:Weekend Veterinary fun..Tango does the Bop..Champ enters the fights..

Not only did the news of Chris hit me with a punch to the gut, but I spent Saturday morning to and from the vet’s office. Friday morning Tango was greatly bothered by the incision left by his neutering the previous Friday. Checking daily, the incision was healing normally. Figuring the healing was really itching Tango, I slipped an Elizabethan collar on him, loaded him up with the gang to be groomed, then down the hill for training class. Through out the day I cold-compressed the area along with slathering calendula gel which seemed to provide relief. By Saturday morning, the area had ‘blown up’ to use Katy, the vet tech’s words. It did not look infected. Besides that made no sense to me, this being eight days after surgery. It must be an allergic reaction to the dissolvable sutures. Once again, I loaded him up – sans the rest of the gang. Once again, down the hill we went. 

Sure enough! Allergic reaction to the dissolvable sutures (which are under the skin). Doug says he does about 5 neuters per week. Although he uses the least reactive dissolvable suture material available, this happens about 4 times a year. Tango was injected with a long-acting prednisone for the itching and allergic reaction, along with antibiotics as a precaution against infection. The site wasn’t infected, but those pesky bacteria look for opportune moments to invade.

By Sunday morning the area was no longer ‘blown up’. Tango bops his way around. He bulldozes through, no matter the collar. It doesn’t stop him from eating, drinking or playing. It does hinder his ability to reach the reaction site. Bop! Bop! Bebop! That Elizabethan collar will never be the same!

Not wanting to miss out on Fun Day at the Vet’s Office, Champ participated. Here’s Susan’s posts from the last several days:

3/1/2008

Poor Champ !!!
Got mauled today by a pit bull.
Yup.
Not a bad dog, but little blind Champ slipped through a siny hold in the
fence and taunted him.
He got bit in three places.
The fence was too big for me to get over, so I had to run out to the
street and to the back of my neighbors property to rescue him.
He was hurt and when I tried to pick him up, he bit me….of course.
I brought him in the house, put him down, took off my bloody clothes and
went to pick him up.
He thrashed and bit me some more….
Poor little guy.
We just spent a few hours and a few more dollars at the emergency vet.
Now we wait to see if he heals.
Sad sad sad….
Good Morning.
I’m thinking he’s going to be fine.  Most of the punctures have stopped
bleeding this morning.  The one that is the worst and the one that seems
to be hurting him is still bleeding, and (since I haven’t quite learned
how to pick him up without hurting him) making him scream.  On the other
hand, he’s eating well (I’ve been feeding him in his nest for these
first two meals), and when I took him outside to see if he would pee (he
wouldn’t), he seems to walk just fine.  In other words, I don’t think
there are any breaks, although  his howling when I picked him up this
morning made me fear for that. The vet was cautiously optomistic.  He seemed to think that none of the
wounds were life threatening on the surface, but that we would not be
out of the woods for complications for 4-5 days.  I hated that part. 
Anyway, I’m giving him Clavamox (antibiotic) and also a drug I’m not
familiar with — Metacam  — which is an NSAID.Today I will venture out to the pharmacy to pick up some wound cleaning
“stuff” (maybe Betadine?) and we will do a job on keeping him clean. 
Then we will wash sheets and towels.  And I may need to fashion some
sort of  “Elizabethan collar” to keep him from licking on it;  if you
have any ideas of how to fashion something to keep him from reaching his
back upper leg with his tongue, I’d appreciate that.That’s it for this morning.
Now for a cup of teaSusan
This morning as I was cleaning up the stuff I’d taken off and dumped in
the bathroom, I noticed/remembered that when the ruckus had erupted
yesterday, I’d been wearing my pruning gloves.  I’m thinking now that my
own hands would be in a whole lot worse shape if I hadn’t had them on.Any ideas how to get blood out of leather?Here’s a picture of Champ in his little hospital bed in the living room.
He slept the night in his usual place in my bed….tucked up next to my
head.  I had tried to put him in a nest next to the bed, but he (or I)
really needed the comfort of having him closer.
img_3147web.jpg
There’s also a picture of his deepest puncture, which is still bleeding
this morning, but should taper off…The other places seem to have
stopped bleeding.
img_3149web.jpg
And my hand-saving gloves.  My left hand is all swollen between the base
of the thumb and the wrist, but as you can see, it doesn’t hamper my
typing, so life proceeds and we will spend the day being very very quiet.
img_3150web.jpg
Unless I am way off base, he’s gonna be JUST FINE !!!!!
The last of the punctures finally stopped bleeding sometime during last
night.
The vet actually had to remind me multiple times that the extended
bleeding from a puncture wound is a good thing, since it increases the
probability that any infectious agents will get washed out of the
wound.  Punctures are most dangerous when they close at the outside and
leave some noxious material inside to fester and abcess.  So, much as
the continual bleeding feels wrong, it’s really right.

I tried to make myself put an e-collar on him yesterday, but….I
couldn’t do it.  He was just too miserable.  So, I just  wrapped him
tightly enough that he couldn’t lick himself all the time (he still got
to it, just not constantly), and told him to stop (which he mostly did)
when he started up again.  My failures as a mom are legion !!!!

