Kansas' LP Journal

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MAY 9, 1998
All last night I kept worrying about the Bear I took to Kansas. He is a very special Bear that she has had for 9 years. I would hate for something to happen to him so he wasn't there for her when she come homes. So......we bought her a new one. When we went to see her today she was feeling much better. Got lots of good slurppy kisses and tail wags. They are taking WONDERFUL care of her. She is an easy patient and will let them to anything to her. She is also very loving and they are making sure that she gets a lot of attention.
MAY 10, 1998
Took her a Nylaring for a Mother's Day Present. She is looking good and really wants to get out and run around. When we get her out of her cage, we have to put her on a sit or down stay to keep her in one place. Tomorrow morning we find out where we go from here. I am nervous and a bit scared.
MAY 11,1998
1PM Talked with Dr. Henry. He wasn't able to check her this morning as she was inadvertently fed breakfast so he couldn't give her the anesthesia. He did take out the trach and she is breathing well on her own. He will give a look see tomorrow and we will go from there. If everything looks good and nothing more has to be done she will probably get to come home on Thursday or Friday.
8PM Went and visited again tonight. The trach is still out and she is doing OK. She does get excited and goes into "pant mode". From what I understand this is not uncommon following LP surgery and can last as long as 4 weeks. Our concern here keeping her calm enough so that she does cause excessive stress to the surgical site.
MAY 12, 1998
They are going in this morning and checking things out. I am hoping to hear one way or the other by about 12N.
2PMIt looks as if Kansas will be able to come home on Thursday. I am sure that she will be very excited to get back where she can have grass under her feet and a down pillow under her head. Dr. Henry thinks that we have about an 80%-85% chance of a good recovery. We, of course, will have to try and keep her from over-doing. We will also have to keep an ear out for the time when her trach opening finally closes up to make sure that she is still able to breathe well without it. Only time will tell what will happen from here on out, but the BIG THING is that she is coming home and 5 days ago the chances of that happening were slim indeed.
Here are the details, at least up to the present. Dr. Henry went in and took another look. Even though there was a decent opening, he found some more cartilage that could be removed in case of scar tissue build-up. Right now the formation of scar tissue is our biggest threat and she is back on cortisone to help control it. If too much builds up Dr. Henry will have to go back in and try cutting a bit more of the cartilage out of the way. If that doesn't do the trick our options will be a permanent trach or putting her down.
It has been a long and hard fought battle to get to where we are. Just getting her home to the family and to my arms is enough for me at the moment. The future will have to take care of itself, the present, the here and now, is enough for me at the moment.
7PM Dropped by the Vet's after work to visit Kansas and finally got to meet Dr. Henry. He told me that she was doing quite well and asked if I would like to take her home with me tonight. Would I ever!!!! They had to take out a catheter and get her ready so I mortgaged my house and paid the bill (Thank doG for credit cards), loaded her in the car and home we went. The first thing she did was pee on the grass. The second thing she did was pee on the grass. She got a bit excited when we went in the house but after a chicken pop settled right down.

