were originally thinking, but of course there’s still some risk; until he recovers from the medicine they don’t know if his sciatic nerve may have been affected which would give him functional problems in his foot. “It’s very rare, but it is possible,” as the doctor said. In any case, I will have one more update from Dr Collins (at LFAH who can give me more details and information on cost, etc), and I’ll do my best to write the specific muscle names and such so that way the information is shared. Thank you everyone!! I will keep updating at each step of the way! I love you all!

Surgery day pt1

Today is the day. I left Dexter at the vet’s office this morning and am now waiting to hear how he did in surgery. My nerves are fried!!!

He wasn’t too pleased to be at the vet’s this morning, no surprise. Here’s a pic of him in the crate and I’ll update with more detail when I know more information. Thank you everyone for your support!

Dexter in his carrier the morning of surgery
Dexter in his carrier the morning of surgery

Minor update – Still doing well pre-surgery

Just wanted to update everyone that Dexter is still in a good holding pattern before his surgery. He still struggles, but has managed to poop often enough that I don’t have to be too worried. His attitude is good. My mom has arrived in Colorado to stay with me to help with his recovery. Everything is still on track! Thank you everyone! Here is another Dexter picture from the gallery 🙂

Dexter loves when the Kong bone is stuffed with peanut butter! (I snuck some medicine in this one and he still loved it!)
Dexter loves when the Kong bone is stuffed with peanut butter! (I snuck some medicine in this one and he still loved it!)

Surgery update (dates, etc)

Hello Dexter fans! I am working on getting him into surgery ASAP. Because the plan is have the Alpenglow surgeon travel to LFAH for a “mobile” surgery unfortunately the soonest they could line up the calendars was not until Sept 2nd. 🙁 However, since that seems rather far away, I have spent a lot of time today investigating other options that could be out there. Since LFAH is giving me a discount on the procedure, I am not sure that any other facility would be willing to a) offer a reasonable solution or b) have the ability to do the procedure sooner, or not. (When I say reasonable solution, I mean that I have $5k now to spend right away and if the surgery was a little more than that, if they would allow me to schedule payment(s) to cover the rest.) If I had more money then I could go directly to Alpenglow and have it done sooner but since Squall’s emergency just ate up my next 2 paychecks I am pretty broke. Anyway, I have some awesome allies that are helping me do this research! Thank you, you know who you are! If nothing else works out sooner then he is scheduled for surgery on Sept 2nd.

Dexter will require after-care for a long while, of course, and I will be applying any extra donations (and my own funds) to get him laser therapy treatments afterwards, as well as any dietary adjustments that need to be done to keep his system happy. The money will all go to Dexter no matter what the surgery final cost is! Thank you again!

A young Dexter enjoying the sun with his feline 'brother' Squall (ca. 2009?)
A young Dexter enjoying the sun with his feline ‘brother’ Squall (ca. 2009?)