Medication Research the medication your neurologist sends you home with either for daily treatment or after surgery. Keep an eye out for side effects and know what to expect from the meds. For example, steroids can cause the animal to drink more water and urinate more. I noticed urine smells worse when steroids are being used.
Things like pill pockets, cheese, etc are good for hiding pills. Even if they are blind they can smell the meds. Try to make it as enjoyable as possible. I
Prepare for Shunt Surgery Your neurologist will prep you for that day as far as not feeding after a certain time, etc. Your pet will stay there to recuperate for a few days and be under observation. Shunt surgery should be done as soon as possible after diagnosis confirms it is needed. *Make sure to schedule this when you have time to care for your pet.
After Surgery The way your pet looks may shock you. The staples, incisions and shaved hair can be "Frankenstein-ish", this will look better soon. Keep them clean. Bathing cannot be done because of the stitches/stapes but preventing them for being is situations where they can get dirty and keeping their living area clean is important. Watch for infection or complications. Buying a thermometer and vasoline is a good idea. Ask your neurologist to show you how to take their temperature so you can monitor it from home after surgery. Average temperature for a dog or cat is between 100.5-102.5. Call you neurologist immediately if they have a high temperature or show any signs of infection or complications. The meds they send home should help prevent infection so using Neosporin on the body is optional - ask your neurologist. Pain meds will be sent home also - do not over dose these, give as prescribed. If you think you need to up the dosage get the approval from the neurologist first.
Make sure they eat & drink to keep their strength up. Losing weight during this time is not abnormal. Putting on an extra pound or two before surgery may be a good idea, ask your neurologist.
Check Ups Prepare for several check ups, your neurologist will want to see them several times with in the first 6 months after surgery, whether they are doing well or not. These visits will get further apart if your pet is doing well.
The Future No more collars! After shunt surgery your pet can no longer wear a collar around the neck. Not wearing an identification tag (name, address, phone number) is not an option. If your pet gets lost they will be in a scary world they cannot survive in with their condition. Microchips are good if they are picked up by animal control and taken to a shelter or taken to a vet for scanning. But an ID tag is needed if they are picked up/helped by a regular person. People are more likely to pick up and help an animal with an ID tag vs. one without.
How to solve this? A soft harness is the way to go. Check out the "Puppia" line. They are soft, washable, durable and fits the need. You can buy the "Puppia Harness" through many US retailers online. Just do a search on the web. Below is a link to the the manaufactors European website. http://www.puppia.com.au
At home, a few days after surgery
The Puppia Harness
The Evie Foundation
Providing information and resources about Hydrocephalus in pets.