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Barley the Straight Legged (and now Tripawd) Lab
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Forum Posts: 2
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11 June 2017
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11 June 2017 - 3:59 pm
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Hello everyone,

Very thankful to have this forum as a resource and support. I will also be posting down in the "other" reasons for tripawd status, as our little guy has quite a story. In a nutshell, we adopted our beautiful labbie boy last September at 10 weeks of age, knowing that he had a congenital birth defect in his rear legs. He came to us named Bear,but we quickly renamed him Barley (my husband is a home brewer, and also his coat is a beautiful golden yellow color so it seemed to fit!) After visits to our own trusted vet who was his first champion and got us a consult at a Cornell Vet Hospital, we quickly learned that his condition had a name: Genu Recurvatum. Basically, his hind legs did not bend- anywhere. He had no knees, no ankles, his toes dragged on the ground.

Cornell had never seen a case in both rear legs, but they had successfully treated dogs with this condition in one leg. We understood when we adopted Barley that he very well many end up in a cart as an adult, and were fine with that. However, given the opportunity to substantially improve his quality of life, what are two parents to do? We were very impressed with the medical team and made the decision to proceed with the surgeries. Not much is known about this condition, and the surgery is in it's early stages, so our Barley is a pioneer and we hope his situation will serve to further medical research about his condition. Our #1 goal was to relieve him of the pain that comes with a fast growing puppy who has bones growing while muscles are holding them in place. Initial xrays showed his rear legs were in a concave positon, and would get moreso with age.

Fast forward 9 months and our Barley has endured the following:

Nov 2016: surgery on left hind limb to release leg muscles and splint leg into normal stance including toes/hocks/knees

Nov 2016: surgery on right hind limb as above, but also including an osteotomy and bone plate to ensure 2 legs were same length

Dec 2016: surgery #2 on right hind limb, since during post-op follow up it was determined that scar tissue had reformed and caused the leg to default back to it's constricted/straight position

Jan 1, 2016: a bandage sore on his right hind limb (foot) became infected with MRSA and progressed extremely rapidly to the point where Barley had 1.5 toes amputated (thankfully he has weight bearing toes remaining) and lost all of his paw pads on his right foot. The remaining tissue took 4-5 months to fully heal, during which we were commuting 2-3x/week to have his bandages changed and the wound monitored AFTER he spent roughly 3 weeks in hospital, multiple skin grafts to assist in wound closure, and special vacuum assisted bandages to expedite wound healing. Thank goodness the foot was saved.

June 1, 2016: surgery #2 on the left leg to remove scar tissue that was preventing him from flexing the knee and being able to reach the ground with this leg. Ironically his right foot (with no pads) was the one he relied on outside (with a boot). Outside in his boot, he has a normal standing angle and hops right along. The left leg, because it could not reach the ground, was bascially just along for the ride.

June 9, 2016: surgery #3 on the left leg to amputate the left leg at the hip. During surgery #2 above, Barley developed Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), rarely if ever seen in dogs. Doctors are baffled, but suspect that the compromised blood vessels could be related to his muscle condition, which makes sense. The blood clots had caused his foot to begin dying, and the edges of his surgery #2 incision to die and the wound split open. He also tested positive for MRSA the 2nd time. As a post-surgical precaution, our Barley is currently in ICU Isolation for 24-48 more hours and on one of the most powerful IV antibiotics around to hopefully kick this infection's butt. We are hoping to have our newly tripawd guy home within the next few days. We remain so impressed with the care and loving attention our guy has received from everyone involved in his journey.

The good news is, that our boy no longer has pain from constricted muscles pulling his bones in the wrong direction, and he has a normal standing angle in his one rear limb. The not so good news is that this limb has no paw pads on the foot, and only 1.5 toes, but they make boots for that!  He also has tremendous core and front end strength from having to deal with his condition up until now, so we are counting on that to make his transition to a tripawd a smooth one.

Sorry for the novel, but it helps to write it all out. Looking forward to learning from all of you, and mostly looking forward to getting our boy home. The miracle in all of this is that he has remained so VERY positive and loving. His tail does not stop wagging, and he is genuinely happy to see all of his doctors and other caregivers. When even the cleaning staff knows your puppy, you may have been at the hospital a few times 😉

Michelle, Barley's Mom

Livermore, CA
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11 June 2017 - 7:54 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

WOW!  Barley is so fortunate that he found you guys as his forever home!

So- he had amp surgery two days ago?  I think you wrote 2016 instead of 2017 a couple of times in your post.  All those surgeries, and MRSA twice?  Your boy is a warrior for sure!

I think that Barley will deal just fine with recovery from the amp surgery, he has been through much worse already.  My quad pug Obie has had two knee surgeries and his recoveries were way longer than Tripug Maggie's amp surgery recovery.  I'm guessing keeping him quiet will be a challenge- but then you've been through this and probably know lots of tricks!

Do you have any specific questions?

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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11 June 2017 - 8:04 pm
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Wow- I guess this week was longer than I thought! Yes, I typed 2016 too many times, his Jan and June events were all 2017. We are a bit frazzled as our boy is still in the hospital, in isolation. Things were going well for the first 48 or so hours, and then tonight there was some questionable discharge from his incision site. It was discovered by a vet student on rounds, so our doc is going in tonight. We are trying to remain calm, as it was not pus or yellowy, it was clear/watery but tinged with blood. From what I read this can be normal but given that this is how the episode with his initial incision started (resulting in the amputation) we are holding our breath until the doctor calls us tomorrow.

Right now I don't have any specific amputation questions, but I'm sure once we get him home we will. 

Thank you! Oh- is there a way that I can edit a post once I've posted it? Sorry if I missed that.

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11 June 2017 - 9:52 pm
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As far as I know you can only edit a post if you do it before someone else has posted to that forum. But please don't worry about errors, typos, or spelling. You'll see some very creatively typed posts here and no one is fussed, only slightly amused, okay, in some cases very amused. We need humor on this forum anyway!

Your brave dog has really gone through a lot and so have you. It was so courageous and loving to bring Barley into your heart and home. 

It is stressful not having our pets at home but rest assured they are giving him the best care at the clinic.

Will be thinking of you and Barley until he gets home and the fun begins!

Hugs,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

London, UK
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12 June 2017 - 4:53 am
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Hi there, just wanted to say welcome, and that I am thinking of you and looking forward to your post that tells us (with LOTS of pics) that young Master Barley is home. My Meg went through a protracted ordeal with multiple operations etc., and ultimately the loss of her leg. For us, recovery from amputation was, as Karen suggests, far more straightforward than after her previous surgeries, and I now look back on her amputation (more than fifteen months ago) as the day when things turned around for us and everything started to get better. Meg now enjoys a great quality of life, doing all the things she couldn't do for so long because of all the surgeries, infections etc., swimming, running, chasing squirrels, and generally being a full on dog. You have so much to look forward to!

Big hug,

Meg, Clare and Elsie Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 8, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Elsie Pie, & Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR
The Rainbow Bridge

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12 June 2017 - 9:04 am
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I'm so glad Clare already posted because I immediately thought of her Meg when I was reading Barley's story. Wow. He's so fortunate to have found such amazing people to care for him! Thanks for sharing all the details. I do believe we've had another member here who had Genu Recurvatum in one leg, but of course now I can't find their story.

With all he's been through already, he's got that fightin' spirit in him! He also sounds like a great candidate for a prosthesis. Has that been discussed? I'm guessing it has but if not you might want to check out these posts about prosthetics to learn the basics.

MRSA is no picnic, sorry you are dealing with it. We are all sending all our strength and love that he can come home soon.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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