I published today's A-to-Z post a little late because I've had a lot going on this week, between the Apollo Chorus benefit tomorrow, rehearsals, and taking care of Parker.
Yesterday Parker got his sutures out. The vet said he's healing very well, no signs of infection or re-injury, and good progress on using the injured leg. He can go without the Cone of Shame while someone is observing him, and on Friday, he can have it off permanently. Both he and I really, really, really want that to happen.
They also gave me art. Here are his X-rays from two weeks ago, showing his right leg before and after surgery. Before:
The after photo looks painful, but the vet and the dog both assure me it's better than the before image.
Another improvement: he can now go on 10-minute walks, increasing by 5 minutes a week until mid-May when he can go as long as he wants. We're still walking slowly so that he has to put weight on the leg. But today, when he gets his first trip around the block in almost 3 weeks, I'm sure he'll be happier.
Yesterday Parker got fitted for a new E-collar after I discovered that his long nose and long tongue were just long enough to lick his sutures. Fortunately the incision doesn't seem irritated or infected, probably owing to the massive doses of antibiotics we've got him on.
As for the primary injury, that seems to have healed remarkably well in the few days since his surgery. He's putting more weight on the leg, and has less trouble standing up. He still seems a little shaky in some postures, particularly squatting.
So Parker's biggest problems right now are bumping into things with his Cone of Shame, and the abject boredom of a smart dog getting only 15 minutes of walkies a day.
He's really going to hate this coming week, too. I've got rehearsals or performances every single evening, so he'll be alone most of the time. Poor dude.
(There is no A-to-Z post today because it's Sunday.)
Parker is both feeling a lot better and a lot worse.
In the "better" column we have his incision looking great, him putting more weight on the repaired leg, and him figuring out how to navigate with the Cone of Shame.
In the "worse" column we have listlessness, sleep disruption, and depression from the drugs, the lack of exercise, and the Cone of Shame. His surgeon followed up with me yesterday and said this is perfectly normal.
I'm still watching him closely, but I'm happy how things are going. He gets his sutures out and the cone off a week from Wednesday. I think he can make it fine.
Cone of shame, shaved leg, drugged out of his mind: that's my boy. But at least he's home:
As I've been saying, the next few weeks will be rough. But he's going to get lots of attention, especially between now and Monday.
And then there's this:
He has physical pain, I have psychic pain. All because he ran up some stairs too fast.
Whew. Parker is just fine.
The surgeon said everything went very well. She reported he completely tore his meniscus and his right CCL (the doggy equivalent of a human's ACL), and it looked like the result of an acute injury, not age-related deterioration. This is good news because it means he has a much lower risk of doing this to his left leg than we worried about.
He's recuperating from the operation right now and will remain overnight for observation. He should be home after lunch tomorrow, with a healthy quantity of drugs and probably a really sharp appetite.
Recovery should take 6-8 weeks, though he should be able to go for actual walks within about 2 weeks. But wow, he's not going to like those two weeks.
Stay tuned. Photo tomorrow, I expect.
Parker did not have a good morning.
I woke him up early, then "forgot" to feed him, and wouldn't even let him lick the cream cheese off my knife when I had a bagel right in front of him. All he got was an unpleasant-tasting amino supplement and a pain pill.
He did get a ride in the car, though, which might have gotten his mind off his appetite.
But then he got unceremoniously carried up two flights of stairs (the elevator at the pet hospital was out of order) and handed off to someone who smelled like frightened cats.
Let's not even talk about the thunderstorms forecast for later today.
So, Parker is chilling at the hospital right now, with his surgery scheduled for this afternoon. Because he's in the late group, I won't get to visit him tonight, which is probably OK because that might just upset him. He should be ready to go home tomorrow late morning.
I'll post again when the surgeon calls after the operation.
Yesterday, the Nielsen Norman Group released groundbreaking research on user interface design for dogs:
There are several key usability guidelines that help dogs to have the most usable experience on modern websites and apps, particularly on mobile, tablet, and other touch-based interfaces:
- Consistency is critical. While consistency in any user experience is important, with dogs, it’s even more so. Experienced dog trainers will tell you that, for dogs to learn proper behavior, consistency in enforcing routines, expectations, and commands is critical. Some common UI culprits that provide extra difficulty for dogs are swipe ambiguity, gestures without signifiers, tap uncertainty for flat UI elements like ghost buttons, and unusual placement of common elements like navigation and search.
- Tap targets must be large. We recommend 1cm2 for human tap targets, but paws (whether belonging to cats or dogs) require larger tap sizes (of at least 3-4cm2, or even larger for Labradors and Great Danes).
- Gestures must be ergonomic for dog physiology. While many wearable interfaces now involve gestures such as swiping left or right to dismiss notifications or switch apps, these need to be modified for more ergonomic canine movements (such as “shake”). Dogs have a greater ability to move paws with precision up and down, but dogs’ range of motion along the horizontal axis is limited and relatively imprecise, so all gestures must account for this limitation.
They also give special guidance on the risks of using hamburger menus and pie charts.
On the one hand, I've been really productive on my staycation, having checked off 38 to-do items including a few that came from my need to get Parker repaired.
On the other hand, I've done none of the reading and writing I set out to do. With the A-to-Z challenge starting in two days, I really need to get on that.
But, you know, it's still a vacation. So why not vacate a bit?
We met with the surgeon this morning. She confirmed the initial diagnosis of a right cruciate ligament tear, and said it's likely completely detached from the bone. She also suspects additional damage to the opposing ligament and possibly to his meniscus.
Parker will have surgery next Tuesday, which unfortunately was the earliest he could get in. He'll have a right tibial leveling osteotomy, in which she will carve out a piece of bone and turn it so the damaged ligament no longer supports his weight.
After surgery, Parker will have a few really miserable weeks. For the first two weeks, he'll be confined to a bathroom, forced to wear a Cone of Shame, and only allowed short potty breaks. After his sutures come out, he'll still have restrictions on his activity for up to 6 more weeks. But by the end of May, he should be able to go on long walks again.
When the surgeon goes into his right leg to repair the damage, she'll also evaluate whether he injured the knee through an athletic over-reach or whether it resulted from deterioration of the ligament. In the latter case, there is a 50% chance of his left knee blowing out within a year. So I'm hoping that this was just the result of over-exuberant stair-climbing on his part, and not the result of age.
Updates as conditions warrant.
I mentioned yesterday that Parker stopped putting weight on one of his legs after hurting himself running up the stairs Saturday night. Turns out, it's pretty bad.
His primary vet says my aging mutt tore his ACL and meniscus, which will require surgery. He's getting X-rays on Monday to confirm the injury but she has very high confidence in the diagnosis. Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.
He doesn't seem to be in any pain when he's lying down (which, as an old dog, he does 20 hours a day). Walking up and down stairs is not possible, however. (Did I mention he weighs 30 kg?) And he has some discomfort in his usual sitting posture. I've got him on pain meds and a joint supplement, but he's not going to be a happy dog for the next couple of months. No day care, no long walks, and definitely no running, probably until the end of May.