Ripp’s Story, part
7—Recovering From Surgery
Lookin’ good Ripp!
Ripp is nine days post-surgery, off his pain meds except for
Rimadyl, and feeling really good! He’ll
chase a ball if I throw it for him, but he needs to stay quiet for a full two
weeks after surgery so we can’t do too much of that. The white ointment in his ears is gradually
fading away and his hair is starting to grow back (OK, you DO have to look
closely to see this, but it’s progress!), so he doesn’t look quite so funny
anymore. Or maybe I’ve just gotten used
to it. ;-)
Lots of hair there!
This week we received results from the antibiotic
sensitivity testing that the NCSU vet school microbiology lab was doing. Right after Ripp’s surgery, the team sent
tissue samples to this lab to test, so that we could be sure Ripp received an
antibiotic that would be effective against whatever trace amount of infection
might have remained in his body. After
all, we want this to get rid of his infection for good! Knowing that it would take a few days to get
those test results, the care team discharged him with a “placeholder”
antibiotic for him to take in the meantime.
Well, the test results go a LONG
way toward explaining why his ear infection had been so hard to clear up all
along. They cultured separately for
three of the most common types of bacteria found in ear infections, and it
turned out that at least one of those bacteria was resistant to each of the
common antibiotics they tested against!
So, although we could have knocked one or two of them out with whatever
antibiotic that was tried, the other one would have kept growing. Not to worry, though, veterinary science has
other tricks up its sleeve. Although the
COMMON antibiotics wouldn’t work, a less common one would. The shock for poor old Foster Mom, though,
was that THIS antibiotic would need to be injected twice a day! For two weeks! Well OK, if that’s what’s needed, that is
what we’ll do…
After picking up the drug and needed supplies from the vet
school pharmacy, I stopped by North Paw Animal Hospital for a quick tutorial on
exactly how to do this. The wonderful
staff there was happy to oblige, and gave me some great tips on managing this
on my own. YES, I’ve seen dogs get shots
lots of times, but I’ve never paid attention to the details especially closely,
nor did I ever think I’d be doing it myself!
Well, fostering for GSRA is always an adventure… so here goes.
A bit more
complicated than pills: two different
sizes of syringe, needles, sterile saline, the powdered antibiotic, and a
sharps container for the used needles.
That’s a big
shot! Ripp takes it like
German shepherd he is.
The antibiotic comes as a powder, so the first step is to
reconstitute it in sterile saline. Then,
I draw out the correct dose into the syringe.
Ripp needs 16 mL each time, which is about the size of a
tablespoon. That doesn’t sound like
much, but it sure looks like a lot when it’s in the syringe! Then it gets injected just under the skin
between his shoulder blades. Ripp is SO
good for this. It surely can’t feel
good, but he holds still and barely flinches when the needle goes in. This makes it a LOT easier to make sure all
the drug gets where it’s needed. Of
course, he gets lots of loving afterwards, and we congratulate each other for being
so brave. ;-)
When can we play ball
again? I’ve got two sizes
and will chase
whichever one you’ll throw!
Although it’s early days yet, I’ve been watching for any
change in his personality now that the chronic pain he’s been living with for
so long has been eliminated.
I can’t say
I’ve seen any big changes, but he does seem more inclined to initiate an
interaction or seek out affection than he did before.
This doesn’t really surprise me.
Sweet as he was before, that pain has to
have been a barrier coloring his entire experience with the world for a very
Now that it’s gone, I think
we’ll see more of his full personality every day, as his recovery continues.