Hospital visit question - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Hospital visit question

It looks like I'm at an intersection in life with my boy. Hip issue, just got the X-ray results and recommendation from our vet along with all the options that can be considered. I trust her implicitly (that in itself is a huge load off my mind).

For right now since this is just in the beginning phase, my first question for here is what are the hospital visits like for you and for your dog. Did it cause your dog more stress, did he become more anxious or active when he was to stay calm? Any tips. I think a small blanket with our scent would be allowed and comforting. Was it hard on him watching you leave. I don't have to ask if it was hard on you as I can't imagine that it was easy. I've never had to leave any of our dogs at a hospital over night.

Also if anyone who feeds raw, how did you prepare your dog for the hospital food that they feed. I'm assuming a hospital has their own protocol, rules, restrictions concerning home prepped meals being brought in. I'm not that far into this yet to ask directly so it would help to hear experiences and I really don't want him off of raw.

I am in a pretty ok mindset as I have had two surgeries myself THR and revision surgery so I have a bit of understanding about hips in general and THR plus with all the info that I've read on here over the years about FHO and pain management for hips it put me in a much better position to deal with the news calmly and the decision making process going forward will be easier.

Heading to trial tomorrow. He's not restricted But self regulates. He wants to work and He and I need it. It may sound crazy but I'm not very nervous trailing. when I work with him and watch him work, my mind clears everything else out. It's just him and me. He's the same way. If he indicates or shows symptoms during the day, I will pull out and forfeit.

But I needed to unload these two questions before heading to bed and appreciate any first hand experience concerning stays and visits.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heartandsoul View Post
Also if anyone who feeds raw, how did you prepare your dog for the hospital food that they feed. I'm assuming a hospital has their own protocol, rules, restrictions concerning home prepped meals being brought in. I'm not that far into this yet to ask directly so it would help to hear experiences and I really don't want him off of raw.
Most dogs have terrible appetites after anesthesia, so they need sometimes need some extra-delicious food if at all possible for the post-surgery recovery.

As for what they'll take...you'll have to find out their policy! It really varies. I've been through a lot of aggravation with with a specialty hospital over feeding -- my dog literally gets bloody diarrhea on kibble (even RX kibble!), and trying to convince vets who don't know his history of that is not easy.

My regular vet clinic will feed whatever I bring -- even raw. I board there too, and they're really good with my allergy dog. I can bring them quart-sized, frozen zipper bags containing a preportioned meal, and they'll pull one out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge as they use one, so one is always thawing, and the rest stay frozen. The staff is smart, and good. They saw my dog at his sickest and know how big a role diet played in fixing his issues.



OTOH, specialty hospitals are a whole other thing. Before VCA was bought by Mars, their regional specialty hospital (which is also an emergency 24-hour critical care hospital) would at least feed the freeze-dried raw nuggets I brought for after surgery (Nulo was the brand). I bought them specifically for surgery recovery as my guy loves freeze-dried meat like it's a treat, and I was trying to be respectful of the clinic staff who may not want to handle a bag messy, raw meat. My dog easily goes off his food for days, so it was the one food I could be pretty sure they could coax him to eat that wouldn't upset his GI tract....and it would be easy to feed.

After the Mars buy-out, VCA rejected the freeze-dried nuggets because the bag said "raw." Here's what the bag looks like:
https://www.chewy.com/nulo-freestyle...beef/dp/162462

The same vet tech who had fed it two weeks earlier rolled her eyes and whispered an apology while telling me her manager was unyielding due to corporate policy. She would get in trouble if she even took the bag into the back because Mars management was treating it like it was infectious. So I had to leave the hospital to go find 95% beef canned food -- it was the only thing I could figure out that they wouldn't balk at, that my dog was also likely to eat.

I didn't try Ziwi Peak with that clinic only because I didn't want to spend so much money on a bag of it only to have them reject it too -- the Nulo was expensive as the bags are small.

So...YMMV. If they'll let you bring in a bag of Ziwi Peak dehydrated food or Nulo freeze-dried, it's as close as you can get to raw while still being in a bag and tidy to feed (which may make the staff more comfortable).
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Last edited by Magwart; 05-10-2019 at 11:58 PM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 11:56 PM
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Although my girl has bad hips we haven't done surgery($$$). That said she has been overnight for other illnesses and her spay. It is always hard leaving them. She didn't seem to come home negatively affected by the stay. The staff was attentive and took very good care of her. She was very happy to see us when we picked her up and happy to go home.