MAY 13, 1998
Kansas had a very good night. We had planned on keeping her in an X-pen but she had other ideas and took her rightful place on the foot of the bed. I don't think she moved all night. She slept peacefully and quietly and was more than ready for breakfast this morning. She will be getting 20mg of Prednisone twice a day for 3 days and 500mg of Cephalexin 3 times a day for 5 days. The only change in our normal routine is that she needs to have smaller meals so we will be feeding her 3-4 times a day. Since she is a Labrador this will be no problem at all.
I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to have her in the car again and to be able to wake up and have her snuggle with me in bed. It is hard to believe that only a few short days ago I thought that I would never see her again.
2PM Dr. Henry called this morning just to see how Kansas did on her first night at home. He was very pleased with my report. I asked him about the stitches and he said that they can come out in about a week to 10 days. Talked with Mom just to see how Kansas is doing and the answer is great. She seems to be trying to make up for lost sleep and really enjoys being able to go outside all by herself whenever she wishes.
MAY 14, 1998
Kansas started to do a bit of panting last night and it continued this morning. She also started to cough a little. At least I think it is a cough - it is hard to tell since she doesn't make much of any sound anymore. We also got a fair amount of mucous from the trach site although we understand this is normal. I have left an update message on Dr. Henry's voice mail and will wait to hear from him. I have also asked if it would be OK to use the Hycodan 5mg for the cough. I am more concerned than really worried. All of this could be quite normal, having never been through anything like this - I just don't know.
9AM Dr. Henry just called me back. He does not think there is any cause for concern. With everything that Kansas had done to her throat he would be surprised if she didn't cough. He would actually like to see her cough a bit more and get out more of the mucous so we will be putting her on an adult dose of expectorant cough medicine and not using the Hycodan. We will also start cleaning her trach site with peroxide and applying some Vaseline to the area to sooth it. He thought that the report was quite good and is very pleased with her progress. Mom came up with a good idea for cleaning the mucous away. She will be getting some baby wipes - they are clean, moist and soothing and should be perfect for keeping her airway nice and clean.
MAY 15, 1998
Kansas did a lot of panting last night.he seems to have a lot of mucous that she is having trouble dislodging. She finally settled down at about 10:30 last night and we were all able to get some sleep. She got rid of a lot of mucous this morning. It's a good thing that after several years of dogs and puppies you get used to gross stuff. The mucous is pretty disgusting! Checked her trach site and noticed that it does not seem to be coming together. Also there is a bump just outside the cut at the top right hand edge and the inside of the cut looks a bit red and irritated.
MAY 16, 1998
Took everyone out in the front yard today. Kansas rolled over on her back and just rolled back and forth on the cool grass - she was in heaven. Everything is going along OK. She is eating and each day we can see a bit more improvement.
May 17, 1998
Another good day. We went out on the front yard again. Kansas just likes to lay on the cool grass and watch the other dogs play. She has started to give Vida her baths again. Vida loves to have Kansas wash her face and head. Kanner is now comfortable enough to do it for her. Had some trouble getting her to eat today. She hates the cough medicine that we have been putting in her food so she has decided not to eat it.
It's funny how the little things can be missed. Kansas was always my "talker". Every day she would tell me what had been going on, carrying on a conversation for several minutes. She also "purred" in the morning when I would give her ear rubs. Also, now when she chases menehunies in her sleep, her runs are silent. These things are now gone and I realized just how much they meant to me. Of course she means more to me than any sound so the trade-off is totally worth it.
Talked with Dr. Henry this morning. He says that the stitches can come out this Thursday or Friday. I have made an appointment with Dr. Reimer for Friday. Dr. Dan has not seen Kansas since the day after the surgery although he has been kept up to date by both Dr. Henry and myself. I can't wait to see his face when she walks into the clinic.
MAY 19, 1998
As they say, "No News is Good News" and there is really nothing to report. Kansas continues to progress and life is settling back into a normal pattern. I must admit that she is getting rather spoiled and she is taking full advantage of the situation.
