Friday, April 20, 2018

Moving in two directions at the same time

Yesterday I received the final piece of equipment that I expected to need for Bessie's rehab recovery from the knee surgery. I got a terrific XXL sized crate. Unfortunately it took longer than expected to get here and the shipment got lost and had to be replaced. From everything that I have read up on she will need to spend several weeks confined to a crate and only go out to eat and pee. I really like to massive size of this thing and tomorrow I will be replacing Bessie's old small crate with this one and until the surgery it will be her daytime hangout.
I also got Bess an inflatable soft E-collar to take the place of the rigid plastic cones the Vets always use. I tried it on Bess when it came and she took it quite well.
Now for some bad news.
A few days ago I came across some very disturbing information regarding the popular types of CCL repair surgery. The information was so bad I decided to halt my immediate plans for Bess.
Just to clarify this a bit, the acronyms CCL and ACL are interchangeable. CCL means cranial cruciate ligament and applies to dogs. ACL means anterior cruciate ligament and applies to humans.
I came across a very disturbing comment about a bad reaction to a CCL repair. It involved a result that I had never in my wildest dreams would have imagined. A woman posted on Facebook that her dog had rejected the implanted hardware (the metal plate and screws) from 2 TPLO surgeries and required 2 more surgeries to remove them. I quoted the comment and asked how common this was and in the following days over a dozen people replied with similar experiences about rejections and infections due to unsterilized screws and plates. Those personal reports involved implanted hardware rejection before and after the cut leg bone had begun to heal. With something like that happening before the bone healed and needing the hardware removed would be a catastrophic failure. Because of this I must consult with as many Veterinarians as I can before I will allow Bessie to have this done. 

There is more to this story. 12 years ago when Sassy had both of her CCLs repaired the Orthopedic surgeon told me that dogs will sometimes get used to the torn ligaments over time. This was very similar to what my Vet said about Bessie's hip dysplasia, "that she has lived with this all her life and gotten used to it". So I have to take a long hard look. What I haven't mentioned before is that Sassy spent many years on a pain management program with daily Rimadyl and Tramadol and Adequan injections because her surgery also didn't turn out well.
I need to point out that Bessie is not in any pain. She has responded exceptionally well to the Gabapentin and Rimadyl and CBD oil. So we are not faced with a sense of urgency to get this done. I need to have a consultation with my own Vet to get her unbiased opinion because she doesn't do the surgery and has no profit incentive.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

No end to the explanations

OK, here is the bad news about Bessie. I tried everything to avoid Bessie getting the TPLO surgery but it looks like there is nothing else to do. My primary concern over surgery was being able to keep her immobilized for much of the day for 3 months to allow good recovery. I will have to make some changes in the house and build a large pen. 

After doing all my research on alternative treatments for healing CCL tears I went in to see Dr. Susan Hodge, the Orthopedic specialist, this afternoon. I had read about expensive knee braces (Posh) and about Prolotherapy for non-surgical healing. 

Dr. Hodge took new detailed x-rays and showed exactly what my Vet at Noah's Ark had told me. Bessie's Left knee has a fresh slight tear. Dr. Hodge explained how the ligaments were made up of strands and what happens in a partial tear when a few of the strands break and when they peel back they wither and die and cannot grow back on to the remaining ligament.

I had hopes for the Prolotherapy because a search of authorized practitioners showed one of them, in fact, was the primary Veterinarian in Dr. Hodge's office. Dr. Hodge told me she spoke to the other doctor and he said he had trained for using Prolotherapy years ago but gave it up because it didn't work very well.

I asked about using the Posh Knee Brace but as I had imagined the problem of putting it on and taking it off every day would be difficult since Bess gets upset when I try to hold her feet, Dr. Hodge said she saw many dogs reject the brace and try to roll over to get it off often causing more damage.

I thought it would be useful to write a comment and explain why I was so reluctant to have TPLO surgery done on my 4 year old Rottie girl Bess who is weeks away from getting her left CCL repaired. I just came across a post-op photo of my previous Rottie girl Sassy who tore both her ACLs 12 years ago and had them repaired in 2007 when she was also 4-years old. I have many photos of Sassy but this is the only one of her taken after the operation that shows the incision.
Eleven years ago I was totally ignorant about ACL surgery. We had conversations with the surgeon but I didn't understand most of it or even the description of the procedure. Because of that I didn't have a clue about what questions needed to be asked of the Orthopedic doctors both before surgery and especially after surgery. I do recall Sassy never had a crate at any time. We had bought a couple of large dog beds that she used. And there was no physical therapy, either.

