Sharing What I’ve Learned

As some of you know, I am enrolled in the Animal Behavior College’s Veterinary Assistant course. I won’t go into the details of the course here; but if you’re interested, you can check out their website by following the link.

Anyway, I’m currently working on/studying for the test in Surgical Preparation and Assisting. This morning I was working on the post-operative recovery period and got an idea for a blog post. So here goes…

Many of us pride ourselves on knowing our pets well enough to know when they are ill or injured. For the most part, we are; however, nothing can burst our bubble like a devastating diagnosis of illness or injury.  I found that out for myself last August when our vet told us that Callie had lymphoma. Callie was a very stoic girl. She hid her pain from us quite  well. And, because she had also had her second CCL repair surgery the previous October, I convinced myself that her occasional lethargic behavior was due to the excess stress on her hips.

Callie’s illness and subsequent departure from Earth has made me even more observant of her sisters, especially Shadow.  Yet, even now, I sometimes misinterpret – or completely miss – a sign that one of them is in pain. Like I did with Shadow on Tuesday afternoon. So, when I came across the warning signs that an animal is suffering some post-operative pain, I decided to share them with y’all because they’re also signs of pain in general.

  • Restlessness
  • Reluctance to move
  • Whining/crying
  • Chewing or obsessive licking of themselves
  • Thrashing
  • Anorexia, or refusal to eat or drink
  • Behavioral change, such as depression
  • Increased respiration and/or heart rate

(That last one may not be something that you would necessarily be aware of.)

Please keep in mind that I am not a veterinarian. If you observe any of these signs in your pet, please do not hesitate to at least call your vet and discuss them with her/him.

As for Shadow, she is okay. She was running the fence line with our neighbor’s dog on Tuesday afternoon when suddenly she either slipped or stepped down wrong and ended up in a heap on the grass. She stood right up again but she was holding her left hind leg up as she walked toward me. I thought “oh no! Please tell me you didn’t tear your ACL!” Rather than panic, I gave her a mini-massage, let her walk around the yard a little bit to stretch it out, and a few minutes later she seemed to be good as new. We played for a minute or two and went back inside. Just before hubby and I left to go get dinner, I brought Shadow and Ducky outside to relieve themselves and Shadow appeared to be walking normally. When we arrived back home, though, she was limping horribly. I gave her a Tramadol tablet, and it seemed to help a little bit. She wasn’t limping as badly by bedtime but she was still restless. So I called the vet in the morning and got an appointment for Thursday morning. Meanwhile, I kept her on the leash when we were outside and gave her more Tramadol to ease the pain. The vet watched her walk around the exam room and elatedly said it was her CCL but not a tear. Relief! And a quick thank you to AngelCallie for watching over her sister. Shadow is on leash restriction and Carprofen for these next three weeks. I’m looking into getting a ramp for her, soon. I’m going to give her a Tramadol now and walk her around the back yard a little while.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

10 thoughts on “Sharing What I’ve Learned

  1. Jodi Stone says:

    I’m telling you, these dogs will be the death of me, or I’ll lose any bit of sanity I currently have. I was just watching Sampson walk yesterday and I KNOW something is not right, but I don’t know WHAT. Time for a vet visit.

    Thanks for sharing what you know Sue.


    • My Golden Life says:

      Thanks JoAnn! So far, so good!! I’ve been keeping her on the leash and not letting her run around, even inside. The ramp I ordered on Sunday arrived today, so maybe I can get her started using it soon. (Fingers crossed)


  2. Maggie says:

    That’s such a helpful list to be aware of and SUCH a relief that it wasn’t a tear for your sweet girl. Holy moly, how scary.

    I’m really enjoying following along on your program. I’ve learned a lot just from your recent posts. Thanks for sharing… and I hope you continue to share! Love learning new and better ways to care for our critters!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tails Around the Ranch says:

    Sometimes when a pet leaves our homes, the heart pendulum swings a bit too far. I know I’m obsessive about bloat, the condition which ultimately took my last Standard. That said, those observations are a terrific list of signs to monitor. Thanks for your compassionate sharing with us mortals who rely on professionals like you to keep our fur kids safe and happy. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jan K says:

    That is definitely great information to know. Also, if your dog has another illness or injury, it’s so easy to assume what’s happening with them has to do with that. We automatically assumed Sheba’s lack of appetite was due to her cancer and we were so wrong! I’m not sure if we had taken her to the vet right off if even they would have suspected a UTI though since she didn’t show any other symptoms of that until the blood showed up in her urine. Though maybe if I had watched her a little more closely I would have seen some other sign.
    I’m just glad Shadow doesn’t need surgery, and hope she is feeling better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My Golden Life says:

      Our vet didn’t connect Callie’s occasional lethargy and lack of appetite to cancer either because of her 2nd CCL surgery and arthritis. She wasn’t exhibiting any other warning signs until that day he diagnosed her. So, if he couldn’t put 2 & 2 together, I’m certainly not going to blame myself any more. But it does make me a little more watchful over Shadow.


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