January 4, 2017Hi everyone, it’s been a while since we’ve had an official update on Pepper so I wanted to catch everyone up. We’ve had our ups and downs medically speaking, but I believe we are headed on the right path now. First Pepper had a very rare, but very scary reaction to the medication she was taking to treat the infection in her leg in November. She ended up hospitalized, but this little girl proved that she’s a fighter and she bounced back from this medical issue. Then we still had to deal with removing the hardware in her leg due to the infection. The healing was taking longer than anticipated, but on 12/8/16 her x-rays showed that the bone was healed enough for the hardware to come out. Pepper had her third surgery on her leg, this time to remove the hardware to allow us to hopefully treat the infection once and for all. She came back to her foster home on strict restrictions, as is typical for Pepper and her time with us. Unfortunately a little over a week post-surgery, she started showing weakness with her leg. We had the leg checked out and the x-rays showed that the leg was re-fractured again. This was heartbreaking for all of us. The doctors believe that due to the multiple fractures and the infection, her bone was just too fragile. We consulted with two orthopedic surgeons and they both recommended amputation of the leg. This would remove the infection completely and allow Pepper to live pain free. This was not an easy decision to make, but we did what was best for Pepper and she had surgery to amputate her right front leg on 12/ 29/16. She is now back in foster care recovering from her surgery. We are monitoring her and keeping her pain managed until she heals. She continues to amaze us with her adaptability and resilience. She’s an extraordinary dog. Please continue sending mojo and support for Pepper, both she and her foster parents really appreciate it. Pepper sends her love and licks to all! November 10, 2016 The good news… Pepper had PT this morning and it went really well. We brought her into the therapy room and before we could all say “PEPPER!”, Pepper was up the stairs and in the therapy pool (with the cover still on it)! It seems the gate to the pool was slightly ajar. I believe this was Pepper’s first experience with water as she hasn’t been able to swim with her broken leg here. We were able to scoop her out quickly and all was well, but we now know Pepper is drawn to the water, as most labs are! Pepper got some laser therapy today and did some treadmill too. She took really well to it with the help of some kong squeeze cheese smeared on the window in front of her. Will walk for food is Pepper’s motto! Kate, her therapist was very pleased with Pepper’s gait and how much weight she is bearing on her leg. This all bodes very well for Pepper. Now for the not-so-good news… Pepper has an appointment with her orthopedic surgeon on Monday 11/14. She may have to have surgery to remove the hardware that helped to stabilize her broken leg. It turns out that Pepper has an infection and the best course of action is to remove the hardware. The hardware has probably served its purpose now and isn’t technically needed any longer as Pepper will be 8 weeks post surgery on Monday. This will put her physical therapy on hold for a little while, but everyone is optimistic that Pepper will have a speedy recovery. Pepper will turn one year old on November 19th. We are hopeful that she will be back in foster care recovering and healing from her third and hopefully final leg surgery. She is still just the most lovable and sweet dog. Please send positive thoughts for Pepper (and her foster parents) as she continues on her path to a healthy leg and full recovery! October 10, 2016Last week we asked for guesses for Pepper’s new bandage color. The first week she had green, then yellow, then light red (aka pink) then blue last week. We got lots of great guesses, but no one got it right this week. Pepper’s vet tech was feeling the crisp weather that was in the air today and got creative with her bandages. She is sporting black bandages with orange pumpkins this week! How cute is that?! The vet tech took the time to cut out small orange pumpkins and little green stems and place them on her bandages. They love her there and were calling her their little pumpkin. We sometimes call her pepper corn, maybe we’ll have to change that to candy corn for the season! The good news is that Pepper is healing, although not as quickly as the vet had hoped. She got her x-rays today, so they were able to see how things are progressing internally. They’re still pleased with her progress and think things are definitely heading in the right direction. Pepper had a big change this week. She no longer has the hard brace under her bandages. This is allowing her to bear some weight on the leg for the first time since her surgery. So far, so good! My only concern is making sure that she doesn’t try to overdo it. She is still on lots of restrictions, but I’m sure she’s glad to have a little more freedom. Pepper is completely off the pain meds AND the sedatives! We did this last week and she’s doing so well with it. The vet was very pleased with how calm she was off the sedatives. They didn’t even have to sedate her for the x-rays. That one surprised me! Pepper continues to do well living in our home. You will notice a thunder shirt in the one picture. This isn’t for anxiety. It was to contain the fluff from her bandages! She even got Reese (her foster fur-brother) to give in and let her cuddle a little bit with him this morning. She has a way of working her way into everyone’s heart! He is even sharing his bones with her and he LOVES his bones. She’s a very special little girl. Next week she will get new bandages again. Anyone care to take a guess for next week’s color and/or design? October 3, 2016The little, but quickly growing, Pepper had her weekly appointment with the vet to have her bandages and brace changed. Her foster dad and I were guessing what color she would get this week. The first week she had green, then she had yellow, then she had light red (aka pink). My guess for