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One month ago today

Posted by Jeanne on January 8, 2010

This post is not about food.  If you don’t want to read about our dog, please skip this post.

There have been so many people who have asked what the heck happened to our dog Kira that I decided to do a full post about it.  I apologize for the ridiculous length of this post.

On Tuesday, December 8th we got a huge, ridiculous snowstorm.  I got off work at 2 and Curt got off work at 3:30 – by the time each of us got home more than six inches of snow had fallen.  We settled in, expecting not to leave again that night or possibly the next day.  I started making dinner – a potage parmentier with some turnips subbed in instead of all potatoes.  We fed the dogs, and about 6:15 let them outside to do their thing.  I was just finishing up the soup.

We heard a horrible noise from the backyard – it turned out to be coming from Kira. We called to her from inside the house but she wouldn’t move – just stood there and cried. I ran out to her and saw blood in the snow, so I picked her up and ran into the house. We’re still not sure how it happened, but she cut herself on her chest near her left foreleg and degloved her right foreleg nearly completely.

Curt called the emergency vet while I held onto Kira’s arm with a towel. It became clear that we needed to get to the emergency vet’s as soon as possible, so Curt cleared off the car while I held onto her and talked to her. The drive was beyond awful – everyone was sliding all over the place, there was snow all over, and every time we hit a bump or had to stop suddenly Kira would yowl with pain.

We got to the vet’s office nearly 35 minutes later – on a normal day it would have been a 15-minute drive. They immediately gave her morphine for the pain, and the emergency vet came and spoke to us a few minutes later. Her temperature was 106.9F upon admission (normal is 101 to 102) and they were very concerned about getting it down and stable so they could stitch up the wound on her chest. By the time we left she was down near 103 and they said they would call us when the procedure was complete. They called at 1 am and said that she was coming out of the initial anesthetic fine and to come in by 7:30 the next morning to discuss the next steps.

The emergency vet is connected to a surgical veterinary specialty clinic, and our hope was that we could refer Kira there the next day. This was complicated by the ten to twelve inches of snow that had fallen, as well as the gale-force winds that developed overnight. We got up at 5:00, left the house at 6:30, and arrived at the emergency vet clinic right around 7:30 am. We got stuck five times on our way, mostly before even leaving the neighborhood, and once spectacularly in the entrance to the vet’s parking lot. (The police helped push the car out of that one.)

We were able to transfer her to the specialty clinic without a visit to our regular vet (thank god) and they walked us through a breezeway to speak to the surgeon. Our options were either amputation or attempt a skin graft – there was not enough skin left on her foreleg to stitch together. Because of the uncertainty of success associated with the grafting process, and the six to eight weeks (minimum) of bandage changes and having to keep her quiet, we decided to amputate Kira’s right foreleg.

We got home about 11 am. I called in sick and cried.

About 1 pm, the vet called and said that the surgery had gone well, and that so long as everything progressed normally we could bring Kira home on Friday. The report on Thursday was good, the report on Friday morning was good… and then Friday afternoon, things took a wrong turn.

When Curt and my sister arrived to (they thought) pick up Kira and bring her home, she was swelling up and had developed bruising over most of her body. The vet was concerned that she was developing DIC, because of the initial trauma and her high temperature when we brought her in.  DIC has a very poor prognosis – the vet estimated on Friday afternoon when I spoke with him that there was a less than 50% chance treatment would succeed.

We began treating it that night.   Things were VERY dire on Saturday.  On Sunday they called and said that Kira was more alert, and asked us to come and visit her and maybe bring her some treats to try and stimulate her appetite so she would eat for the doctors.  We saw her at the emergency clinic that morning, and she looked AWFUL.  She was covered in purple bruises and hugely swollen.  She was also on a huge amount of painkillers, so she couldn’t really move – they wheeled her in to see us on the veterinary equivalent of a hospital bed.  She could move her head and look at us, but that was it.

On Monday, the vet called and said that she finally ate something on Sunday night.  Her platelet count was still quite low, but had improved substantially since its lowest point on Saturday (Saturday was 13,000 – Monday was 38,000, normal is 180,000+).  Tuesday was much the same.  Curt visited her Monday and Tuesday, but I was not able to make it out until Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday morning, he called and said that the bruising was starting to subside and the swelling had decreased dramatically.  I noticed a difference immediately when I was there that afternoon – it was really amazing.

We brought her home on Friday, December 18th, ten days after the original accident.  Since that day, she has improved dramatically – that night she was still very weak and couldn’t stand on her own.  Just a couple of days ago she met me at the door when I came home, wagging her tail and saying hi.  She is getting better at walking on three legs all the time

This picture was taken the day she came home – she’s still a little bruised and swollen, but drastically improved since even two days before.

Curt and I want to thank everyone who called, emailed, and posted on Facebook offering their help and support. We created a Paypal account for Kira (helpfixkira at gmail dot com) – if you would like to contribute, there is a donation button on the left sidebar.  Any contributions above and beyond what Kira’s treatment cost will be donated to the Nebraska Humane Society, which does an enormous amount of work for pets in our community.

Suspicious of the blurry Nettie

This whole thing has been harrowing and very difficult, and we are so happy to have her home with us again.  Thank you again to those who have helped us through this time – we could not have done it without you.

Kira has decided that the best way to avoid the paparazzi is to take a nap.

Kira says thanks too.

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2 Responses to “One month ago today”

  1. Jo Bednarz said

    I’m so glad she is doing so well. She is such a beautiful, sweet girl who was very brave throughout it all. She has a fabulous family who adores her and will give her whatever support she needs to succeed. She is just precious. Bless her heart.

  2. sherry wotherspoon said

    Have thought about your baby since JoAnne published Kira’s horrific accident to the Greyhound group. So glad to see this follw/up. Isn’t it amazing that they don’t seem to REALLY miss that limb like we people would? Have two greys of my own, so understand your worries. Love your blog and your foodie thoughts. I have a friend on an acreage outside of Omaha, who I believe is your sister(from another mother!). You both are so beautifully earthy and FUN! Must forward her your pomp-a-tini and soup recipes. Hope Kira continues to thrive. Best thoughts, sherry

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