Hi everyone! So before I get into details from yesterday‘s visit to the surgeon, I have a big announcement about the little puppy: I would like to officially introduce everyone to Irma von Pince-Nugget! It’s a big name for a such little dog but I think it suits her. I was really liking the name Irma for her, and I learned that it has some great meanings attached to it; “noble” in Latin, and “whole” or “universal” in German (which I thought was especially appropriate since so many people have contributed to her campaign to repair her leg). I was also reminded that the librarian of Hogwarts in Harry Potter is named Irma Pince; I am a bit of a book nerd myself so this seemed appropriate too. And then, of course, Nugget, because that was her nickname from the start of this adventure and I know that you all have come to enjoy calling her Nugget. She does resemble a little chicken nugget when she’s all curled up to nap! So, yes, with introductions out-of-the-way, let’s talk about how her surgery went.
Irma did not end up having surgery with DoveLewis; while I have no doubt that they would have been great, I preferred to take some time to get second opinions and find a specialist at a clinic that would be suitable for both her immediate needs as well as any future issues since Irma seemed to have adapted to her broken leg and was not exhibiting signs of severe pain. I ended up working with John E. Kiefer, DVM, at the Veterinary Surgical Center of Portland. Their staff has been great through this process and Irma had them wrapped around her tiny paw from the start. Initially, DoveLewis had quoted us $4000-6000 for reparative surgery; after a consultation with Dr Kiefer, we were quoted $3350-$3800. The surgery ended up costing $3860, which has so amazingly been covered by this GoFundMe campaign. I will get into more details about the cost of her care and recovery in a later post.
Dr. Kiefer said that the surgery on Irma’s leg was a bit of a difficult one and that the bone was tricky to realign due to several factors. One problem was that the break was smooth and straight across the femur, so it was a little slippery to get the ends matched up properly. He estimated the break to have been 3 to 4 weeks old, so there was also some scar tissue that needed to be removed in order to encourage new growth and recovery. The procedure ended up lasting just over two hours, during which time Dr. Kiefer implanted a plate and six screws in Irma’s leg, which will be permanent. The surgical plate does cross over her lower growth plate on her femur, so we are hoping that the top growth plate will be able to compensate. He did expect that because she’s so young she will likely make a full recovery, though we are still looking at several weeks of limited mobility to encourage healing.
Irma does have what many of us would consider a cast, but it is actually just a bandage wrap over padding and gauze. The whole thing is quite stiff and does limit the flexibility of her leg, especially since the break and repair are so close to her knee and immobilization is key to her healing. We have a follow-up appointment in a week to check the surgical site and replace the bandage, and an appointment a week out from that to remove the bandage and sutures. We will have a better idea at that time what our next steps are in terms of making sure that Irma makes a full recovery.
Right now the nugget is taking several medications: she is on a liquid anti-inflammatory that she takes once a day, a liquid antibiotic that she takes twice a day, and a painkiller that she takes every 6 to 8 hours. The bandage does not seem to be irritating her too much right now and she stands and moves around just fine… The real irritation is the cone that she has to wear to make sure that she cannot chew on her leg. I don’t blame her! We also have to limit her in regards to the space she’s in, to make sure that she is not doing any running or jumping. Considering that Irma is still a puppy, this is actually quite the task to undertake! I purchased a front-carry pack so that I can keep her close to me but still move around to get things done, and she seems to like this a fair bit and will often nap in the carrier.
We are two days after surgery I think Miss von Pince-Nugget is doing well. Though she does get a bit antsy being kept in confined quarters, she does have an appetite and is pooping and in general being a very good puppy. Per the advice of someone on Twitter, I picked up some pig ears for her to chew on to help keep her distracted and occupied during her recovery, and she has been going to town on those. She even lost a baby tooth today, which at first I was quite alarmed by but Google assures me that it is normal, ha ha ha.
For now, I am just focusing on her immediate recovery, working with the Veterinary Surgical Clinic on her care. After that, I intend to return to Pearl Animal Hospital where Irma received her initial emergency care this past Saturday to continue her puppy wellness care. Then we can start getting her immunized, get her a rabies vaccine so that I can register her with the county, and figure out when it will be appropriate to get her spayed. I just don’t want to overwhelm her post-surgery, as the sweet baby has already been through enough.
I have been posting a lot about the puppy and this GoFundMe to my personal social media accounts over the past several days, and greatly appreciate the support we have received from the community. I want to continue to share her story with you once this campaign winds down so if you are interested in watching the future adventures of Irma von Pince-Nugget, please follow @IrmaTheNugget on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I will be using the services to post more frequent, smaller updates about her health and status in the next few weeks, and many many puppy pictures and videos over the coming months and years. I hope many of you will join us on these networks, as it is thanks to all of you that Irma should be able to keep her leg and continue being a part of my life.
I am not comfortable saying that we are 100% in the clear on keeping Irma’s leg until such time as Dr. Kiefer says that she has made a full recovery. I am trying to be realistic and recognize that sometimes things do go wrong and unexpected things occur when dealing with animals who need specialized care. I am doing everything I can to make sure that she has a happy and safe recovery from the surgery to repair her broken femur… Many of my friends are teasing me about how I am going “full dog mom” and saying things like, “welcome to parenthood”. Yeah okay, I accept that, full-blown dog mom over here!
So that is our update for today; if you have any questions about her current state or the details of her surgery, please leave a comment on this campaign and I will respond with as much information as I feel is appropriate. Continued thanks to all of Irma’s supporters… both she and I are incredibly grateful to have had you all involved with our lives over the past several days. You have each made a huge difference in the life of this very small dog, and I hope that you recognize how incredibly grateful I am for this. I will never stop saying thank you.