Today was surgery day. Last night I sat on the floor and tossed Callie's very favorite toy (a bright pink ball) with her over and over and over again, sending her running up and down the hallway, long ears flying. I think I was trying to make up for the fact that I'll have to hide that ball from her before she comes home from the vet with her gimpy leg. While she's healing, it will be too much of a temptation to run and scamper around after the ball, so we will just have to remove it til she's all healed up. In the meantime, her dozen or so stuffed animals will just have to suffice. I snapped a few pics of her last night because she was so clean and pretty looking - I figured I might as well give her a bath before we took her in!
At 6:45 a.m. this morning, David and I hopped into our rental car and drove Callie way across town to the Centre DMV. As always she shivered in the car during the ride, but it was more a generic stress response to driving than any awareness of the surgery to come, I think. Mostly she just curled up in my lap and tried to doze until we stopped the car.
She was well-behaved as always, and we ran around a little in the parking lot before taking her inside. Her last run in the grass for a few months! When we finally headed through the doors, Callie was greeted by an absolutely huge brown dog, but he was friendly and they had a nice little sniff. The girl behind the counter surprised us by asking that we pay a deposit of $1,000 up front for the surgery - I guess that's how you know you're in for a serious operation. (We won't know the total cost until Saturday.) While we were completing the transaction, one of the veterinary assistants came up and gently took Callie from me, and before I knew it she was whisking her away! David didn't even have a chance to pet her goodbye. We figure they do that so that owners won't get worked up and add any more stress for the animal, but it was still pretty tough to see her go so quickly.
When we had finished paying, they told us we could go and that we'd receive a call later to let us know how everything went. We drove back to Montreal, dropped off the rental car, came home and ate some cereal. Then we both got to work, and I tried not to think about it for the whole entire day.
Finally at around 4:30 I got a call from Dr. Planté's assistant, who told me that Callie was starting to wake up from her surgery and was doing well. She told me that because Callie got a bit cold, they had put her in an incubator, but I still don't have an explanation for that one. I'll make sure to ask about it at my next opportunity. She said the surgery lasted only about an hour and a half, and that Dr. Planté would call me soon.
Around 6:30 he did call, and gave me all the details. He did the x-rays and apparently the femur and tibia were both very, very curved (a problem), but they curved in different directions and he decided that trying to "correct" them could create as many problems as it would fix. Thankfully, he ended up doing almost exactly the surgery that he described to us last November. He made the groove for the kneecap much, much deeper, and did a bone transplant (to hold the muscle) on the tibia, which is now held in place with 2 pins. He said repeatedly that the end result was very good, that the kneecap is stable and the joint is strong!
At present, they are observing Callie for the next day and a half. I will get a call to update us tomorrow, but Dr. Planté said he expects we can come pick her up on Saturday. She will have a bandage (maybe a cast) on her leg for a week, but once it comes off we will need to do physiotherapy with her every day to help heal the leg. She will get antibiotics and pain pills for around 10 days, and of course the big one: no jumping, running, hopping, or any activity but gentle hobbling for 6-8 entire weeks! I even have to hide her fluffy dog bed, because the uneven (squishy) surface could make her lose her balance and mess things up horribly. So we will just have to be extra careful for a couple of months.
Finally, Dr. Planté said they also did x-rays of her pelvis and right leg. I'm extremely happy to report that he said they found no signs of arthritis or problems in either place, so she should not need any surgery on her other leg! What a huge relief. He also said if we had any questions at all, we should call him directly at any time. Seriously - he's amazing! Dr. Planté, if you ever read this, thank you!!
Now I just have to wait a day and a half before we can get her home, and the long healing process will begin. I will keep everyone posted on Callie's progress, and I'm sure she'll be back to hopping in a HEALTHY way before we know it!