Sunday, February 22, 2009

@ 11 months: recovering after surgery #1

Bailey is back from surgery! He was recovering so well, or at least, he was moving around so much that he was released a day early. He was super hyper upon seeing us again; you really couldn't tell he had had major surgery two days before. The collar is a nice fashion statement, no?

I was requested to take a more dignified portrait of Bailey. You can see two of his three incisions here.

When someone licks his stitches too much, he gets the cone.
Someone hates the cone.

We thought Bailey might feel a little cold on his shaved side, but he doesn't seem to care for blankets or towels so much and prefers to chew on them instead.

Overall, Bailey seems to be feeling well, perhaps better than he really is. Sometimes we suspect he has a high pain threshold; it certainly goes up when he sees another dog and thinks he'll get to play. Sadly for Bailey, doctor's orders are no walking/horseplay for at least two weeks.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

@ 10.5 months - Tilly's back!

[This is from two weekends ago.]

It's Tilly! Back for another weekend of dog-sitting. She's always on the go, and reminded us that our Bailey has pretty much zero economy of movement. While our guy lopes around in crazy clumsy circles and has the cutest prancing walk, Tilly zips between points in straight beelines and takes stairs as if they were flat open ground.

Tilly has a magic radar that immediately located every single toy Bailey had lost under our furniture. She whimpered and tried to burrow under every couch or table where she'd located a toy. Her rear end is blurry because that little tail wags nonstop whenever she's on the hunt.

They both still love the window. But Bailey is quite a bit bigger this time around. Compare to this photo from about 6 months ago.

@ 9 and 10 months: Bailey has hip dysplasia

In December, Bailey started standing up against the bench rather than sitting on it. It's a funny human-like pose, especially when he folds his arms.

Here's a clearer view:

Initially, we thought he started this because he was getting too big for the bench (compared to, say, when he was 3.5 months old). But now we realize it must have hurt to jump up on the bench, because...

...Bailey has hip dysplasia. The poor guy was probably hurting the whole time, but he's not much of a complainer, so we had no idea until December. At that time, he began yelping randomly, basically whenever his bones popped out of place. His way of sitting like a frog (back legs kind of turned out) when he was younger and his difficulty with traversing stairs were possible early indicators.

Some info on hip dysplasia:
Basically, Bailey has deformed hip sockets. So his pelvis doesn't join up snugly with the top of his femurs (the uppermost leg bones). Over time, bone spurs and arthritis can develop. The situation is pretty clear when you compare Bailey's x-ray to this x-ray of a healthy dog.

Ironically, hip dyspasia is atypical in mixed breed dogs and in smaller dogs in general. But if Bailey is indeed part-border collie, that might be the source of the defect.

At times, we find it ridiculous how much we'll need to spend on our poor mutt, but he's so young, and we were hoping to have him around for many years. The expected result is a return to pretty much 100% normal function, and in that case, it'll be worth it.

So wish him luck! Next week is the first surgery on one side of the hip, followed by the second surgery three weeks later. Then he'll have a very uncomfortable 2-3 months, but if all goes well, he'll be in good shape just in time for summer!

@ 9.5 months: Bailey in the snow

Bailey says: this snow is serious business.

We think Bailey has perma-puppy features—those short legs and giant front feet seem here to stay.

Bailey enjoys eating snow off of shovels, as well as off of the ground.