this week was purple, her foster dad’s guess was blue. Pepper came out sporting her new blue bandages, foster dad wins! Who wants to start the guessing for next week?! The vet was again pleased with her progress. We are weaning her off the pain pills all together. She has been on a half dose of the sedatives since she’s settled into our home so well. Next week she gets her bandage changed and an x-ray so we will have confirmation about how things are healing on the inside. If it looks as good as they anticipate it will, then she might not need the brace at all. This would allow her to start bearing some weight on the leg. I’m already nervous about this and am considering wrapping her in bubble wrap to protect her! She has muscle atrophy in her leg, not surprising. They were discussing PT options for her, but said we could talk about that more once we’re further into the healing process. There was discussion about cold laser therapy, water therapy, physical therapy. This little girl is going to be a therapy master! Pepper was exhausted after her outing today, as most of her days are very quiet and calm. Poor Pepper is living the most boring life right now, but it’s what she needs. Pepper sends everyone her love and lots of kisses. Reese, her foster fur-brother says he would like everyone to take extra kisses so Pepper stops kissing him. He is so over puppy kisses! September 27, 2016
Pepper had her weekly vet visit yesterday to get her bandages changed and to check on her healing. She is now sporting what they called light red, it looks pink to me! I got to meet the vet that performed Pepper’s surgery. She was very pleased with Pepper’s progress and so happy that she was with a rescue now. Dr. Jaeger was very nice and even scratched some of Pepper’s itchy spots for her. Pepper loved that!
Pepper was a perfect patient and her incision is healing well. They had to give her a bigger brace under all those bandages because this little pup is still growing. The vet tech said she thought she looked taller and her brace proved that to be true. They were all impressed at how much calmer she is now. I said calmer, not CALM! A home is a much better place for her to recover, there was too much stimulus at the vet hospital and she never truly settled. We will go back next week for another bandage change and checkup. The following week, they will do x-rays and we will know for sure how things are healing on the inside. We are all feeling cautiously optimistic that the surgery was a success to repair the badly fractured leg, but it will be nice to have confirmation. Pepper is doing very well with her house training and is going potty regularly in the backyard. She’s starting to show us signs when she needs to go out to go potty. She gets fussy and whimpers. She has never had an accident in the house which is fantastic! This week’s car ride was much calmer than the ride home last week. She’s just more settled in general. Of course I still sat in the back with her and gave her support, both physically on the turns and emotionally with lots of pets and calm words, but she did great. She was exhausted when we got home and was ready for a big nap. Pepper sends lots of sleepy love to everyone!
September 21, 2016
The super cute, but super excitable 10 month old Pepper has arrived into foster care with Brookline. It wasn’t the smoothest of transitions, as she’s got quite the contraption of bandages and braces stabilizing her badly fractured right front leg. I found out based on her medical records that the initial fracture happened when she was hit by a wagon. Poor thing! We already knew that the second fracture happened when the Amish family failed to follow the restrictions and she re-fractured it badly, going down the sliding board with the kids.
She was very unsure of the car ride and I had to sit in the back with her and basically hold her for the hour long ride home. I got lots of kisses which was very sweet of her, but unfortunately for me, they had just given her a bunch of pills in bacon flavored pill pockets, so her kisses were bacon scented. Not the best smell to her vegetarian foster mom! This little girl has quite the road to recovery in front of her, about 3 months assuming it all goes well. She must get her bandage changed once per week for the next 3-4 weeks. They will then determine the schedule after that. The bandage cannot get any moisture on it, so it must be wrapped with plastic every time she goes outside. They were very clear about this. Bad things can happen to her skin if moisture gets in there. They recommended glad press and seal, so we went and picked that up. It works really well because it sticks to itself.
She needs x-rays in 3 weeks and then again in 4 more weeks. Pepper has all sorts of hardware in her leg stabilizing it at this point. There is a chance that her body could reject the hardware. If that’s the case, then she would have to go back into surgery. We’re hoping to avoid that! She’s got lots meds to take to help with pain and keeping her calm. The pain pills seems to be helping, but this little bundle of energy wants to play and run and jump. Everything she’s NOT allowed to do. Unfortunately for her that means lots of quiet crate time. Thank goodness for Kongs! She’s very food motivated (typical lab) and is enjoying a kong as I type this. So far she has peed and pooped outside, yay! She also happily ate all of her food and is drinking well. She’s not the best leash walker as I’m sure she’s never really been leash walked with her previous owners, but we’ll get lots of practice over the next 3 months. She must always be leash walked even for her potty trips while she heals. She is VERY restricted with her movements per vet’s orders. The good news is that the vet is very optimistic that given the proper recovery time with limited movement and lots of quiet rest time, her leg will heal and she will be as good as new! Stay tuned for Pepper’s updates and wish her (and her foster parents) good luck on her recovery! For questions about Pepper, please contact her foster mom at email@example.com.
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