09 May Paz’s Amazing Recovery
WOW! I’m amazed at the number of people who have asked how Paz is doing and requested that I do a follow-up post.
In short, she is doing “amazingly well.” Those were the words of her local vet when he took her stitches out on Thursday.
For anyone who didn’t catch my first post, Paz was attacked by a pit bull almost two weeks ago. Her trachea (windpipe) was ruptured, she had a puncture wound on the back of her neck, she lost 4 teeth and she was pretty bruised up. But no major blood vessels were damaged and there were no broken bones. She had surgery that night to repair the trachea and large wound around it and was in “intensive care” overnight. They released her into our care the next morning.
In ICU/Oxygen Cage — hard to see a white dog on a white towel, but she’s on the left:
Paz has made remarkable strides in her recovery every day. Less than 24 hours after the attack, she was able to do her business outside when we carried her to an appropriate spot.
The next morning, she walked maybe 10 feet — she was obviously groggy from the pain meds and wobbly on her feet but she was determined to take a few steps. She slept most of the day but was able to eat and drink when hand fed.
As a side note, the emergency vet prescribed Science Diet “a/d” critical care food. It’s pureed, easy to just lick, and very high calorie/low waste to support her as she healed. I think this was an important part of her recovery — she was on it for ten days — as it gave her what her body needed for healing in a really easy-to-eat and easy-to-digest form. Should you ever have a seriously injured dog, ask your vet about it (it is sold by prescription only but is not expensive).
A couple of days later, she was able to drink water on her own — first from a small dish that we’d hold in the right spot, then from her regular dish. She still had to be hand fed, though. Every day, she’d walk a bit more when we’d take her outside.
Five days after the attack, we had the boat ready to go into storage. After the first day of her recovery, Dave and I had alternated one of us staying at the hotel with her (she needed to be in air conditioning — it was in the mid-90’s out — and in a cleaner environment than the boatyard, and couldn’t be left alone) and one of us working to ready the boat for storage. And Paz got the okay to travel. That was on Friday, May 1.
By this time, she was walking 50 to 100 feet and showing some interest in her surroundings, sniffing all around. Once on the road, it was obvious that she had gotten mobile enough that she needed to be on a leash to protect her from traffic at rest areas. We fashioned a harness out of a bandanna to avoid the wound area.
On the way to our house, we stopped by Dave’s son’s house. John David, his wife and daughter have three dogs that Paz has always gotten along with very well. Two are large and we wondered if she’d be a little nervous or timid around them. Not to worry!
And finally, eight days after the attack, she was able to eat on her own from her bowl, although it was still the special critical care food. Ten days out, she got the visible stitches removed (there are also stitches in the trachea and muscle layers that will dissolve with time).
Every day, Paz is a little stronger and more her normal self. We encourage her to take short walks and be more active (we refer to it as physical therapy) but not overdo it. With her stitches out, she’s now back to wearing her regular harness.
She’s walking about a quarter mile as of today — then gets to ride in her carry bag while we walk further. She’s very alert and twists her head around to see everything. Paz has almost her full neck/head movement back.
In between bouts of activity, she sleeps soundly — not just a normal “doggie nap” but very deep, healing sleep where even visitors don’t elicit much of a response. Her favorite place is atop the back of the sofa — and yes, she jumps up there herself!
She’s now eating “regular food” — kibble with wet food — and the dry food does not seem to be irritating her throat. She’s also resumed her “normal chores” such as pre-cleaning our plates before they’re washed.
We’ve learned that her vocal cords were damaged. She doesn’t bark often, and when she does, it’s a funny high-pitched squeak; sometimes she makes a noise that sounds like a heron’s squawk. The vet says that with time, it may become more normal . . . or not. She also snores pretty loudly now.
Next week, she’ll be healed enough to get a bath. It’ll be several weeks though before she can ride on the SUP with me or on the bow of the dinghy, where she could fall into the (dirty) lake water.
Best of all, she has started bringing her toys to us and asking to play. The play sessions aren’t long, often just one throw of the ball or stuffed toy, but she is running well. She coughs a bit after, but she’s always coughed a bit and the vet says that a small cough is actually good for the healing as it helps clear her throat. The video below of her chasing her ball is only a few seconds long:
Paz is doing really well!
Posted by Carolyn Shearlock on Friday, May 8, 2015
Bottom line: Paz is recovering really, really well. She’s still got a ways to go — the vet said it would be two to three months before everything is fully healed — but her progress so far is nothing short of astounding. She’s one tough cookie!