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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

News from the Rockies

It's already been quite a week in terms of dog news. We haven't heard about R's test yet... but I do have another piece of news. Shyla was spayed yesterday. She had a laparoscopic spay, and it seems to be an absolutely amazing surgery compared to a traditional spay. She has two tiny incisions on her belly, one where they inserted a camera and one where they inserted surgical instruments. The incisions are so small that Shyla doesn't seem to have noticed them.

Shyla is already acting as if she has no pain whatsoever. The challenge will be to keep her relatively quiet until the end of the week while she heals internally and externally. She's allowed to return to her normal level of activity 5 days post-surgery.

This morning, Shyla was ready to take a short and slow walk with me to see the sunrise. We actually arrived at our view spot early, and we saw incredible alpenglow on the Continental Divide.
Then, we looked to the east just as the sun was cresting the hills.
I was so happy to have Shyla watching the sunrise with me - I missed her yesterday. After seeing how rapidly she has felt good after this surgery, I think that all our future female dogs will have laparoscopic spays rather than traditional ones.
I didn't want her to stretch her belly or to run so we did a sedentary training game. I had her hold a rope toy and then I asked her to wave to me at the same time.
Pretty good - especially for a dog who was having surgery less than 24 hours before this photo!

I think that the hardest part of the procedure for Shyla was being at the vet clinic for the day without us. Each time I called to check on her, I was told that she was doing great physically but seemed scared. They said that she was scared of the people working there and of noises.

The good news was that, by the end of the day, she'd overcome her fear of "her" technician and was giving the tech kisses. Nonetheless, I'm glad it's over and that Shyla seems very happy now. After all the ups and downs of teaching her to navigate the "real world", I was quite worried that the psychological aspects of the surgery (being "alone" at the clinic for the day) would scar her. Based on her demeanor today, I think that she's going to be just fine.
There is preliminary evidence that neutering at an older age than is usual in the US might help the body's joints to mature correctly and prevent cancers later in life. Initially, my goal was to wait until Shyla was 18 months old before spaying her. However, I received warnings from local vets about the wildlife dangers to a dog in heat. My nightmare vision was of a pack of coyotes howling outside our house 24 hours a day if Shyla were to go into heat. Apparently, that kind of thing does happen (although my nightmare was greatly exaggerated compared to reality). So, we decided to prevent that scenario from happening by spaying Shyla a little earlier than planned.

We know that we have coyotes all around us based on my wildlife camera photos. I capture photos of them near our house every single night, and that was a big part of why I worried so much.
In any case, a big hurdle for Shyla is now behind us. She can recover this week and then get back to her normal very active life!


  1. That surgery sounds great! I agree on the waiting to spay thing. If I ever have another dog over 20lbs, I'll be waiting till 12-18 months. Nola's was done at 6 months, as the issues with early spays are geared more toward larger breeds.
    Nola's Mom

  2. Addie will be spayed at 6 months. I've heard about waiting...but I just do not want to risk ANY chance of a teen pregnancy. I do not want to be a Grandma at 27!

  3. So glad that hurdle is over for you. Really sounds like an incredible surgery. My Vickie loved the aspen glow of your morning We are alos hoping no news is good news fo r.

    Bert and My Vickie

  4. Speaking as a nurse of humans, sometimes both laparoscopic & laser surgeries can be deceiving because the patient seems to feel so good "on the outside" but the inside is very much healing all the same. Shyla had an organ removed, blood vessels tied off, and all the rest... the same as if she would have had an abdominal hysterectomy. The only difference is that she doesn't have the traditional incision line. Personally, 5 days until "normal level of activity" sounds a bit too soon for my liking, if it were my dog. I would wait at least 10 days before I would let a very-active Shyla "got at it" at normal speed... up & down rocks, up & down hillsides, jumping... everlastingly jumping. *lol* But that's just some unsolicited advice from a friend who cares. I know your vet is a friend who cares too. I'm conservative & always have been, in my medical viewpoints. I always add-on time to rest & take care... more than the doctors say to. It's just me. :-)

    So glad Shyla's surgery is over but was hoping for news about R, which I know you were too. All of you have been on my mind all day long today & in my prayers always. No news is good news!!

    Love- Andrea

  5. The surgery sounds great. Good luck on the 'keep her quiet'--never worked for any of us and we had the traditional 'career girl' op.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  6. The new procedure is amazing, isn't it? I think the setting you are in with wildlife surrounding you trumps the "wait until later" approach that is becoming more advocated.

  7. Glad to hear Shyla had a successful surgery. I'm sure it will be challenging to keep her quiet, but you have been there before with letting her leg heal.


  8. I've been really impressed by what I've heard about laproscopic procedures. I'm glad Shyla's went smoothly. You mentioned our big reason for waiting to get Kuster neutered. We really want to get to the two year mark with him. Some days it's easier to deal with an intact dog than others, though!

  9. Gosh that's interesting. I didn't know you could have them spayed laproscopically - I have to book Elsie in this month but am fairly certain that technology won't have made it to our part of the world yet. As with you, I wanted to wait as long as possible before getting it done but before her first season. She's 8 months old now... I don't want to have a run of male dogs scaling the fence to get to her. I'm really pleased Shyla's doing so well so quickly. :)

  10. That first photo is absolutely incredible! Glad the surgery went so well. Loved that she ended you giving her tech's kisses. She is just so darn sweet.