I can't say what your hospital will agree to about raw food but mine wouldn't allow it. Well not my home prepared raw. They would allow dehydrated products or THK complete mixes as long as I prepared it for them. That said I didn't bother as my girl won't eat when she is stressed. Not even treats. For her spay it was a day and a half with no food and the vet said she would be fine. The other time she had a GI issue and they didn't want her to eat for the first couple of days anyway. I did bring in some prepared THK when we got the ok for soft food and she refused it so I brought it home. The vet offered her their Science Diet canned food as well and she turned her nose up. She came home the following day and we slowly got her back to eating.

Every dog is different but it has been my experience that the first couple of days after a surgery most dogs aren't very hungry. Anesthesia and pain meds usually throw them off eating for a few days.

Post surgery calm depends on the dog. Some are easy, some are not and may need to be given mild sedatives to keep them calm and resting. I would discuss this with your vet prior. Even if you don't need them having some meds on hand might be a good idea just in case.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks bunches for replying so quickly. Have no time to write more have to pack up car but wanted to take a sec to thank both of you.

"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 07:07 AM
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Good luck today!!!!! When Max swallowed a corn cob and had surgery he was at vet overnight for a few days. I brought a blanket and shirt with our smells. I don’t feed raw and they put him on a special diet due to the stomach sx. It was really hard leaving him, it was in the middle of chaos -isn’t that always how it happens. I was a complete wreck. Visits were not allowed as it just excites the dog. They assured me they adapt and adjust- they do they really do. Wishing for a speedy recovery for your boy.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 09:43 AM
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Mine was in an emergency hospital for several days after abdominal surgery and had no appetite at all. They said dogs do better with visits, so we went daily and stayed a long time. Just make sure they take your dog out to pee before you go in as it may be difficult for you to get them outside if they can’t walk well. It was not stressful at all. They said he was unusually well behaved for the breed and for being separated from us. That could have been due to the meds. He was quiet and polite, but he was also not left alone at all. Even in the crate, there was always someone there. They got a hint of his true energy and drive the day we picked him up.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 12:01 PM
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I should probably add: I have a lot of experience with FHO in rescue dogs (hit-by-car dogs and dogs with awful joint deformity). It's fairly inexpensive, and it works astonishingly well -- but it's a salvage procedure. The rehab is a chore (there's a point where they have to use it and don't want to). Once it heals though, the pain is totally gone.



They won't be athletes afterward, but they can have good quality of life. One of our senior FHO dogs still loves to swim and is a very strong swimmer. I can't compare it to THR as that's not something we've ever done (or likely could afford to do on a dog in the rescue's care, to be honest) -- I just know the dogs that got FHO's are doing very well.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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I just wanted to update and will from time to time with questions etc at the various stages. We've decided on a THR. Waiting for the referral info from.our vet @Magwart, thank you for your input concerning FHO. There has been a lot of info to process and consider. Pros, cons, age for him and me and our health (pretty decent) etc. I say our because I'm not a spring chicken either and I'll be the primary to make sure the rehab goes accordingly. we still have a lot of life left in us and I'd like to get this over with and back on track sooner rather than later. I thought a lot about the difference in recovery time between the two.

@Springbrz thanks for the tip about pitying before going in to visit, if allowed. I started a note pad with questions so I don't forget.

@luvshepards you made me chuckle at ".....got a hint of his true energy and drive the day we picked him up"


@Jenny720 thank you for the "good luck". We didn't Title. I, not we, blew it on our first search. It was a "what was I thinking" blurt alert moment. He may have even given me a "why did you do that" look. He did great and stayed focused for all the elements. though a bit tired afterwards.

I also want to thank again for the help given to me with the ramp question a few weeks ago. I use it all the time and it was a godsend for him at the end of the trial day.

"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"

Last edited by Heartandsoul; 05-13-2019 at 12:35 PM.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 04:13 PM
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It was his surgeon. We went in during a quiet period to get him. She said everyone on staff loved my dog and were arguing about who was going to walk him outside. She finally stepped in and said she would do it. He was fine until he saw us by the car, then he nearly pulled her over to get to us. He was literally dancing with happiness.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
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Update w/xray

I expected some degeneration/changes of his hip given his symptoms but not this.

Hospital visit question-img_0553.jpg

The ortho appt is in Sept (first available that he has). He is through Tuffs. I did ask to be on a wait list for cancellations and told them I only needed a two hour notice. I'll also be calling in to check on cancellations periodically.

Im in the process of looking into the various therapies that will help support the muscle tone that he has and manage the pain that he is probably experiencing. I know there is pain by the way he avoids stand still weight bearing on his right leg and his hesitancy to dash up the stairs along with the limp etc.

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