Alternatives to the E collar?

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Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby sunnygirl01 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:29 am

Hi All,

My girl just came home from her second TPLO surgery in 3 months.
The vet sent her home in the rigid E collar the first time. That was a total disaster. To make a long and very stressful story short, we ended up staying home with her 24/7 so we could leave the E collar off. I slept with the light on so that if I heard her licking I could immediately open my eyes and make sure she was not licking her leg.
Luckily, she never seemed that interested in the bandage or her leg. But I had read the stories about infection and was not going to take that chance.

During the first two weeks, I ordered a Bite-not collar but it did not arrive until it was time to take her staples out so we never used it. The vet sent her home in a soft E collar this time.

My question is, what is your experience with the E collars and the alternatives? How do you keep your dog from messing with the incision? Since you are all also Pit Bull owners, I imagine you understand all too well their need for chewing and how stubborn they can be and how they can injure themselves trying to get out of E collars or crates.
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby kaytenmags » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:12 am

my dog has had many (many.. *sigh*) knee surgeries, and she can't wear a plastic cone at home because she panics and takes chunks out of my drywall with it.

on her 2nd knee surgery, i decided to get an inflatible cone. at first, it was hopeless. maggie could spin the 'cone' around so that the velcro closure was on front of her, then she could open the velcro, leaving a big enough gap that she could chew her leg. after much trial and error, i re-wrote the instructions for her inflatible cone....


you will need:
-One inflatable cone
-One sturdy, well-fitted (snug) collar
-One good harness that doesn't shift around much (note: cheapass ones liberated from vet clinics are no good)
-one bandana
-One short lengeth of shoelace

Instructions:
-inflate cone.
-attach sturdy collar to cone through provided "belt loops".
-put harness on dog.
-put collar/cone setup around dogs neck, and do up collar making sure it's as snug as comfortably possible. do up velcro strap on cone.
-tie bandanna around the cone so that it covers the velcro strap, thus disabling the dog from scratching the velcro undone.
-position the cone so that the opening is at the top, behind the dogs head.
-tie short length of shoelace from top of cone to harness. this keeps the cone from rotating, and is the most important step in the whole process.
-tell the dog not to be a jerk. leave the house, and pray.


Image

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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby sunnygirl01 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:10 pm

Great instructions!
Bless her heart! And yours!
Bella is not doing so well with this surgery.With the first surgery, she was already walking on her leg a little bit by the time we picked her up from the hospital.
We picked her up yesterday and she has not put the leg down yet. When we let her out of her crate today my husband said she brushed against him with her leg and she started screaming and whinning and fell to the ground.
She has NEVER made a yelp in her life. We tried to take her out to potty and when she squatted to pee she did the same thing. Did your dog do this with any of her surgeries? This is so far different from her first one. She had her first surgery the week of Christmas. By the following week she was acting like nothing ever happened and we took her off the pain medication. She never acted like she was in pain at all.
I am wanting to call the hospital but I dont know if I am overreacting.
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby FBODGRL » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:59 pm

Last month Khan split his dew claw and had to have it cut all the way back. He licked and chewed his paw so much.

I didn't want to do a traditional ecollar, so I got a comfy cone. It held up well and restricted him from being able to get to his paw.

He was in the cone for a month or more. Well he had it on while I was gone or couldn't watch him. I had other little solutions for when I was there.
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby Red » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:34 pm

I use soft cones, much more comfortable for the dogs.

Image

I imagine you understand all too well their need for chewing and how stubborn they can be and how they can injure themselves trying to get out of E collars or crates.


My Ice had a TPLO surgery at the end of 2009 and she was given an x-pen to be in , plenty of filled Kongs and Nylabones to chew on. I also changed my work schedule so that someone could be home with her at least for the two first weeks.The dogs here are conditioned to relax to classical music (mainly one instrument) and that helped her when I was there and when she was alone.

Image



I would call the hospital and don't worry about over reacting. Are you supporting the dog with a harness or towel under her belly, when she squats to pee or walk?
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby FBODGRL » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:50 pm

great picture of the comfy cone Val :thumbsup:
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby sunnygirl01 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:54 pm

Thanks for the examples with pictures. That really helps. I am a very visual person.

I ended up taking her to the e-vet (same as the hospital where she had her surgery). She was screaming in pain and laying on the floor in a submissive pose shaking. They gave her a pain killer shot but pretty much dismissed us. It didnt help our case that the minute we walked through the hospital doors, she started walking on her leg and wagging her tail and acted just fine! :oops:

She seems to be a bit better yesterday and today but I can tell there is still something wrong. She will get up to move around and she will start whining (not screaming now, thank goodness) and flop down and start licking her private area. I almost think it is something there and not her leg at all. I feel so bad for her. I have learned that I do not take this kind of thing very well!
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby mtlu » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:30 pm

What course of take-home medications have you been given by the vet? Is this second surgery on the other leg or the first leg that was operated on three months ago?

