Hard to believe it has already been two months since Bacio’s FHO surgery. I remember being so scared, anxious, and nervous driving him to the vet. I knew what I was doing was in his best interest, yet I was still concerned. For newer readers that may not be familiar with Bacio, he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at a year old, but never showed signs of pain. I held off on anything invasive until he showed some signs of weakness. You can see his x-rays here.
The recovery road has had its ups and downs so far. The first couple weeks he looked like he was doing very well. The video clips I was taking are evidence of that. He was walking around putting small amounts of weight on his right leg almost immediately. I was so proud of him. Then the tides turned. We tried to go back to our second floor apartment in Chicago. The vet had said that if he went slow on the stairs he should be fine. Unfortunately, his first attempt going down the hardwood stairs he lost his footing and fell. He limped around for the next day, and I started getting worried that maybe he tore something. We went back to the vet, there were no tears but he was put back on pain killers. That fall did more than physical damage to Bacio. It hurt his ego, his confidence, and led to him being fearful to use that right hind leg.
Here’s a clip I made, a photo of his incision everyday until the stitches were out.
After a couple weeks of trying to coax Bacio into using his leg, and spending more time in the suburbs where there weren’t stairs for him to worry about. I finally made the decision I should have made sooner. I brought him to Integrative Pet Care, a therapy and alternative medicine practice for pets. I had held off initially because the prices were a little daunting. However, after the consultation, I knew right then and there it was something I had to do, and that these people were really going to do their best with him. He is now in a therapy program. He goes to hydrotherapy twice a week for now, and has a laser therapy and exercise session once a week. I have also gotten home exercises to do with him, but he’s a very stubborn dog and despises them.
The therapy has been the best thing so far. After just two sessions, he was using his leg more often and even balanced on it to pee! I couldn’t believe it. I say that he’s a faker, and milking his injury, but in all honesty I believe he’s just been afraid to use that leg after the fall. He’s still very stubborn about exercises, but I get some of them accomplished with him. He never lets me do all of them in one day. Bacio is not food driven, it makes it really hard for me to get him to do anything.
Bacio balances on his leg to pee more often now, it still frightens me, I always think he’s going to collapse. We go for at least 2 walks a day, in a day we probably walk close to a mile, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on the day. He rarely hops on the walks anymore. He usually hops when he tries to go to fast, and even now he’s starting to toe touch that back foot when he speeds up. His knee still wobbles when he walks, I don’t know if that’s because he’s swinging the other leg around or what. Randomly he’ll get excited or try to move to fast and slip on the wood floors here. I’ve put carpets in most of the rooms to prevent that from happening, but he’s really good at finding the non carpeted spots to fall on. He does walk around the house now too, which he never did, he’d always hop around, now he only hops every third step or so.
So, progress is being made. It is slow, but it is happening. Is he where most other dogs would be right now? Not even close. Does he know that? Nope. The past two months have been so unbelievably emotional and stressful for me. I’ve spent most of my time, energy, and savings on this dog. I’ve been asked if I think its worth it on a number of occasions. My response is always the same. Of course I think it is worth it. If I had to go back to the day I had the choice of adopting him or his brother with this big brown eyes, and I knew everything that I was going to go through with Bacio, I’d do it all again. I’d take him out of my aunt’s arms again and sit on her floor with him, even though I’d know that he was about to pee on my lap. There is only one thing I’d do in retrospect, and that would be to get the surgery done sooner, so that he’d be pain free and running around faster.
I know he’s thankful for everything too, he’s been very cuddly lately.