Jul 242010

You wake up feeling really good. Your Dad takes you for a nice walk early in the morning: What a great way to begin a great day. Soon, your mom takes you on a nice car ride to your favorite animal hospital. There, your friends greet you with smiles. They take you into the back rooms. You walk to the back and quickly forget about your mom. You see your favorite doctor and are happy!  Then, you suddenly become really tired. Later you wake up and can barely move. You try to walk and it’s not so easy. Your mouth feels strange. You see your mom. She says “Good boy, Joey” and you start to walk outside, but you bump into the railings. You see a really nice bush and try to take a pee but it’s difficult even getting over to that bush. Beneath you, your legs are working hard to keep you upright.  You see the car and your Mom opens the car door and you have to jump up into that back seat but – are you up for it? You stop for a moment.  You have to do it. You’re a dog. You are a proud Labrador Retriever.  You are a chocolate.  And so you do. Your mom has the sheet laid out on the back seat beneath you.  You try to sit up like you always do, so you can see outside. But it’s a strain.  Your mom says “Joey, lie down.” Then she says it again. This is something you rarely do.  Lying down in the back seat is not for dogs. But she motions to you to lie down so you do.  You listen to her. Besides, it’s difficult to sit up.

She drives slowly and opens the window for fresh air. You don’t feel so good. You don’t open your mouth. Not that day or the next.

You get home and home feels good and she gets you into your nice soft bed. Ah. You fall asleep. For a long time.

You won’t open your mouth that night.

The next morning your Dad takes you running. It’s hot outside and you are getting hot and the way you cool yourself off is to open your mouth and let your tongue hang out. But you won’t open your mouth. Not that morning, not that afternoon. Except when your mom gets you some food to eat. Then you do. But all the rest of the day, no way.  Maybe tomorrow you will.

This is dental surgery for dogs.  My parents and doctor all agree this was part of my being hit by the car many months ago, 16 months ago, and what started out as a little crack in my tooth has now worsened so that my tooth had to be extracted.

I don’t know how my parents knew it. I didn’t tell them. I never complained. I was eating less but my parents assumed it was because of the summer heat just tiring me out.

But one day my Dad noticed that my breath didn’t smell so good and that I needed a dental cleaning. When my Mom brought me into the hospital for my blood work, I had to get on that scale again.  70 pounds!  “Joey’s lost too much weight” my doctor said.  The next thing I knew is that my parents were giving me all sorts of nice foods to eat, adding rice to my breakfast, rice to my dinner, sometimes little pieces of meat and turkey.

Now I think they’ve figured out that the reason I wasn’t eating was because it hurt to eat.

During my dental cleaning, my doctor Tamara noticed my tooth was really badly cracked. And so she took care of it.

Now back home, my parents say, “Joey, want a treat?” and I go over to her, obediently sit, and then she puts those little things down my throat again – “medicine” my parents call it.  Then they say, “Joey, want a treat?” and I get some nice soft bread.  And I’ve been getting a lot of food again, with rice and chicken gravy.

Eating is suddenly fun again.  Maybe I’ll even open my mouth and give my parents some kisses some time soon. But not now.

Aug 302009

If you (if you’re a dog) or your dog you know has his leg in a splint or a cast, this is an important blog post.  If you are a veterinarian, this is a blog post that you are going to be proud of!

dog's open-toed splint after surgery allows air to circulate

open-toed splint

I’d like to write a little about my splint. The splint has been off for a few months, but I’d like to write a little about it, and to show a picture of it up close.

First, this is a soft cast splint. It has a little more flexibility and is more comfortable to wear than a hard cast.

The splint was a very important part of my recovery, and so were the instructions about how to care for my splint.

The doctors left the toe open for several very important reasons. First, it allowed air to circulate. Second, it allowed my parents to look for signs of infection.  The doctors tell my parents that if they see my toes are inflamed, they know to get me to the doctor right away.

Another important part of the instructions is to notice if there is a bad odor. That is another sign of infection.  If my parents notice a bad odor, they know to get me to the doctor right away.

Finally, my parents are always looking at me to see if my bandages are wet. If they are wet, they have to bring me to the veterinarian right away.  Wet bandages is not a good thing. And this is another reason why I must wear the bootie or the plastic bag every time I go out, even if just for a moment.

Doctors are very concerned about my developing an infection.  I’ll just be a dog and do what I do, but my parents will be responsible for noticing all the signs of infection.

My doctor wants to change my bandages every 2 – 5 days. He instructed my parents to bring me in for a bandage change every two weeks after that.

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