The amount of pain she seems to be showing doesn't sound right to me at all. My Molly had surgery in December 2009 on her left knee and December 2010 on her right knee. She had a harder time with recovery on the first knee but neither time did she show evidence of such pain (but I was very paranoid of movement for the first week post-op and had her in an x-pen and soft cone much like what Red posted above – except I doubled some of the panels on the x-pen so that area was smaller and covered one side with a blanket).
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby PitBull-Lady » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:14 pm

kaytenmags wrote:-tie short length of shoelace from top of cone to harness. this keeps the cone from rotating, and is the most important step in the whole process.
-tell the dog not to be a jerk. leave the house, and pray.


OMG! best instructions ever! :headbang:
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby sunnygirl01 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:20 pm

mtlu wrote:What course of take-home medications have you been given by the vet? Is this second surgery on the other leg or the first leg that was operated on three months ago?


She is on Tramadol and Rimadyl. This is her first surgery on her left knee. She had her right knee done 8 weeks ago. It was about a week before her 8 week follow up that she stopped using her left leg. We knew when we went in for surgery on her right leg that she already had a partial tear in the left knee. I was just hoping she would wait until I got the first knee paid for!
She never showed any pain with the first knee surgery. I kinda feel like the hospital is brushing me off. I know my dog. She is different. She has no interest in her toys. She will get up and spin around and immediately start licking her private area. It is like she is uncomfortable and doesnt know what to do so she will lay still and not move and just shake. My sister came over today and she even commented on how different she is. The fist surgery was the week of Christmas so my sister was around to see her after the first surgery.
I am going to call my regular vet tomorrow and get her in to see if she has an infection. I dont know what else to do.
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby Savage Destiny » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:42 pm

Hopefully her regular vet will see her, that doesn't sound normal. :(

I do second the Comfy Cone Red posted. I have one for Riddle, who cries and shakes with the plastic cone on. She still doesn't like the comfy cone, but she tolerates it, and can sleep more comfortably with it on. I bought a fleece lined collar to use with it, since you loop a collar through it to secure it.
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby mtlu » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:52 pm

Was she also given antibiotics? My dog was given two antibiotics for ten days after both surgeries in addition to Tramadol and Metacam.

Hopefully you will be able to get answers from your surgeon but I will share some observations based on my dog's two surgeries: after both surgeries, Molly was slightly incontinent and she would leak a little bit of pee every so often. She would never leak enough to make a puddle but enough that there would be a small spot on the blanket and she would want to lick herself every so often to keep herself clean.

I actually did not give Molly too many toys post-op, the tramadol did knock her out and she was much less energetic than usual. We kept her in the x-pen for 2 weeks straight and had to carry her down the stairs to the backyard to go pee & poo on leash. She was not allowed any physical activity aside from being carried down to the yard. At the two week mark, we had her stitches removed and we started doing two 5-minute walks a day. We are now at week 7 post-op and while she *appears* to be fully recovered, we are still being careful as there is one more week to go before going back for the week 8 x-ray to make sure that the bone has completely healed.

Having two surgeries back-to-back is bound to have an effect on your dog too. How long was she given Tramadol after the first surgery? How long has she been on Tramadol after this surgery? We have always been cautioned to use Tramadol sparingly (just the first few days) as using it longterm can cause constipation. Since it is an opiate though, I would imagine that other side effects of opiates can effect dogs as well (but I only know of the effects in humans).
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby sunnygirl01 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:16 pm

She was not given antibiotics with either surgery. The Tramadol and Rimadyl are the same doses as the last surgery. After the first surgery, she only took them for about 5 days before we slowly took her off of them. She never showed any pain so we called the surgeon and asked if we should stop the meds. I had read the horror stories about the Rimadyl and didnt want to keep her on it too long.

I actually put the toys away while she was having the surgery. I only brought them out to see if she would respond to them. She lives for her tug. It speaks volumes to me that she just looks at it and lays her head down. Her surgery was just Wednesday. I am trying not to worry too much. I cannot believe how much I love this dog!
Thank you for your input. It really helps.
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby mtlu » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:27 pm

Keep us posted and I hope she bounces back to her normal self soon! I'm a little worried about the lack of antibiotics since that has been something that every dog I know with TPLO surgery has been given (and unfortunately, I've known of several).
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Re: Alternatives to the E collar?

Postby sunnygirl01 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:50 pm

Update:

I called the surgeon on Monday and he prescribed an antibiotic. Everything was going well and Bella has been doing much better. That is until today. She managed to get out of her collar today and chewed all but three of her staples out! Her leg was gaping open. So, we rushed to the emergency vet and they stapled her back up. They are keeping her overnight to make sure she doesnt spike a fever and to watch for infection. I really want them to keep her for the next two weeks! I am mentally and emotionaly exhausted.
We were using the bite-not collar. We have now purchased the inflatable collar and the supplies to set it up like Kaytenmags instructed.

kaytenmags wrote:....-tell the dog not to be a jerk. leave the house, and pray.

I have really become familiar with praying! Now if the dog would just stop being a jerk! :crybaby:
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