The Severely Abused Chihuahua-Pom
The next day Honey was taken to the office after withholding food overnight for an orthopedic evaluation and x-rays under sedation. A partially torn Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) was confirmed. This can be a complication with any dog that has the MPL (Medial Patella Luxation) disorder as Honey had already been diagnosed with. The problem with Honey is that her right knee has a higher grade MPL, making her at risk for tearing out the right CCL as well, especially with how excited she can get and her high energy level.
Over the years I have had a fairly high percent of complex medical and surgical orthopedic patients and I’m constantly giving the owners strict orders of complete restriction of exercise after surgery (i.e. slow leash walking, no running, playing and absolutely no periods of jumping around.) Ok, I’ll admit, this is pretty tough to comply with especially with an active pet, and as hard as I tried, Honey certainly did not want to comply. If the patient is normally quiet and laid-back, it isn’t so difficult to follow my orders – but I now know how difficult it is with an active pet. In my case, the owner and pet were not entirely compliant with the post-op instructions. I failed, but despite all of the medications to keep Honey calm, and keeping her either in my arms, lap, on a short leash, in her Pack-N-Play and every other precaution that I could take, she would still get ramped up and jump and run around in her Pack and Play whenever she would hear Wrigley and Millie bark or play.
Surgery was scheduled for the next day. I normally like to wait six to eight weeks after the heat cycle is finished before I do an ovariohysterectomy (spay) surgery on a dog. This is to allow the hormone levels (primarily estrogen) to normalize prior to surgery since the increased levels of this hormone can affect blood clotting. However, I would need to make an exception with Honey since her knee surgery was a priority. The surgical plan consisted of first performing the MPL reconstructive surgery, followed with a CCL stabilizing band placement, the pin removal from the left femur and finally her ovariohysterectomy surgery. The packs were prepared, my staff was ready and I was psyched to get started. I love helping pets any way that I’m able to, but am always thankful for the skills that God gave me to deal with complicated cases. I often pray for guidance to help me be able to better care for my patients and am often rewarded with an insight that I may not have considered without His help.
Today, God was answering my prayers, as Honey’s procedures went very well. Now, the really hard job would begin – trying to keep Honey quiet and prevent any further injuries. I was hoping that I would be able to let her heal and put off her right MPL reconstruction for at least three, hopefully four months.
To be continued…
William T. Carlisle, DVM