Recovery from Surgery – The First Two Weeks

Day Three After Surgery, and Skippy somehow managed to get one of his staples partially loose.  Surgical tape strips were added to create a licking barrier, and also to hold the loose staple in place so that he wouldn’t have to endure a visit to the vet for additional stapling or stitches.  He still hadn’t pooped, but we were told that was quite normal following surgery.

Surgical Tape Strips Added to Skippy’s Incision

Day Four:  Skippy finally pooped and held himself up while he did it!  We celebrated.  (I’m sure he celebrated it on the inside as well).  I picked up some Honest Kitchen goat’s milk for cats, and started giving him a tablespoon each day to encourage more fluid intake.  I was rewarded with a second poop later that day.  Standing completely took the energy out of him, and afterwards he was clearly exhausted.  I put up a baby gate at the foot of the stairs, and allowed him full access to our main floor in an effort to try and coax more movement from him.  I would still keep him in the recovery room at night, for safety.

That night he was super obsessed with licking his leg, so I managed to gently wrestle a recovery suit/onesie onto him.  He kept it on for three  hours before wriggling his way free of it.  In hindsight, I should have started training him with the recovery suit before his surgery, so he would be used to it.  If anyone ever asks me for pre-op tips for their pet, recovery suit training will be at the top of my list.  I also put his collar back on, and added a bell so that I’d be alerted to the sound of him licking.

Not Happy with the Onesie

Day  Five: I noted some slight weeping around the loose staple, and I could see some brownish fluid through the surgical tape strips.  I texted photos to the vet, but they let me know that a little bit of drainage was to be expected, and that overall it looked good to them.  Additionally, Skippy took three beautiful steps today, when I set down his food dish.  They were wobbly and uneven, but he did it.  I was so happy to see that he could still control his leg without the ball joint, and that he still had enough muscle strength to hold himself up.  It completely wiped him out afterwards.  Today he also opted to start using the regular low-sided litter box instead of the cookie sheet.

Some Brownish Fluid Weeping from Incision Site

Day Six:  Skippy’s fentanyl patch was clearly wearing off, and his personality was starting to show through again.  His eyes were less dilated, and he was eating more, interacting more, and playful at times!  He was doing nice big stretches, and more weight bearing.  Overall it was a really good day, and it felt like such a turning point towards recovery.   We finished off the last can of the special canned food the vet provided to us, so tomorrow I would transition him back to his regular canned food. 

Day Seven:  Skippy’s fentanyl patch was removed at the vet’s office, and they said that everything looked great.  Skippy was so happy to have access to his foot again, and licked it all the way home.  When we got back from the veterinarian’s office, he had a huge burst of energy, and was acting so happy, rolling around playfully.  He finally pooped again after a three day hiatus.  Unfortunately, he refused to eat his regular food, despite how I doctored it up.

Bright Eyed and Inquisitive After Patch Removal

Day Eight:  Skippy was very subdued.  He was laying in one spot all day long, and I suspected that he was holding his bladder and bowels so he wouldn’t have to walk to the litter box.  I tried picking him up, and he cried.  I was able to gently slide him onto a throw rug, and then I slid him (on the rug) over to his litter box.  He immediately used the litter box, and my suspicions were confirmed.  He was hurting.

I texted the vet and asked if I could start giving him gabapentin again.  They approved it immediately, and asked me to let them know if he needed a second fentanyl patch. We started back on 25mg of gabapentin every twelve hours, and within an hour of the first dose, he was moving again, looking relaxed, and staking out his food dish.  He still wouldn’t eat his regular food though, so I ran to the vet’s office to buy more of the Hill’s a/d canned food.

Day Nine – Eleven:   Skippy is continuing to receive gabapentin 25mg every 12 hours, which seems to be keeping him active and happy.  His appetite is good, and he is still eating the Hill’s a/d urgent care formula.  I’m trying to keep his calories around 200 since he needs to lose weight and isn’t burning any energy right now (other than trying to heal).  I divide the can into three portions, and feed him every 8 hours to keep him feeling full.  I supplement with some canned pumpkin, the HK goat’s milk, and a tiny bit of kibble so that he doesn’t feel hungry all the time.  I am using this air dried kibble that has a higher moisture content, and the green lipped mussels that I’ve been reading about.  He’s doing a lot of napping, probably due to the gabapentin, but is still able to handle light weight bearing.

Day Twelve – Thirteen:  Still administering the gabapentin, and Skippy is now letting us pick him up without any sign of discomfort.  So many cuddles to make up for!  His weight bearing is still somewhat limited, but he’s working on it.  He tends to take 2-4 steps, before he transitions to scooting across the floor.  Step step scoot, step step scoot!

Day Fourteen:  Staples came out today, and although I wasn’t allowed in the vet’s office with him, they told me he was very relaxed about it and didn’t even seem to notice.  At home, he had a new found obsession with his incision and so I had to do a lot of redirecting to get him to stop licking.  The vet gave us another two weeks’ worth of gabapentin, just in case.  That night he tried to lick the incision for a solid two hours, before finally giving up and falling asleep.

After Staple Removal