Knox’s Liver Shunt Recovery Journey: Days 1-7

Day 1 (July 16th, 2019): We started off the morning bright and early. His drop off time was for 7 am and we were out the door by 6:10 am since NorthStar Vets in Robbinsville is about 25ish minutes from where I live. We arrived a little after 6:30 am since there wasn’t any traffic and I still had to fill paperwork out. Before taking him into the back she mentioned how she had to do the blood work, but failed to mention how I had to stay to wait for his ammonia levels to come back. I only knew this because when we tried to do his CT Scan the first time, it was a hot mess due to the lack of communication about things and how if his ammonia levels aren’t low enough, he would not wake up after his anesthesia.

They took him in the back around 7:10 am and everything was going well until the tech came back out. I said so we have to wait about 20ish minutes before we get the blood results back right, she said well, I would rather his surgeon, Dr. Kraus look at it. So I said okay, that’s fine, but THEN she said oh, she doesn’t come in until 8 am. I was pretty annoyed because why was I told to come in for 7 am if she is the only one that can look at it and she doesn’t come in until 8 am. Then I said so okay, once she comes in at 8 am she can look at it for a few minutes and then we’ll know a little after 8 am, right? WRONG! The doctor does their rounds at 8am meaning she has to go and see all the dogs first before she even looks at his results. Once I got annoyed and spoke to the front desk to find out what the hold up is, I was then told how they have to re-do his blood work because they screwed up. Thankfully, I was nice and respectful the whole time because I was already fed up. By 8:50 am they came back out to say he was good to go for his surgery!

Around 2:00 pm I got the call that surgery was done, breathing tube was out, and they were waiting for him to wake up on his own. She said his shunt was short and it was a difficult surgery for her. With the shunt being short, it was hard for her to close it off, but she said I DID CLOSE IT! haha She told me to call back later that night to get an update on how he was doing.

Around 8:00 pm I called to get an update, but was told the tech was busy with another dog and someone would call me back. I waited an hour since maybe another dog had an emergency situation. I called back and explained that I was never called, she tried paging the ICU team, but no one answered so the front desk staff went to the back to check on him herself. She said he was just laying their asleep and then explained that a doctor would call me back since they are the only ones that can speak to me. About 30ish minutes later, I got the call and was told he’s doing good. They tried to give him food, but he just sniffed it. He’s having some trouble sleeping, I guess due to all the noise. He would try laying his head down, but then it would pop back up. She said they’re just keeping a close eye on him for any seizures or hypertension. I was then told if I wanted, I could call back later that night for any updates.

Day 2 (July 17th, 2019: The morning started off of me patiently waiting to get a call from the doctor. Spoke to the doctor around 9:10 am, he said he had a good night. He ate a little bit of food and his belly is still tender. They mentioned how he’s still getting around the clock pain meds and they’re going to try moving him over to oral medications so by Friday he is good to go home. Later on that day, they said he was doing really well and that he was eating more food and is able to sleep.

Day 3 (July 18th, 2019): Spoke to the doctor this morning, they said he’s been eating great and started moving around. He said he tried touching his stomach and he started crying (crying emoji). I feel so bad for him. I decided to cave and I’m going to visit him at the animal hospital. The original plan from Day 1 was to not visit him so he could get as much rest as possible, but my family and I miss him too much and we just want to see him.

Day 4 (July 19th, 2019): The doctor called me in the morning and said that he is doing really well. He is making it known that he no longer wants to be there or wear his cone. She said for a dog that just had shunt surgery he is doing better than expected and that he is ready to go home. She said to just keep a close eye on him in case anything goes wrong and if he decides he no longer wants to eat to bring him back. We picked him up later that evening got the breakdown when his next meds were supposed to be taken and what to look out for. He ended up getting stitches and a total of 21 staples. He is not supposed to do any running or jumping for two weeks (good luck to me). He can get the staples out in 10 days and then we bring him back in 2 months I believe to get his bile acids re-checked.

Day 5 (July 20th, 2019): We’ve been home for a little over 12 hours and he probably had the best sleep he’s ever had since surgery. I slept on the floor with him since I didn’t want him to try jumping off the bed. My whole body hurts. lol We woke up at 1:30 am so he can get his seizure and pain meds. He then woke me up at 4 am, and we had a bit of a staring contest until he eventually went back to sleep. By 6:40 am we were both up and it was time to take his other two medications. He is still eating small amounts of food, probably a little more than what he was eating at the animal hospital. His face doesn’t look out of it anymore. He’s been doing #1 and #2 like a champ. The plan was to just do pee pads in my room for a bit since they said they tried putting him on grass, and he just sat there staring at them, but his energy level is completely different and I will probably limit him to using the grass 1x or 2x a day. I don’t want him doing too much walking so he can heal has much as possible.

Day 6 (July 21st, 2019): I guess my fan was too much for both of us because we both nearly woke up every 2 hours until I eventually turned it off. He got his seizure and pain meds at 2:30 am. He was struggling to sleep for a bit before then so I was hoping the pain meds would knock him out a bit, because no going to lie, I needed a break. My sleep has been non-existent the past 24 hours. This morning he tried RUNNING and he’s been playfully biting! I plan to keep him in my room to contain him for majority of the time since he’s a puppy and thinks he’s fine. His naps are becoming less frequent now. The only issue is him forgetting he was pee pad trained in my room and I’ve had to wash every single comforter that was on my floor.

Day 7 (July 22nd, 2019): I basically rescheduled when he was getting his pain meds because I can no longer be waking up at 2 am since I would be going back to work soon. He hasn’t had any issues and he’s done surprisingly better than what I was expecting. He’s been trying to run and jump again.

See you all next week for updates!

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