I have to say that I think four dogs are too many.  On the other hand,
there is not one of them that I would or could give up.  It’s that
simple.  I love them all, but I do think that unless you are a much
better disciplinarian (in its best meaning) than I am, it definitely
gets tricky.  And on yet that other other hand, I think that one of
these days not so far from now I will be telling anyone who wants to
listen that four is the perfect number.  We’re just having a rocky start
here, and I do tend towards fretting.

The sun is out and there is a lovely breeze today, the bass chime out
front is sounding most mellow, and Champ is lolling about on the couch
on the front porch.  Not a bad way or place to recuperate from a mauling.

Susan

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11 Comments on “:Weekend Veterinary fun..Tango does the Bop..Champ enters the fights..”

  1. lhasalhady says:

    A couple of comments:

    I am a defender of pit bulls and agree with Susan. Not a bad dog. Those puncture wounds, while bad news for Champ, are relatively minor given the strength of a pit bull’s mouth. That breed can get in an ordinary dog squirmish and come out ‘the bad guy’, the ‘mean dog’ because of his/her ability to do more harm simply because of the design of the jaw. Champ entered that dog’s territory and taunted him. Champ got what he asked for.

    In vet tech school we were taught to never move an injured dog without first muzzling the dog. The nicest of dogs will bite when in pain. Additionally, I’d worked in a small animal practice during my high school years. But, did I remember that fundamental rule the first time I had to move an injured dog from the backseat of its owner’s car and into the vet clinic?! Nope! I got bit..good and hard. Gave a new meaning to ‘experience being the best teacher’. You’re probably thinking, a muzzle, ya, right, and just where was I going to find a muzzle at that moment?! Anything that would tie around the mouth will do in an emergency situation. A belt. The sleeve of shirt. You get the idea.

    Susan, give yourself another pat – or three – on the back. You handled the situation quickly, appropriately. As far as four dogs being too much and your self-claimed lack of leadership, you’re learning! Kudos! Soon you’ll wonder what you ever did without dogs, one, two or four. As noted above, experience is a great teacher. You’ve been gathering lots of experience lately, that’s for sure.

    Side note. I love my new vet!! I love his staff!! I love his bedside manner!! I love that neither he nor his staff questioned my approach with the e-collar, cold-compressing, along with soothing gel. In fact, I was told I’d done exactly the right thing. I love that the receptionist recognized Tango. I love that Katy, one of the vet-techs, noticed Tango had received a hair cut in the past week. I love that she asked about Katu. This vet office has their act together, from the front desk to the technicians. I couldn’t be happier about my decision to change – and to change to this clinic. The icing on this very large cake is that I don’t feel ripped off when I leave. I was charged for Tango’s injection and the antibiotics. $13.98. The receipt noted Brief Office Visit – no charge. I cannot tell you how happy I am with my decision!!!

  2. katy says:

    Debbie, Susan, Champ, Tango and Chris,
    to you all my deepest heart-felt thoughts for healing of all wounds and afflictions, both physical and emotional.
    You’ve had quite the ride lately, Debbie, with the loss of Genevieve and now all this piling on.
    So happy you found a vet you can trust and have confidence in. I am still searching for one of those.
    Susan, my prayers are with little Champ for quick and thorough healing. You’re a champ, too, even if you don’t recognize it just yet.

  3. Chris Geiser says:

    Panchen is my friend, and I have spent many happy hours with him. He could have been killed in this most recent incident. Since he can’t speak for himself, I’m going to. Panchen is blind and will defend himself when he feels threatened. As you know, he and B, Gail’s elderly blind Shih Tzu, would get into fights when Panchen inadvertently went into B’s territory.

    This recent incident could have been prevented by ensuring that your fence is secure. Rather than Panchen “taunting” the pitbull, my guess is that he found himself in the pit bull’s territory and both dogs acted aggressively and predictably to defend themselves. Instead you blamed Panchen (was the pit bull blamed/punished, too?).

    There are many fine dog trainers/behaviorists who use positive methods whom you could consult (this can be done by telephone). For example,

    –Sabra Learned (510) 649-9142, I’ve consulted with her and taken one of her workshops

    –Warren Eckstein (310) 396-6955, http://www.thepetshow.com/, The Pet Show (radio)

    –Suzanne Clothier 1-800-7-FLY-DOG, http://www.flyingdogpress.com/, her book, Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationship with Dogs, is not a training book per se but offers profound insights into canine culture and how dogs view the world

    As a way to understand Panchen, you could try wearing a blindfold for an hour. When I adopted Pema, my blind Lhasa Apso, I tried this and lasted less than five minutes. I realized I was totally vulnerable to running into things face-first or falling due to uneven surfaces unless I “cheated” by holding my hands in front me, which Pema could not do. It gave me a new appreciation for blind dogs. They forge ahead with their lives despite constant painful encounters with physical objects.

