Sharing What I’ve Learned

As some of you know, I am enrolled in the Animal Behavior College’s Veterinary Assistant course. I won’t go into the details of the course here; but if you’re interested, you can check out their website by following the link.

Anyway, I’m currently working on/studying for the test in Surgical Preparation and Assisting. This morning I was working on the post-operative recovery period and got an idea for a blog post. So here goes…

Many of us pride ourselves on knowing our pets well enough to know when they are ill or injured. For the most part, we are; however, nothing can burst our bubble like a devastating diagnosis of illness or injury.  I found that out for myself last August when our vet told us that Callie had lymphoma. Callie was a very stoic girl. She hid her pain from us quite  well. And, because she had also had her second CCL repair surgery the previous October, I convinced myself that her occasional lethargic behavior was due to the excess stress on her hips.

Callie’s illness and subsequent departure from Earth has made me even more observant of her sisters, especially Shadow.  Yet, even now, I sometimes misinterpret – or completely miss – a sign that one of them is in pain. Like I did with Shadow on Tuesday afternoon. So, when I came across the warning signs that an animal is suffering some post-operative pain, I decided to share them with y’all because they’re also signs of pain in general.

  • Restlessness
  • Reluctance to move
  • Whining/crying
  • Chewing or obsessive licking of themselves
  • Thrashing
  • Anorexia, or refusal to eat or drink
  • Behavioral change, such as depression
  • Increased respiration and/or heart rate

(That last one may not be something that you would necessarily be aware of.)

Please keep in mind that I am not a veterinarian. If you observe any of these signs in your pet, please do not hesitate to at least call your vet and discuss them with her/him.


As for Shadow, she is okay. She was running the fence line with our neighbor’s dog on Tuesday afternoon when suddenly she either slipped or stepped down wrong and ended up in a heap on the grass. She stood right up again but she was holding her left hind leg up as she walked toward me. I thought “oh no! Please tell me you didn’t tear your ACL!” Rather than panic, I gave her a mini-massage, let her walk around the yard a little bit to stretch it out, and a few minutes later she seemed to be good as new. We played for a minute or two and went back inside. Just before hubby and I left to go get dinner, I brought Shadow and Ducky outside to relieve themselves and Shadow appeared to be walking normally. When we arrived back home, though, she was limping horribly. I gave her a Tramadol tablet, and it seemed to help a little bit. She wasn’t limping as badly by bedtime but she was still restless. So I called the vet in the morning and got an appointment for Thursday morning. Meanwhile, I kept her on the leash when we were outside and gave her more Tramadol to ease the pain. The vet watched her walk around the exam room and elatedly said it was her CCL but not a tear. Relief! And a quick thank you to AngelCallie for watching over her sister. Shadow is on leash restriction and Carprofen for these next three weeks. I’m looking into getting a ramp for her, soon. I’m going to give her a Tramadol now and walk her around the back yard a little while.

Have a great weekend everyone!!