Since we are nearing the year anniversary since Sutt’s bilateral TECA surgery & his twisted stomach surgery was almost 2 months ago, I figured it’s time for an update.
First & foremost, we’re hanging in there. It’s been a wild ride of year w/ some major ups and downs. All of the vets & his surgeon have dubbed Suttree “miracle dog”. I fully believe he’s tougher and stronger than I ever could be.
Sutt is still greatly benefiting from bimonthly acupuncture visits where we focus on the neurological issues that come from swelling in various spots in his spine. You should see him in the first few days after a visit, it’s a huge difference. Also a huge difference the opposite way if we go a week too long w/o a session. I fully believe the acupuncture & daily full spectrum CBD dose are the root of his health benefits.
For those of you who missed the almost minute by minute twitter updates two months ago, here is what happened. I very thankfully had the day off from work & was working in the studio in the afternoon. Sutt woke up fine that day but in the afternoon, he seemed to just be having a “bad day”. These are the days where he maybe he didn’t get good sleep the night before and/or his arthritis is particularly bothering him. Around 6:30 pm, he was napping besides me while I was matting & when he tried to get up, he just couldn’t. I went to help him up & when I put my arms around his stomach, it felt like a football was in his *very* tiny stomach & he yelped. We were in route to the vet (that’s 45 minutes away) within 5 minutes.
After an x-ray, it was confirmed his stomach had twisted & I was confronted w/ the decision to go forward w/ the very invasive surgery or say goodbye. Even writing this I start crying because I was in complete shock. All of Sutt’s problems were slow and ongoing, nothing like this emergency. Thankfully, the same surgeon who did his TECA surgery was the one working and would be doing this surgery. I asked her, “No one knows Suttree in & out like you. I am not trying to put him through something he shouldn’t go through. What do you think?” She told me she had never seen a dog go through the TECA surgery so well & heal so well & that he had been doing really well the last couple of months – that it was worth a shot. I would have done whatever she suggested. She is incredibly straight forward, no holds barred type of person, which I appreciate.
Sutt went through the 45 minute surgery beautifully. She said that everything looked pink and healthy inside but what caused the twisted stomach was acute pancreatitis. None of us could see that coming. Besides being a senior pup, he has none of the other catalysts for a twisted stomach.
The healing for this surgery was VERY challenging. Much, much more so than w/ his ears. All of the good work the acupuncture did w/ his neurological issues got knocked to zero from the anesthetic & surgery on laying his back. For a whole month after surgery, I thought everyday was our last day & I constantly questioned if I made the right choice. Lots of tears.
But, Suttree rallies. Now, after a couple of acupuncture visits and lots of small exercise sessions, his back to his wobbling self. He now eats lots and lots of smaller meals throughout the day to hopefully ensure his pancreas stays happy. He got his first bath since the surgery & I know that made him feel better. As of last night, he does have a slight bit of blood in his urine, but this is his reoccurring UTI & we’ll address this tomorrow during his acupuncture session w/ a short term antibiotic dose (I’m used to these now & so are the vets).
As always, I must end these updates w/ a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who have purchased work & helped me out w/ the vet bills. Suttree might not be here w/o this near constant attention and always constant love. Tears stream down my face for how thankful I am. I love him…so much. Thank you.
There always seems to be a lot going on in Suttree’s health so I figured it was time for an update! He’s currently doing really well after some scares, so I’ll start with that.
A couple of months ago I noticed he was having trouble standing for a few minutes, falling down and then, getting back up. He would whine when he was trying to get back up. Couple this up with a bad scratch in his eye & a new ear hematoma & I was…very scared. A very tearful me went to the local vet’s (where he has been getting his acupuncture & treatment after his surgery) & asked for both of their opinions. The eye and the ear, we could take care of, the possibly neurological damage, we just needed to see how bad it was.
I should start with a short story of when Suttree was just a wee pup, about 3 months old. He started having seizures, only in his back legs. After an x-ray, it was discovered that he had one vertebrae that is slightly longer than the others. This causes information to be cut off along his spinal cord if there is any swelling. Turns out he was allergic to a popular flower in Phoenix, we gave him Benadryl & it never happened again. The vet did warn me though that when he was an older dog, this issue might come back up. After Sutt’s current vets studied this fact & did a neurological exam (that he did surprisingly well on), they decided that this was indeed a swelling issue, not a permanent issue (well, partially). Sutt is now back on 5mg of prednisone everyday, for the rest of his life and 1 tramadol in the morning to help with the day. He gets 6 drops of the full spectrum CBD oil before bed. We also now target spinal health and swelling during his acupuncture visits (we’ve now had 3 of these sessions so far). He is moving around *so* much better! Very rarely falls, wants to play ALL the time, and no whining when standing up. He has so much more energy now, it’s like he’s half his age. His back end is still much weaker than the front & not as coordinated, but that does not slow him down. He’s even been jumping in the snow, which is something I thought I’d never see again.
As for the eye and the ear, which was thought they both might need surgery – they don’t! The ear we drew blood from & it healed perfectly, which amazed the vets (normally it fills back up). The eye is still healing, but it *is* healing.
While everything seemed to be moving in an upswing, Sutt peed blood two weeks ago. That. Was. Terrifying!! We were actually on our way to the vet for an acupuncture visit so he quickly got an ultrasound and they looked at his urine under a microscope. They could find nothing wrong, besides that he was only peeing blood (no urine). He looked and acted great. The vets were stumped. They sent me home with an antibiotic in case it was a UTI. About 6 hours later, he peed and it was completely clear! Hasn’t had a drop of blood in his urine since. It was a very expensive scary day that took at least a year off my life. The vets still have no idea what happened besides that it might have been a single stone.