  11. I am so glad that it went so well for Shyla, that is how it should be for all dogs. What a beautiful close up of that beautiful face.

    Anne and Sasha

  12. We are so happy that everything went well and that you're home, Shyla!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  13. We agree that there seems to be a trend towards spaying/neutering far too young these days. It's good to wait until the animal has achieved some degree of maturity.

    Anxiously awaiting the news on R.

  14. Good to know about that surgery option. It sounds like a great one. Our Lee was spayed by the rescue at like 3 months and Phod was neutered around 1.5-2 (we are not sure of his age). I had no idea there were health problems associated with early "fixing". Another good thing to know.

    We wish Shyla a quick recovery.

  15. I am so glad Shyla did so well with her spay! Hope she continues to heal.

    Your pal, Pip

    P.S.: Love the picture of the coyote.

  16. Our vet has used the laser surgery technique for years now and we've had a few spays done this way. We after effects at all. Usually they don't even notice the "little scratch" at all! Our vet also uses it for male dogs and it's worked great!

  17. Hi KB, sending healing hugs to Shyla as she recovers from her procedure. Love that sunrise pic. Reminds me that each day is a new beginning!

  18. Heal well Shyla and please do take it easy. You've got plenty of time to enjoy life!

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  19. Interesting spay. Sounds high tech and less invasive.
    Benny & Lily

  20. I'd heard about waiting as well. I got Calhoun neutered as soon as they would do it which probably was too soon BUT I could not deal with a stubborn male with hormones raging! He was Ca-RAZY! Lucy was around 8 months. She's had no issues whatsoever. Calhoun has some joint issues that may or may not have been caused by early neutering. Next time, I'd probably wait a bit. Calhoun was my first dog so live and learn!

    mamma heartbeat

  21. I can totally understand your decision to neuter early. I don't think I could have endured the coyotes howling and stalking around the property for months on end until the 18 month period. The procedure seems less invasive and better for the animal. I think I would consider this procedure next time as well. Lookee at Shyla with that toy-stuffed smile...sweet!


  22. So glad to hear that Shyla's surgery went well! Beautiful sunrise pics! Let us hope that no knews is good news! Xo Jeanne

  23. Glad the surgery went well! Sounds like she overcame most of her fears at the end. My last dog Shadow was petrified when she had her spay surgery and I later learned that the silver I noticed on her teeth when she got home was from her chewing on the kennel she was in while waiting for the surgery. Yikes! So count Shyla's experience as not all bad! :)

  24. Thank you - for sharing your beautiful pictures with us every day! :)

  25. So was Shyla's surgery actually just a tubal ligation? They couldn't remove all her girly parts through a small incision, could they?....That sounds like a great way to do it. Glad she feels so good!

    I waited until 15 months for my younger boy. I'd heard it was very important to let the bones' growth plates fully close first. Since I got Jimmy w/ agility in mind, I wanted to wait it out for sure.

  26. I LOVE the "Wave" photo!

    Will keep the laparoscopic surgery option in mind for the future. It's good to know Shyla's went so well.

  27. Glad Shyla is recuperating well. Did you take her to a board certified surgeon for the laparoscopic spay? I'm curious about how many vets offer this. I'll inquire next time we see our local vet.

    Susan and Wrigs

  28. Hi, I couldn't remember if I wrote some words. Wonderful news that all went well,Hugh had a hernia op done this way, but still needed to take care for another 6 weeks afterwards.Hope that R comes through equally as well with his tests. Greetings from Jean

  29. Good for her I think and because how you live.

  30. I am glad to hear that Shyla's surgery went well. Now she just needs to have a speedy recovery. I have never heard of wildlife dangers when a dog is in heat. Now I know!


  31. Interesting about the spay....glad she is recovery so well!

  32. Gorgeous photos and I love the wave! Good to know about the laparoscopic surgery. I'd never heard of that option and hadn't heard that spaying surgery can be hard on a young dog. I hope you solve the R mystery soon and that it's as you say - treatable.

  33. Be still my heart...I has no words fur dat first foto...just no words to describe how incredibles it is.
    I is so happy happy Shyla came though her surgery so well. Dang, wish they had done dat kind of surgery on me insead of da traditional.
    We is hopin' fur good news fur R.


  34. I love that wave photo, too, and what a gorgeous sunrise! I'm excited to hear about the laproscopic procedure. That was not available last time I had animals and had to go through that step. I'm so excited about the technology!

  35. Very happy that Shyla's surgery went so well. As always pictures are beautiful and we love the sun shining in her beautiful self. Nice about her giving the vet tech a kiss :-)
    Ernie and the other furkids

  36. So glad that Shyla is healing well and good work on the two commands at the same time!

    As for spaying early - Breeze and Chance were spayed and neutered at age 12 weeks. Being pulled from the (kill) shelter and transferred to a vet clinic, the adoptions couldn't be done without it. I didn't like it but at least they were saved.


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