An interesting observation: One of the odd things that I noticed when reading the posts from the LP list was that many of the dogs had great difficulty walking following LP surgery. Owners shared the various ways that they had made slings to help the dogs walk until they were fully back on their feet. We are having similar problems with Kansas. Her hind quarters seem a lot weaker now than they were prior to surgery. Before the operation she could jump on the bed, now she cannot and needs to have a boost. One thought that I had was because these are all older dogs, the inactivity forced on them by the LP and the surgery causes the muscles to atrophy to some extent. Because they have restricted activity following surgery it is more diffucult to get the muscles back to where they should be.
MAY 20, 1998
Had a nice surprise when I got home last night - Kansas met me at the door with her hedgehog in her mouth. This is the first time that she has brought me a present since her surgery. She seems to be feeling much better. She still coughs and pants in the evenings but that should go away with time. Her trach site is beginning to close up and there is almost no mucous anymore. Also, coat is looking good again. While she was in the hospital her coat looked dry and dull and was falling out in handfulls. It is now soft and shines.
MAY 21, 1998
Things are still going well. Kansas had a good night last night with much less panting than Tuesday night. Her trach site looks as if it will be totally closed in about a week. It is healing from the inside out just as it should. There is still a small amount of mucouse but it is minimal. I am still a bit worried about the lack of strength in her hind quarters. She doesn't like coming back in the house through the doggy door. She did not have this problem prior to surgery. I will ask Dr. Dan about it tomorrow when we go in to have the stitches removed.
MAY 26, 1998
A few days have past so it is time for an update. Kansas had her stitches removed on Friday. Dr. Dan was quite pleased with her progress. She was panting quite heavily but it was not the type of panting associated with LP. Over the weekend we went on a couple of short walks. I have come to the conclusion that that obedience memory is stored in the vocal folds. Kansas, who was my obedience star, cannot seem to remember a single command. Heel and stay are totally alien to her, when she gets outside now she just wants to go, go, go, go.
Everyday sees improvement. Her trach site is almost healed, she is doing less coughing, her hair is growing back, and even her hind quarters seem a bit better. She almost made it up on the bed all by herself this morning.
MAY 28, 1998
Kansas is feeling MUCH better. Yesterday she was able to chase the neighbor's gardener and didn't even get winded. She is taking full advantage of the whole situation and is getting away with murder. We will soon have to start whipping her back into shape so she is not quite the prima donna that she is at the moment.
JUNE 1, 1998
It will be 4 weeks tomorrow from Kansas' first surgery. It is so hard to believe that it has only been a month. The recovery is still going well, in fact, we finally have moved back to our house. I think she was really glad to get back to her (my?) waterbed. We did have a bit of a scare on Saturday. The other dogs heard something in the backyard and took off like bats out of you know where. Unfortunately Kan was in their way and they knocked her for a major loop. After that she started panting and panted for the rest of the evening. I still took her home anyway (she always gets excited when going for a ride). Luckily she settled down fairly quickly and after the 3 girls had their chicken pops we all went to bed. Kansas slept well with no further problems. She woke up feeling bright and chipper on Sunday and we have had no more problems.
JUNE 8, 1998
Kansas has started panting again, not a lot, but enough to start me worrying. It is usually in the evenings. It usually starts when just before dinner, when she gets excited. Sometimes it stops a short while after she eats but lately it has continued to much later in the evening. She is also showing increased behavioral changes - she is exhibiting a lot of stress. She is licking her feet or the carpet, at times almost frantically so I don't know if the panting is because of the stress or if the stress is because of the panting.
JUNE 10,1998
I talked to Dr. Henry and he feels that Kansas' current panting problem is NOT a result of the LP or the surgery. She is stressing over something and we will need to figure out just what it is. He suggested taking her to Dr. Dan and having some blood work done to see if there is some physical reason for what is going on, If the tests don't show anything he suggested that we get some Valium or Phenobarbital for occasional use. At this point we are going to put her back on the Kava and I thought that I would also look into message therapy as well. I would just as soon keep her off the drugs if I can avoid it.
JUNE 12, 1998
This is going to be a special weekend. We are having a party on Sunday to CELEBRATE Kansas' 12th birthday although the actual date is Monday the 15th. We have presents for all of the girls and special ones for Kansas. The dogs will all get chicken pops and the humans will get home made strawberry ice cream. I normally don't do dog birthday parties, but I am definately making an exception for this one.
Kansas is doing well. She still has her stress attacks but they seem to be of shorter duration. Also, now that I know that they aren't connected with her throat, I can handle them better.
JUNE 15, 1998