Within a year after her surgery Sassy was in so much pain that our own Vets had put her on a daily pain management program using Rimadyl, Tramadol and Adaquan injections. Even back then the drug costs were expensive. Without the drugs Sassy wouldn't have lived a normal life. Seven years after her surgery Sassy developed liver and kidney failure. She was 11-years old when she was put to sleep, the youngest of all my Rottweilers to go to the bridge. And her experience left me with a very bad feeling.


Update on Bessie.

So sorry for the long delay in posting updates but a lot has taken place since my last post.

Bessie went to see an Orthopedic specialist two weeks ago. The problem was that I had misunderstood what my Vet had told me after doing the physical exam and taking the x-rays. So I thought it was more important to try and fix Bessie larger problem the hip dysplasia.

What I had misunderstood was that when our Vet Dr. Black told me Bessie's hips are a mess, she also said that Bessie has had this problem all her life and has learned to live with it. So at first I was devastated when the Ortho specialist said there was nothing that could be done to fix Bessie. Oh yeah, there was one procedure, a Femoral Head Osteotomy (FHO). But the Ortho specialist described this procedure as such a horrible piece of surgery she would not want to do it. What is does is the Femur is exposed and pulled from the hip socket and the ball at the end is cut off and the Femur is stuck back into the hip and left to heal with scar tissue.

When the light bulb eventually went off in my head and I realized what Dr. Black was telling me, I made another appointment to see the Orthopedic surgeon. We had a long discussion and she carefully explained all the details and took two new x-rays, seen below. Within two weeks Bessie will go back and have her CCL repaired with a TPLO procedure. TPLO Surgery (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy) is for large dogs. This method is preferred on dogs that have a relatively stable knee to start with and Bessie's CCL tear is only a partial rupture and happened only recently.

And that tiny dark gray triangle inside the red circle is the indication that the ligament is torn. The shape happens when the joint tissue becomes swollen and squeezes it.

Friday, March 30, 2018

When it rains it pours.

I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is Ruffin is officially the healthiest person in my house. And I came in a distant second. The bad news is all about Bessie.
Bessie has been limping for the past week and because of her penchant for jumping up and catching the ball when I throw it to her outside, I suspected she may have sprained her ankle or her foot. Those things usually work themselves out with nothing more than a few days rest. But not his time. I became concerned when the limp didn't go away so I took her to the Vet this afternoon and got a physical exam and some x-rays.
Bessie has a partially torn ACL in her left rear leg but the x-rays showed she has Hip Dysplasia in her both hips and her right hip is in the worst shape. In the words of the Vet, Bessie's hips are a mess.
Bessie will be placed on pain medication for as long as necessary but I won't put her through surgery for the ACL with her hips in such bad shape. She may be able to go on for a few more years until her quality of life becomes the most important issue.
This also changes all of my plans, too. Even though he is blind and has just survived major surgery, Ruffin is in very good shape. I am hoping to have him around for 3 or 4 more years. Now it doesn't look like Bessie will last that long so my plan to adopt an adult Rottweiler to keep Bess company has no purpose. I will notify all the rescue groups that have been looking to discontinue their efforts immediately.

You know what they say, when it rains it pours. Right now that is both a literal and figurative description of my life. But you know what, my two Rottweilers know how to deal with it. So while the weather outside is lousy they go take a nap. Daddy will take care of everything.
This past week I've been watching old man Ruffin. He has been taking naps during the day, after breakfast, after lunch and after dinner and he has been laying in the most awkward positions. I started thinking he was falling off the bed except that its only 3-inches high to start with. But actually, this is how he has been plopping himself down when he goes to sleep.

I love this big lug and as far as I'm concerned he can sleep anywhere he wants, any way he wants.
And finally, I gotta mention the weather because three days after the first day of Spring we got the biggest snowstorm of the entire Winter. Six inches of the sloppiest, wettest snow you can imagine. The backyard looked prettier than the front yard so I took these photos from the kitchen window. Bessie went out and found an old yellow ball and managed to play by herself. 
That's it for now. I need to do mores research on getting Bessie's legs fixed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

This is what the first day of Spring looked like

Sunday we had some beautiful, sunny weather with temperatures pushing 60 degrees. Three days later, on the first day of Spring, we woke up to a surprise, 4-inches of snow. OK, I'm the only one complaining about it. Bess and Ruff, judging by the looks on their faces, were perfectly happy eating snow again.

By the end of the day the temperature had gotten above freezing and the snow was almost all melted. And that's the way the weather flip flops in Northern Kentucky. Did you know they have a saying in Cincinnati, if you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes.
Next few days we'll have a chance to dry out again, then possibly get more snow. This has been a very mild winter this year and all of the totals from our 5 or 6 little snowstorms didn't add up to 10 inches of snow.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Love the preview of our Spring weather

Ruff had his stitches removed last Friday and his latest blood test came back looking good. So we are all very relieved that this major surgery to remove his spleen and the huge tumor was successful. Thanks to our Vet Dr. Matt McGlasson at Noah's Ark Animal Clinic in Ft. Wright, Kentucky for taking such good care of my precious friend. And, a big Thank You, to the hundreds of Facebook friends who sent their prayers.

