Just when we're thankful that our dog has survived being struck by a car: We are told by a veterinarian that our dog has an enlarged prostrate gland and needs to be castrated. Very soon. This is really upsetting to us. Clearly not in the same way as Joey's accident. But deeply disturbing.
First, please make sure you've read Joey's post, "this too was injured when I was hit by the car", before you continue.
We needed to go out of town for a few days, but Joey was still recuperating from his injuries. Luckily, we found a place to board Joey where he could be medically supervised. And off we went, confident of Joey's' being in good hands. During this period of time, one technician noticed that Joey was peeing - and that nothing was coming out. The technician noted that when Joey did pee, his pee seemed a little differently colored.
It's so interesting: I asked, How can a technician tell one dog's pee from another's?
Apparently the testosterone from whole male dogs creates a different odor than unaltered male dogs!
From Joey's point of view, as he writes in his post, suddenly he was getting a lot more attention. Not a bad thing! He likes the attention! This is his version of the fact that veterinarians where he was being boarded took a blood test to see if he had an infection, and that they also checked his prostate gland to see if it was normal or enlarged.
Our perspective was a lot different. We had received phone calls from the attending doctor. "We'd like to do some tests." "Yes", we answered, "Please do the tests." (Yes, and it did mean more money.) We were concerned.
Once we were back home again, we noticed that our crazy Joey didn't exactly act like an ailing dog. But the doctor was unequivocal both verbally and in writing: Joey needed to be castrated - and soon.
Let's say that it was totally surprising to us that our ten-year-old dog should suddenly develop an enlarged prostate. But we think to ourselves, "Maybe age is starting to catch up with him. Our big and strong and gentle and crazy chocolate Labrador Retriever is finally starting to show his age? We are also thinking to ourselves: How lucky we are that Joey was in hands just when this condition developed."
As Phil, Joey and I each got back into our respective routines back home, Phil and I tried to think about what all this meant, where to go from here.
Many people feel uncomfortable questioning a doctor's diagnosis.
Phil and I had originally agreed that there might be some medical issues here, not to be taken lightly; we also decided to request a copy of the actual lab results. Hey, let's be sure. Let's know exactly what we're dealing with. We promptly received the lab results as an email attachment. And, upon reading the lab results, the case for castration was no longer so conclusive. In fact, it was quite open.
The doctor had indeed observed certain behaviors, but could they correctly be attributed to benign prostatic hyperplasia?
Or can they be attributed to something else? Joey's medical history was all there on the charts, including the lacerated penis. The doctor didn't seem to take this into consideration. We know things about him and his behavior that perhaps this doctor didn't take into consideration.
The doctor had indicated the following symptoms and observations: 1) Joey was seen marking with no urine coming out, 2) there was blood in the urine when Joey urinated or marked, and 3) Joey had an enlarged prostate gland detected upon a manual examination.
Phil and I have explanations for Symptoms 1 and 2. First, Joey loves dogs and he marks so much that sometimes he marks himself dry. This would be a likely scenario at a place where he was being boarded, where dogs abounded and where Joey has been famous for marking.
Our explanation for Symptom 1 is that, where he was boarded, Joey was, simply, pee-d out!
Second, Joey had suffered severe laceration of his penis when he was hit by the car, as he has now told you in his blog. The skin surrounding the penis had been pulled back and the penis lacerated as it came into contact with the ground. The cut went fully around the penis and after the accident, whenever Joey got excited, blood rushed out his penis once so much so that Joey had to be rushed to the hospital. He was bleeding everywhere, onto the floors, the walls, his bed, and he couldn't have cared less. The trip to the animal medical center was just a lot of fun! But it wasn't fun for us.
This added to the restrictions on his life (and our life) after the accident until that could heal again. Keeping the shades lowered during the day was one of the restrictions we had to follow in order to keep Joey's level of excitement low, so that his penis could heal properly.
So our explanation for Symptom 2 is that being boarded, he was more excited than normal and that therefore blood from his penis injury was ending up in his urine.
We had no explanation for Symptom 3.
But we did have our regular veterinarian, Dr. Tamara, at Joe's regular (and local) animal hospital.
So I phoned Dr. Tamara and we spent a long time on the telephone discussing this situation. She'd been the emergency room doctor at the first (our local) animal hospital the morning he'd been hit by the car, and she'd been attending to Joey at the animal hospital the afternoon when he was bleeding massively. (Again the doctors had stablized him and then recommended that we bring him over to the 24-hour emergency hospital, and had notified them that we were on our way.) Dr. Tamara also understood Phil and me and our concerns about castration. (I hate even writing that word.)
Together, we came up with a plan of action!