We had a nice little party for Kansas over the weekend and this morning we had a longer than usual snuggle time. She sure loves to have the shaved spot on her throat and chest rubbed. I can almost imagine her purring as in days past.
JUNE 22, 1998
Things are going pretty well. Kan is feeling good and her stress episodes seem to be decreasing. We still get a little panting every evening, but nothing like it has been. One of her harnesses FINALLY arrived and she got to go for her first real walk in months. She went nuts! She was so excited and having such a good time that we walked clear around the long block. She was pretty panty when we got back and it took her about an hour to fully get back to normal, but ohhhhh what a good time she had.
JULY 2, 1998

I can't believe it but it has been almost 2 months since Kansas had her surgery. She is doing fine. She still pants from time to time but that is to be expected I guess. I heard a great descrition of LP: It is like trying to run a marathon while breathing through a soda straw, WOW!!. Kan has decided that she loves sleeping in front of a fan so I have been leaving one on all night for her. She has also been playing with Giana. They both lie on their backs with all four feet in the air and bite at each other. It must be really fun, they do it a lot.
She is also doing better with her back leg. Kansas had ACL surgery several years ago and it has weakened with age. As long as she was active the muscles kept everything in order. After being confined to a hospital cage for a week and then severely limited to excersise when she came home, she started to have difficulty getting on the bed, in and out of the car, etc. She is now able to get on the bed by herself (unless she doesn't want to) and hops in and out of the car. She is such a changed dog from just a few short weeks ago. I just enjoy watching her enjoy her life.
JULY 13, 1998
Not a lot to report at this time. Kansas is still doing well. She continues to have some panting and for some reason it seems that most of it is at 2AM, go figure. I give her a chicken pop or spray her with some water and make sure she is in front of HER fan and it goes away quickly. I was looking at her this weekend and she sure doesn't look her age, in fact, her daughter, Kui, looks older than she does. We have been calling her "Sun Bear". The hair on her neck and chest is growing in EXCEPT at the bottom where it is still sparse. It is in a "V" shape and she looks just like the Sun Bears you see in the zoo. The hair on her legs is just starting to grow back in. I will be glad when she has it all back again.
JULY 20, 1998
Kansas had a GREAT weekend, in fact there were times when she was acting like a puppy again. She spent half of the day on Sunday playing with Giana. They rolled around the floor wrestling and just had a grand ol' time. The rest of the day, Kansas played and squeeked her new white fluffy pig. I don't mean a little squeek every now and then but minutes of constant squeek, squeek, squeek. She hasn't been that into a toy since sometime in March. It was soooooo much fun just watching her.
JULY 29,1998
BOY!!! has it been hot lately, 95 to 105 degrees for several days. I am happily surprised that Kansas has done so well. There have been a few times when she has gone into fairly heavy panting but it is usually relieved by wetting her down or by giving her a chicken pop. She is also smart enough to stake out her territory in front of the closest fan so she has weathered the heat far better than I ever expected.
I have started a new picture page for dogs that have survived LP. So far I only have 3 pictures up but I know that more will come. I just love looking at these pictures and taking comfort knowing that these wonderful olsters are still with us.
AUGUST 26, 1998
It has been a while since I updated so here is the latest news. Kansas is REALLY feeling good right now. Last night she just wouldn't stop playing with her great-grand-daughter, Giana. They roughhoused for at least a hour and Kansas wouldn't stop squeeking her fluffy pig. I had to stop her for awhile so she could rest. It took her about 15 minutes to recoup and then back she went. She was totally obnoxious and it was wonderful. In addition to playing with Giana, Kansas has been trying to take quick, sneak peeks at her new great-grand-babies that were born on August 19. She knows that she is not allowed in the whelping room but she just can't resist a quick look every now and then.
September 21, 1998
It's been a while since I have updated things, which is of course, because nothing is happening. Kansas still continues to do well. The cooler weather really has her acting like a puppy. Yesterday she was totally obnoxious!! For a while I thought that one of the puppies had escaped but it was only Kan. She hauled out every squeeky toy she could find and squeeked them all. She thought that she was really cute. To be honest, she was. I can't tell you the joy I get just watching her be a silly old lady.
October 20, 1998
Things are still good. I think that Kansas has developed a bit of scar tissue but that is to me expected. It sure doesn't slow her down. We have added a new baby to the household, Godiva's Jamaica Me Crazy or JMe. I have to keep getting after Kansas to take it a bit easy as she is always playing with JMe. Actually, it is wonderful to watch---12 year old, great grandma Kan and a 9 week old pup playing tug with toy or even Kansas' ears. The only drawback is since Kansas can't growl or bark she isn't able to let the little one know when things get too rough. It probably bothers me more than it does her but I don't want her to get too winded. This morning they played for a good half hour before I finally stepped in and sent JMe to bed and Kansas to her sofa. She was panting fairly hard but recovered quickly and was upset when I wouldn't release the little monster for more rough & tumble. When she couldn't play with JMe she decided that she would play with JMe's mom, Wanna. I finally had to do a firm down stay in order to get her to take a rest. It's hard to believe as I watch her play and frolic that only about 6 months ago Kansas was a very sick old lady.
January 4, 1999
I can't believe that it is over 2 months since I last wrote in Kansas' journal. The reason for this is a good one, there is really nothing new to report. Kan is doing well dispite a bit of a mucous problem. She looks GREAT and is as active as we will let her be. She had a wonderful Christmas and got a new bone and some new squeeky toys from her Aunt Margaret. She is still playing with JMe whenever possible. We still are taking it one day at a time and each day brings with it the joy of having her still with us.

March 9, 1999
We lost Kansas' daughter, Kui, on January 22. We think that she might have had pancreatic cancer. She went into crisis on Wednesday afternoon and we send her to Rainbow Bridge on Friday. I was worried about Kansas as they have been constant companions for over 10 years but she is doing OK.

Well, it's been over a year since Kansas developed LP and we are only 2 months short of surgery anniversary. For the most part she is doing very well. She has been having a lot of problems with mucous. This gets worse when the weather is dry. Dr. Dan told me that when the humidity is down the mucous will get thicker. I do think that she has developed some scar tissue which has closed her throat to some extent. When the mucous gets too thick it partially blocks the airway. I have made an appointment with Dr. Henry for next week. He is going to scope her and if necessary do a tracheostomy and then trim back the scar tissue with a laser. Normally the trach wouldn't be needed but with the calcification of some of the tissue that was there when the original surgery was done as well as the much narrower airway he doesn't think that he will have enough room to safely intubate her and still be able to do surgery. Oh well.....I didn't need to get my home computer fixed anyway....

May 5, 1999
WONDERFUL NEWS!!! Kansas celebrates with 1st rebirthday today.
It is hard to believe that it was only a year ago that she underwent her first surgery for LP. I am happy to say that she is doing great and stil manages to tire out the younger dogs in the household. Today is a very special day for us.

June 15, 1999

It's a day to celebrate another wonderful milestone, Kansas is 13 today. We had a little party on Sunday with Chicken Pops for all the K9's. Then Kansas had a nice game with great grand daughter JMe. It was a quiet birthday, but a oh so special one.

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