The nine-year-old female mini schnauzer who shares my home and life was scheduled for bilateral enucleation several months ago. When her pre-op lab tests roused the vet’s suspicion that she might have Cushing’s Disease, my girl’s surgery was postponed while she went through a battery of tests. The good news is she did not have Cushing’s. Not so good was the cost of those tests plus I had to get myself psyched up for the enucleation again.
Fast forward to June 24, the new surgery day. Leaving her behind at the veterinary hospital was so-o–o-o-o difficult! By then, however, the vet surgeon felt sure that my sweet girl was feeling lots of pain. She never smiled any more, never played, mostly slept so much it seemed like an escape. So, I knew that getting rid of her pain was top priority. I got phone calls from the marvelous vet OR tech at various stages so I’d know how she was doing and not worry (too much). The only time I cried was when she said, “The eyes are out, and she’s doing good.” Couldn’t help myself, but I’m sure you all understand.
She was supposed to stay in the ‘recovery’ ward for two days, but developed a bit of swelling and more drainage than the surgeon wanted to see, so she asked me to leave Puppy Girl there until Monday (today). I had to take more food and diapers. (I feed her home-cooked meals which have to be refrigerated.) Since I knew my girl would get upset if she heard or smelled me and I left her behind, I forced myself not to see her when I delivered her food and supplies. One of the vet techs made digital photos for me so that I could become accustomed to the sight of her incisions before actually seeing her for the first time. That helped me a lot. When I picked her up today, I didn’t cry. She was overjoyed! My son went with me, and she was beside herself with happiness that her family was there. The swelling had receded, as had much of the drainage. Everyone told me she’d been acting like she felt better for the past two days. Once her incisions heal (and she also had a precancerous lesion removed from her shoulder, so that site still has stitches), she may feel playful again. I do hope so!
She’s wearing a soft e-collar and doesn’t seem to mind it. The meds are making her sleep a lot. A couple of issues bothered me, so I called the vet this afternoon with questions. (1) She was panting a lot and it was cool with A/C, so I thought she must either be stressed, in pain or nauseated. The vet told me to give her pain med a bit earlier, so I did. She ate a small meal, pottied outdoors and not long afterward went to sleep again. (2) While watching her this afternoon, I noticed frequent spasms of her eyelids. I didn’t realize that all the muscles stayed intact with enucleation, so the spasms really bothered me. (I have a neurological condition known as bilateral blepharospasm, so MY eyelids spasm–it’s nerve-wracking, especially when–as now–my treatment isn’t working properly. So I was upset to see her eye spasms. I don’t know how much they bother her.) However, the vet said they will probably diminish after healing is complete, and II hope she’s right.
She’s very hesitant to walk anywhere in the house. I managed to walk her down the back steps but had to pick her up for the trip back indoors. It’s like back to square one when she first went blind, with getting adjusted and used to the house again. Maybe that’s because she’s been away from the house in the vet hospital for a week. She was happy when I sat her on the living room sofa, and she stretched out like she always does. When she heard my son talking to me and then heard my response, she sat up, leaned her head back in her e-collar and moved her head from side to side, very reminiscent of Stevie Wonder. I didn’t think I’d find anything to laugh about today, but that made me chuckle.
It’s so good to have my sweet Puppy Girl back home! I’m uploading two post-op ‘at home’ photos. I had her coat completely shaved prior to surgery, but will be letting it grow back out over the summer. I hope her gray schnauzer eyebrows will grow long enough eventually to hide her scars, but if they don’t, that’s okay too. She’s still beautiful to me.