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Tessa is Back in Action!

September 27, 2012 — 1 Comment

Tessa has been out of commission since we discovered a serious sore on the front of her carpal (wrist) joint, right under the bottom strap of her prosthesthic. Marit kept an eye on it to see if it grew, which by Friday it had. The team at Orthopets told us to do no work with the prosthesis over the weekend while they examined the photos and videos we had sent them.

Tessa9-25-12

Tessa starts again learning to use her prosthetic leg

When we put the prosthesis on Tessa on Monday, it was as if we were starting all over again from the beginning.  Both Marit and I were stunned at how far Tessa had regressed in only two days.  She was not using the new leg at all, simply dragging it behind her. I was back to moving it forward with each step. Marit and I were cheering each other up but I know I was feeling very disappointed and frustrated.

The team at Orthopets was trying to figure out what was causing the sore so needed yet more videos–standing, walking toward the camera, and walking by the camera.  Do you know how hard it is to sit on the ground and get a close-up video of a golden retriever as she walks by? Very hard because she ends up in your lap each time!

Here are a few outtakes:

Tessa, Outtake #15 (She’s still in our laps)

Take #2, Tessa says, “I will NOT use my leg.”

But finally we got them–a video of her standing and walking!

YAY!!! We finally got her walking by!

Standing wasn’t too hard to videotape

Once the Orthopets Team saw the videos, they sent us our new marching orders:

  • Rather than fasten the top strap first, start at the bottom. That one change has helped a lot all ready.
  • Do only short sessions–10-15 minutes–multiple times each day.
  • Use cold laser on the wound to get it to heal. (Huge thank-yous to Kay Scott and Barry Rosen for lending us their cold laser!)
  • Keep Tessa from licking the wound. She has been pretty good so far but we are putting a sock on it at night so she doesn’t sneak in a scrubbing session or two while Marit and Lars are sleeping.
  • Start using the carpal brace on the other leg (though I have no idea how we will do this without the prosthesis).
  • Connect with a local rehab specialist to get some guidance on both devices.

We are off and running…well, at least walking slowly…again. Please send good wishes Tessa’s way so we get a quick rebound and she is back to making progress again.

Rub spot on Tessa's leg

The rub spot on Tessa’s leg, just under my pointer finger

Skkkrrreeeeccchhh!!  Alas, that is the sound of Tessa’s rehab screeching to a halt.  She had been doing so well since she got back home with Marit, Lars and Loki after our trip to CO.  Until Friday, she and Marit were practicing daily with her new leg…going for long walks, hanging out at home and even swimming in my pool.  She was wearing the device nearly 8 hours a day without problem and was walking miles in it.

Then potential disaster struck.  Marit found that the hair was missing from the front of Tessa’s paw, underneath the lowest strap on the prosthesis.  The spot is pretty good sized, perhaps the size of a quarter, and though it is not a sore yet, it looks like its on the way to one. Darn!

tessarub2

The rub spot with the device on but not strapped

We took some photos and mailed them off to Brook, our case manager at OrthoPets.  As soon as she saw the photos, Brook put all of Tess’s rehab on hold until she could discuss it with the OrthoPets team today.  I just spoke to them and they are still deliberating about the next steps we should take.

Skin wounds were the biggest issue we were told to keep an eye out for as Tessa learned to use her new leg. Although the device is made with lots of padding to avoid sores and wounds, apparently they do happen.  And left untreated, I guess they can cause big problems.

So Tessa is getting a little vacation while her human team makes some plans.  She probably does not mind but the rest of us are pretty disappointed.