The beloved vet who has been treating him this last year & doing his acupuncture is moving to a different practice an hour away, but I’ve decided Sutt will keep seeing her. Out of all the vets and specialists he has seen in the last 7 years, no one has worked as hard or bonded with him as much as she has. She has also always stayed in touch with me during his tougher times and she even visited him and gave him acupuncture sessions after his surgery. Driving twice a month to see her I feel is well worth it.
I want to continue to thank anyone who has purchased any work from me because without you, Sutt wouldn’t be here by my side as I write this. Selling my work allows me to pay for his acupuncture, the gas money to get there, his meds and any other tests that are needed to keep him as healthy as possible. THANK YOU. I’d also like to let anyone know that is going through similar issues with their dog (or even not similar), I’m here for you. Please reach out. It’s just me, Sutt, 2 kitties and a rabbit in this little cabin out in the country and I can understand the immense weight & quietness of having your beloved not feeling well. If I can help with any advice, or just be an ear, or cry with you, I’m here.
**UPDATE – 8/20**
Suttree’s surgery was a success! The first (more on this in a bit) took 5 hours for both ears. He woke up & was standing afterwards and did not need a blood transfusion (which was a concern due to his slight hemophilia). He had no facial paralysis (common, but usually temporary after this surgery) and no balance issues (also common mainly due to inflammation). They kept him under constant supervision for two days and he received two laser therapy sessions and one extra long acupuncture session all to help with the swelling. A week later, he needed to have the stitching on side completely redone, so he had to undergo a second surgery that was almost two hours long. Since then, he has had all of his stitches out and is healed up beautifully (pictures below). He is now completely deaf. They don’t normally remove the ear drum, but the surgeon wanted no chance of the infection surviving anywhere, so she removed *everything*. The deafness has been and continues to be a major learning curve for both of us.
Sutt’s postop & allergy care and treatments continue. He receives acupuncture once a week (soon to hopefully go to twice a month) and this week will have a blood panel done to see his levels post surgery. He is no longer on any antibiotics (for the first time in a year). He also now only gets 5 mg of prednisone when there is excessive swelling due to itching/rubbing from his allergies. He has only needed one dose in the last week, which is the least he has had in the last 7 years. The vets and I find this incredible. He also has recently started getting 3 drops of Full Spectrum CBD oil in his dinner. I believe that this, plus just recently getting the green light from the vet to swim in the river, has helped his skin immensely. Sutt continues to have major incontinence issues and the vets are completely stumped on this. It really might be his age, it might be behavioral after being so sick for so long, it might be both. Although he is much better than he was, he still goes through rough days of itchiness, swelling around his eyes & overall soreness (due to allergies, not infection). That’s not everyday though, not like it was for a year.
In conclusion, I am so, so happy that the surgery was done and I was able to have it done for him. Last week, the vet had tears in her eyes when she looked at me and said, “I’m so happy you gave him the surgery. A lot of people wouldn’t have and it’s been amazing to see him heal and get so much better so quickly.” As I would do *anything* for Suttree, I never thought about not getting him the surgery, but it has been beautiful watching all the vets care for him and learn more about this procedure, his allergies and his AMAZING healing powers. Multiple vets have said he heals faster than any dog they have ever seen.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing our ongoing journey and even more so for helping us with our travels.
Two days after surgery:
Left, 1 week after surgery. Right, two weeks after surgery:
Healed left and right er…”ears”, 4 weeks after surgery:
It’s finally time for Suttree, my 9 1/2 year old dalmatian pointer cross, to undergo a pretty big surgery called TECA (Total Ear Canal Ablation) in both ears. The infection started last year and quickly spread to both ears. It’s been a downward spiral since, resulting in weekly vet visits & an overall major scare to his system. After consulting with multiple specialists, vets & surgeons, the surgery cannot be put off any longer. The surgery is scheduled for June 26th.
A bit of good news is that we have already done a culture from his ears and have started giving him the antibiotic and anti fungal medication. Also, a scary fact is that he is moderately anemic now (due to longterm infection) but had to undergo surgery yesterday for an ear hematoma and went through the hour long surgery under anesthesia excellently *and* his blood clotted normally. This is a great sign for the upcoming TECA surgery, which is quite intrusive and long.
The surgery & overnight stay is $1800 (there could be extra charges, as always). The clinic is allowing me to put half down if I have to and can make payments on the rest. With having a culture, blood test, surgery and new meds in the last 10 days, I am pretty tapped out. I have created a coupon for my store to get 10% off with all purchases from now through the 26th. Code: SUTTREE
If you don’t feel like making a purchase right now, here is a direct link to my Paypal – PayPal.Me/SolExposure
Also, you can donate directly to Suttree’s account at the vet. Pruyn Veterinary Hospital – (406)829-8150. Just say you would like to put money on Suttree’s account for Sol for his upcoming surgery on the 26th. If you do this, ask for a confirmation and please let me know!
These last 6 months have been very trying for both Sutt & I and w/o the sales I’ve made and help we’ve received, we wouldn’t have gotten this far. Words cannot express how thankful I am to all of you all over the world who have helped us. I (& the vets) truly believe this surgery will be a major turning point for Suttree in getting him back to the happy, energetic dog he has always been.