Surgery Day! I prayed hard today for Skippy, and for the amazing veterinarian that we’d entrusted him to. I was so impressed with the kindness and thoroughness of his surgical team, despite the fact that it was all done “covid style” from outside in the parking lot. They texted me updates about how he was doing before surgery, and the vet phoned me as soon as he was out of surgery to let me know that all was well.
Skippy’s surgery entailed the removal of the femoral head (aka the ball joint) of his remaining hip, and then a careful smoothing of the femur and socket, to ensure no painful rubbing would occur in the future. The vet explained to me that this surgery would only be successful if Skippy developed his muscle and ligament strength enough to create an artificial joint of sorts. So, unlike most other surgeries, our goal was to get him up and moving as soon as his pain tolerance would allow. Our surgeon also let us know that Skippy now weighed 12.4 pounds, and that we should set a weight goal of 10 pounds for him. So, we would need to further reduce his calories. Ugh.
He was discharged that same afternoon with a fentanyl patch, and the vet added on a 24 hour nerve block to bridge the gap until the patch fully kicked in. We also paid a little extra for a two week injectable time released antibiotic, to minimize the amount of pills he would have to take. Lastly, the vet prescribed four doses of Metacam, which would be administered orally every other day to help keep inflammation down. So, we had pain, inflammation, and infection well covered. The vet also gave us a five day supply of a special urgent care recovery food – Hill’s a/d. We continued mixing his food with the Dasuquin Sprinkles and another awesome joint supplement called Super Snouts made from Green Lipped Mussels.
After surgery, a recovery room was created for him in a large spare bathroom. It gave him a bit of room to move around, but nothing that presented any risk of falling or hurting himself. He was agitated that first night, but having someone stay close by seemed to help him feel safer and stay a bit calmer. That night and for the next two weeks, one of us would sleep on the floor next to him. This allowed us to not put an e-collar on him, and instead we would just gently redirect him when he tried to lick his incision. Admittedly, it was exhausting, but we all loved Skippy so much that we were willing to sacrifice some sleep in exchange for bringing him comfort. And during those first few days, I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I couldn’t bear the thought of being away from him.
Because it wasn’t clear whether Skippy would be able to bear any weight while using his litter box, our caregiver friend recommended setting out some incontinence pads for Skippy to use. We both knew he was really fastidious about using his litter box though, (such a good boy), and so it soon became obvious that he wasn’t willing to pee anywhere else. A flat cookie sheet with some litter sprinkled on it was added to the room, and he immediately slid over and peed. He would lean on his nub while urinating, and so he had some litter stuck to his back end that would need some gentle cleaning. We use a compostable cat litter (I think it’s made from corn), so I wasn’t too worried about him possibly ingesting a bit of litter while grooming.