Summer of Injuries

It seems breaking my elbow and wrist were just the beginning of our summer woes.

A week ago, sound asleep then awakened by the door bell, the Princess Pooch went flying toward the door and her left back leg slipped out behind her. The result was a broken hip. She had FHO surgery on Friday, and we brought her home early this morning.

According to Topdog, Femoral head osteotomy,

also referred to as a femoral head ostectomy or FHO, is the surgical removal of the head and neck of the femur. In simpler terms, it is the removal of the “ball” part of the ball-and-socket that makes up the hip joint. This way, the bones of the joint are no longer in contact, which eliminates the pain that is caused by the abnormal contact of the bones . . . . Once the femoral head and neck are removed, the surrounding muscles and developing scar tissue work to support the area, and act as a false joint. This means that now when the limb is moved, the forces are transferred to the pelvis rather than the leg itself. The FHO Surgery is a fairly simple procedure in that minimal equipment is required, and no implants are needed. The procedure causes the leg to be slightly shorter than the unaffected leg, although amazingly, most dogs return to close to normal activity after the surgery.

princess_pooch_homecomingSo far, the Princess seems to be doing pretty well. Since we had some lead time on the surgery, we got her a new bed with bolsters on three sides rather than all the way around so she has a flat entrance and some non-skid carpet runners so she has better traction on the tile, and these seem to be making getting in and out of bed and around a bit easier for her.

She’s been up and about much of the day, drinking lots of water and heading outside to pee. She’s even had a bit to eat, so we’re feeling pretty good about her progress so far. She’s pretty much leaving her incision alone after having to wear an e-collar for about half an hour after trying to lick the area. We ordered her an inflatable e-collar that will arrive Monday; at least it will be more comfortable if she has to wear it.

For now, we’re putting an ice pack on her incision for 10 minutes and will continue to do so for the next three days; then we’ll move to a warm compress for 10 minutes three times a day for three days after that.

She’s restricted from running, jumping, playing, using stairs or jumping onto sofas for the next 2-4 weeks. Since she’s 12 and we don’t have stairs, our major concern will be keeping her off of the furniture and from playing–she loves to fetch and chase her tail even at her advanced age.

She can hang out in the house as long as one of us is here to keep an eye on her to ensure she’s not doing any of the above activities, and otherwise we’ll restrict her to a small space and do the same each night. We’ll take her on short walks of 10 minutes or so 3 times a day for the next two weeks, probably early morning and late in the evening and around the house mid-day since it’s so bloody hot here. Then, when her staples are removed in 2 weeks, we’ll begin to take her swimming in addition to taking her on increasingly longer walks. By week 4, if all goes well, she’ll be able to return to her normal level of activity.  Oh, and we’ll do some range of motion work on her back legs for the next two weeks as well. Hopefully rehabbing my own broken elbow has prepared me for this task.

For now, she’s on some pain medication and pepcid in addition to her Prozac for anxiety and Galliprant for arthritis pain.

I plan to document her recovery in the hope that her experience might help other folks whose pup is facing this process.

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