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What a Beautiful day today has been, the Sun is shining and temperature is pushing 60. Now its time to explore the backyard and see if it survived the Winter. While Bessie played with her ball me and Ruff enjoyed sitting on the grass and soaking up the Sun. (and taking pictures)
While I was busy trying to get a photo of Bessie catching her ball, old man Ruffin snuck in and caught me by surprise with a big wet kiss.
Updated Monday, 3-19-2018
That last photo above has raised some interesting comments on my Facebook page. "The kind of photos pros dream of capturing. This one was captured by a dog, a Rottweiler. Love it" "Beautiful shot! He is a great photographer that dog of yours! " So I decided to try and explain it by also showing the photo that was snapped a few seconds before it just as Ruff had pushed into me. 
What happened yesterday and how it made for a very unexpected photo.

I was kneeling on the grass throwing the ball and taking photos of Bessie catching it. Ruff was sitting next to me. Just after I snapped the first photo of Bess, Ruff pushed into me and jarred the camera upward as I was taking another photo and gave me a quick face lick. He caught me by surprise even before I got to close my mouth.

The photo of Ruff kissing me was perfectly exposed and even got a beautiful Sun flare in the picture.


Friday, March 16, 2018


When I ordered the St. Patrick's Day t-shirt to put on the bear I had a hard time finding a place that carried them. Has anyone else noticed a shortage of t-shirts saying, "Kiss Me I'm Irish"? Liberals have been very busy dreaming up new sins for everyone to feel guilty about and their newest effort is Cultural Misappropriation. In this case it basically means if you are not actually of Irish descent it is wrong to say, "Kiss Me I'm Irish".

Cultural Misappropriation, is defined as a concept in sociology dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. 
If you plan on having corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day here is an authentic recipe for Irish Soda Bread passed down from my wife's family. Jacqueline used to make every year and now its been my turn. 
Authentic Irish Soda Bread ( Landen-Osborne Family)

Recipe Makes 2 Loaves
Bake: 35 - 40 minutes
Pre Heat Oven to 375

4 cups. Flour
3 teaspoons. Baking powder
1 teaspoons. Baking soda
1 teaspoons tsp. Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup Caraway Seeds
1 - 1 1/2 cups of Raisins
1  large Egg
1 3/4 cups. Buttermilk


1/4 cup Butter (1/2 stick)
Add large handful of Caraway Seeds and 1 -1 1/2 cups of Raisins to mix.
1 large Egg
1 3/4 cups. Buttermilk



PLACE ON GREASED BAKING SHEET. Bake for 35 to 40 Minutes.

1 cup 10x (powdered) sugar
1/2 teaspoon. Vanilla
1 tablespoon Milk

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Kiss Me I'm Irish.

The seasons are a changing. Christmas bear just got a new t-shirt and just in time because this weekend we are all Irish. We are trying very hard to get back into the holiday spirit and when you see lots of people walking around with signs that say: "Kiss Me I'm Irish", you know you've picked the right one.
Of course, it helped to have been married to a girl whose grandparents came from Ireland.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Ruffin Update: He is back home after surgery.

Things moved very quickly after Ruff had the Ultrasound done on Wednesday by Dr. Bruner. Because of the large size of the tumor and the fact that it was cavitated I changed my plans to have his surgery done next Tuesday at the Care Center and Dr. McGlasson, our Veterinarian at Noah's Ark in Fort Wright, Kentucky did the surgery yesterday morning. It was a good thing to move quickly because the tumor had not yet started to bleed. The doctor told me they will not know until next week if the tumor was benign or malignant. Last night I picked Ruff up and brought him home to recuperate in a more familiar surrounding.  You will appreciate hearing that after surgery Ruff spent the entire day sleeping on a quilt on the floor in the back room of the clinic where all the girls were working. I have seen this once before when Ruff spent the afternoon back there. He enjoys listening to the voices of the girls talking.

When I took Ruff home they gave me some pills to help manage the pain, Tramadol, Rimadyl and an antibiotic Cephalexin and something to calm his stomach. Before I picked him up I stopped at Home Depot and bought a new mat for Ruff to lay on. This will also make it easier for him to stand up without his feet sliding on the floor. I made this into a bed for him to sleep on in the kitchen and as soon as we got home he laid down and slept for 4 more hours.

