Luke's Larpar Surgery Journey

Discussion in 'Senior Labradors' started by PRO5OHHO, Oct 18, 2022.

  1. PRO5OHHO

    PRO5OHHO Registered Users

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    Thought I'd note the journey my boy Luke and I are about to take through his LARPAR surgery, as it may help others to make the decision whether to tie-back or not.

    Luke is 12. Sometime in August 2022 I noticed him coughing after drinking water. Then I noticed him coughing while I/he were trying to sleep. There's also been some reverse sneezing going on, which seems to be initiated by events that might cause him anxiety or excitement. His panting is raspier than it used to be. He's breathing harder while on walks, I've had to cut our walks short. He sleeps a lot more, probably from poor quality of sleep due to the coughing or just lack of oxygen in general. Snoring has begun this week, he never snored before.

    At an unrelated Vet visit in early September I mentioned the coughing and we started discussing LARPAR. They did a sedated exam, thought that his flaps weren't moving as well as they should. My Vet consulted with a Surgeon at the specialist and the Surgeon recommended trying a 3 week cycle of Doxycycline, Benadryl & switching to a raised food/water bowl citing that he often ran across an infection that mimics larpar. That had no effect.

    Now we've moved on to the Specialist. Luke had a consultation with the specialist last week. A sedated exam with the Surgeon there is scheduled for the day after tomorrow. During that exam if he confirms that Luke has Larpar he will do the tie-back right then and there. Surgery is quoted to be about $4000-$5000. Thank goodness for dog insurance. :)

    Sounds like they will keep him in the hospital for at least a day and a half, maybe longer.

    As I understand it, pneumonia is one of the biggest risks after this surgery with a 20% chance of occurrence within 3 months after the procedure and will always be a concern. And since it is a nerve condition, other problems related to this condition will eventually show up, like the hindlimb weakness. I'll take others' advice and start physical therapy with him at home to delay that.

    I'm willing to cross those bridges once we get to them. His respiratory situation from the larpar (coughing/raspy panting) has progressed much quicker than I thought it would, and I am anxious to have the tie-back operation ASAP. He's in VERY good physical shape so I think the risks are worth it. I think my ole boy has at least one/maybe two good year(s) left in him.

    I'll update this after the surgery.
     
  2. Ski-Patroller

    Ski-Patroller Cooper, Terminally Cute

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    Our first Lab, Ginger, had this surgery at 14. Initially, I was reluctant to put her through it at that age, especially since she was diabetic, but she recovered very quickly and had no problems. The only down side was that she could not bark. She lived until 16 and was quite active until about 15-1/2. She was a rescue that we got when she was 4 so we don't know her prior history, and exactly how old she was, but she was a great dog, and inspired us to get two more Chocolate Labs (so far).
     
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  3. PRO5OHHO

    PRO5OHHO Registered Users

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    Oh I'm glad you got some more and that you were able to have her for so long! What a blessing. :)

    Well the surgery was about a month ago, it went fine. Took me awhile to update this because I've been in Meatball making hell, but I finally found a way out of it so I've got some free time back again. Yay!

    The hospital kept him for two days, 1 day for surgery, 1 day for observation. He came home with a bandage on his neck that was about 6" long and 3" high. He was supposed to wear a cone for two weeks but he never messed with the bandage so I didn't make him wear the cone. Apparently I was supposed to be checking the incision site occasionally but I missed that in the instructions so I didn't do that. I took the bandage off on day 7, because the instructions said I could. It had healed very well. The surgeon took the stitches out 2 weeks after the surgery.

    Medications were easy to keep up with and were given during normal waking hours for 2 weeks. Meds were Cerenia (5 days), prilosec, amoxicillin & gabapentin. After the two-week checkup the surgical staff said I could discontinue all meds. I tried that and it was a mistake, Luke was up all night wretching and coughing, followed by him spitting up a little white bile. That seemed like reflux so I gave him a prilosec in a meatball and that fixed it pretty much immediately. I've been trying to wean him off of the Prilosec since it's not great to give it long term, but as of right now we seem to be stuck at 40 mg a day, spaced out throughout the day. I'm also giving him Slippery Elm since it's supposed to be good for reflux and it won't do any harm.

    Feeding has been a PITA, mostly because I don't know what I'm doing and don't have a Vet right now that knows how to care for a post tie-back Larpar dog. At the hospital they fed him meatballs made out of Royal Canin GI (gastrointestinal) canned wet food, approximately 1-1.5" in diameter. So that's what I fed him for the first week. I tried other canned foods but they were harder to make meatballs out of, and since I didn't want to rock his stomach with a new food the GI food seemed like the best choice. The next week I started introducing meatballs made out of ground turkey. All food changes have been made with slow transitions of course. And up until a few days ago I was just kind of stuck @ 50% GI meatballs and 50% turkey meatballs because I didn't know what else to do.

    I am hand feeding him one meatball/cube at a time while he stands or sits. Tried making meatballs out of his kibble, that didn't work. Others say it works for them, well it didn't work for me. Eventually I heeded suggestions to feed him cubes of Freshpet and that has saved me a ton of time and money. I intend to transition him to almost 100% Freshpet. For treats I'm feeding him Merrick Power Bites Big Bites, they seem like a safe option for a tie-back dog.

    Another supplement I am giving him is Myos Muscle Powder, in theory one tub should last about a month. I mix the powder in with ground turkey and make a meatball out of it. This is kind of a PITA too, but I have yet to come up with a better method. The Freshpet is like a giant stick of bologna, so the powder won't mix in with that.

    Since he's no longer eating a food that contains Glucosamine I will have to speak with his Vet about finding a supplement for that. He coughs a lot when he gets super excited, but I guess that's our new normal.

    Oh! Water bowls. Okay so I had to get rid of all the normal water bowls, he'd lap out of them and then start coughing. Tried putting rocks/balls in the normal bowl and that didn't slow him down any. Here's my take on the bowls I've tried.

    H2Eau Water Fountain - lets him drink way too fast, returned it.
    Upsky 35 oz bowl - holds 4 cups, so like 4 hours worth of water, just terrible. BUT provides the perfect amount of water, not too slow and not too fast.
    Upsky 70 oz bowl - Holds 8 cups, so two of these provide plenty enough water to last them a day. However, it's harder for them to drink out of it since the float... floats higher. So my dogs prefer the 35 oz bowl.

    So I've got one 35 oz bowl and two 70 oz bowls. And they're all on top of these crates with a dish-mat on top of them to keep them from moving. Crates & Pallet Crates and Pallet 18 in. x 12.5 in. x 9.5 in. Large Wood Crate 94565 - The Home Depot

    If you have any questions/suggestions feel free to ask.
     
  4. PRO5OHHO

    PRO5OHHO Registered Users

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    Oh and the price for the consultation and surgery was about $4600, and I'm located in the Houston, TX area.
     

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