Around 11 PM last night Ruff woke up and I found him walking out of the kitchen so I took him outside and he did the biggest pee I have ever seen at one time. Probably had his bladder filled by all the fluids they had given him intravenously after the surgery. Since I was totally wiped out myself after the long day I took Ruff into the bedroom and we all went to bed early. Ruff seemed stressed and had a lot of heavy breathing so I gave him a dose of his pain medication.
And Bess has been worried about her friend. I love the way she fusses over him like a mother hen, licking his face and his ears. She has been doing this a lot lately. And the day before his surgery she spent some time laying next to him in my den.
I am very concerned about the results from the patholgy test coming back next week. I posted several updates on Ruff on my Facebook page asking for prayers and there have been literally hundreds of people from around the world responding with prayers. We, and I am referring to the Ruffin fans all over the world, are all continuing to say prayers for Ruffin to get well again. If you are not on Facebook and your reading this here for the first time I ask you for your prayers as well. Thank you.
Update on Ruffin: Saturday 3PM
Continuing from last night, Ruff slept on his bed in the kitchen from the minute we got home until 11PM when I found him up on his feet. I am thinking he got up because he had to go out so I took him out and he did the longest, largest pee I have ever seen. It must have been all the IV fluids they put into him at the Vet's.
I tried to give him some of his pain medication but he wasn't in any mood to take it and because we were all exhausted I decided to go to bed early. Ruff went right back to sleep as soon as I brought him into my bedroom and put him on his bed. But a little after 3AM he woke me and Bess up with some scary heavy panting. At first I thought he was having trouble breathing then it dawned on me he was in pain and the drugs from the Vet had worn off. So I gave him a spoonful of peanut butter with a Rimadyl and two Tramadol pills. After a bit he managed to go back to sleep.
We got up at 8AM and when I took him outside to go pee he didn't have any left. Went back inside and fried up 4 oz of chopped sirloin which he ate right away. I tried to give him some Cephalexin and the antacid pill but he spit it out. I put him back on his bed in the kitchen and he went to sleep.
Around 12 noon I took him out and still no more pee but he did do a normal poop. I fried up another 4 oz of chopped sirloin and he ate it but he wouldn't take any pills. This time I refused to take no for an answer and forced him to swallow the rest of his midday pills. He must have had a bad taste in his mouth from having the pills dissolve because he gobbled a large drink of water. Now he is back on his bed sleeping.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ruff has some serious medical problems

Ruffin will need to have his Spleen removed.

During a routine exam last Friday at Noah's Ark, our Veterinary doctors office, our Vet discovered a tumor on Ruff's spleen. Dr. Matt McGlasson asked me to get Ruff in to see Dr. Bruner a specialist, to confirm his exam. I took Ruff in this afternoon and Dr. Bruner showed me the Ultrasound images and there is a massive tumor 8.4 cm (3.3 inches) wide on his spleen that has already cavitated. There is no way to tell if the tumor is cancerous or not but at least there is no sign of bleeding yet. I have no other information until I get a chance to talk with our Vet tomorrow.

On the plus side Dr. Bruner said Ruffin was in excellent health and should have no trouble surviving the surgery.

I am still amazed at how Ruffin is acting. In the last three weeks he has been in to see three doctors and he takes it all in like he enjoys the adventure. Before, during and after Ruff has had no change in attitude and shows no sign of discomfort. This morning was typically normal for him. He got up, went outside did a pee and a poop came in and took a nap.

At the Vet's office this afternoon he flirted with two female staff and one woman in the waiting room. While waiting for the Doctor he smooched one of the nurses. Back home, he ate a big dinner and another chopped sirloin burger to raise his blood count up and is now taking another nap. Nothing seems to bother him.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

It may be a month early but it already feels like Spring

This past week we have had more crazy weather. Yesterday we had a fast moving snowstorm that gave us 3 inches of snow. And by this morning it was all melted away. Well, at least Ruff and Bess enjoyed it for a few hours. Here are some photos.
Gotta say one thing about the weather map today. It sure is colorful. Our little snowfall may last awhile. The darker blue band is moving Northeast right over us. Hey, we just got a Saturday Surprise Snowstorm. OK, only a little one, but every snowflake counts. (no pun intended) but then it kept on snowing.
3 hours later the little snowfall that could turned into a snowfall that did. Now we have at least 2 or 3 inches and Bess and Ruff are having a good time. Weatherman said it will all go away by tomorrow.

And today it was all gone. And everything was muddy again. They say it isn't over till its over but I think that Spring is taking the upper hand and Winter is losing its grip. Even when we get a brief change in weather. And speaking of change, here is our 7-day forecast.
And just to put everything into perspective, after I went through some old snow photos of our Rottweilers enjoying some deep snow I happened to look at the dates and they were all taken in the month of March. So this is going to be interesting.