  4. lhasalhady says:

    Having lived with a number of dogs, packs of dogs, including Panchen, I have seen plenty of times when dogs taunt other dogs. asking for trouble. My statement “Champ entered that dog’s territory and taunted him. Champ got what he asked for” was made because far, far too often people place their own beliefs and expectations on dog behavior, which may have little to do with what’s actually going on between two dogs. What I wanted to convey is that Champ entered the other dog’s territory; the other dog, rightfully so, defended it. Were Champ’s actions defensive or offensive? I’ve seen him do both, blind or not. Without having seen the actual encounter, it is impossible to surmise the details of what happened.

    I, personally, don’t think either dog should have been punished or blamed. It was a dog encounter. Yes, one that could have been prevented with a totally secure fence. Unfortunately, sometimes dogs show us an area isn’t as escape-proof as thought! Susan, have you walked your fence line with a new perspective?

    It’s important to understand Panchen’s behavior can be influenced by his blindness, however that doesn’t excuse shabby behavior. I’m speaking in general now, not about this specific incident. Blindess provides extra challenges in finding solutions to problems. My friend’s daughter was diagnosed with ADHD years ago. Rather than stepping up to the additional parenting challenge, my friend would excuse her daughter’s behavior – Maria, poor Maria, she’s ADHD. This did nothing to build Maria’s life skills. I believe it’s my job – as a dog trainer or a parent – to teach, not to excuse.

    I am not familiar with the first two dog trainers, but Bones Would Rain from the Sky sits in the bathroom on little table Rick made my long-departed mom. I love that book!! And rather than my usual recommendation of using the library, I encourage each of you to purchase that book!

  5. Susan says:

    Ah, well there you have it. No question at all that what happened to Champ was my fault. That fact has not escaped me for more than a split second over the past week as I have watched him hurt and heal. That I could have lost him, that I could have been the reason that everyone lost him has not been lost on me.

    Jimmy’s pit had no intention of killing Champ. If she had, she would have. It took me plenty of time to get from my side of the fence to the street and back to where I could rescue Champ. Had she been trying to do anything more than get rid of the annoyance Champ was, Champ would have been dead. Instead he just got bitten….on the ear, on both shoulders, on his hip, on his leg.

    Neither dog got punished or blamed.
    Jimmy has fixed the fence.
    Champ is doing fine.

    We are all learning how to live with an Old Blind Dog.

  6. Susan says:

    Ah, I do have more to say.
    Debbie, thank you for your defense.
    Chris, you are the only person so far who has felt that Champ would speak up and blame me. I think you are wrong. He loves it here, even if he still hurts when Sammy tries to play with him.

  7. Vickie says:

    >>> Panchen is my friend, and I have spent many happy hours with him.

    And, yet, Panchen found himself in the untenable position of being moved again. Given what he’s been expected to adapt to in the past six month (… and a blind dog at that), it’s a wonder this is the first serious incident to have befallen him.

    Attempting to mimic a blind dog by blindfolding, one cannot truly appreciate what senses have become enhanced … there simply is not equal comparison. For the canine, sight is the least of their senses, coming in after smell and hearing. IOW, the K9 senses are much more advanced even with the loss of sight.

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone …

  8. Gail says:

    Last year Suzanne Clothier gave a seminar in Berkeley and Chris and I both attended…We loved her and were very impressed by her ideas. Chris read “Bones” cover to cover. I read alot of it. That quote about the hollow in the dog’s paw fitting your thumb…..In this part of the book, she is contemplating her old dog’s mortality and waxes philosophical about how a human and a dog have been together lifetimes…I enjoyed that chapter in the book towards the end tremendously..Hopefully she will come back and teach some more…I would rather learn from the real person than read about it….

  9. Gail says:

    It has become clear to me that no one really knows why I couldn’t keep Panchen in my house. I had to keep him in a much smaller area than he has at Susan’s because that was what I thought was safe for him and for me. His outside space, the deck was very open with no obstacles. That made me feel better too. So his life was pretty predictable and safe that way. I have another blind dog, a shih-tzu, who is old and becoming more defensive about himself. He wasn’t always this way. When I first got him, he got along with the other members of his clan (4 others, big and small) just fine. As his sight diminished, he became more protective of himself. When he and Panchen would bump into each other, usually a fight would erupt. B especially would be upset as evidenced by his barking. I had hoped this situation would change, but it didn’t. Then what would happen is that Panchen, from his bed, would just lunge at B when B was walking by him. That was unacceptable also. Since I have had a bad incident happen years ago involving two of my dogs because of my own ignorance, i.e. in the middle of the night, one dog stepped on another and was bitten in the eye..and that was just horrible…I felt awful and guilty and I never want that to happen again. So I decided it was not a good fit and wasn’t going to change and that I could not keep Panchen. It wasn’t just a frivolous decision and I pondered it seriously. He was at my house for 9 months. Sometimes relationships just don’t work out. Given B’s personality and Panchen’s personality, which are very similar, I should have known better in the beginning that they might not be able to get along with each other. Both are tough cookies. I am grateful to Susan for adopting Panchen. It is not easy to have four dogs in the house…esp. 4 Gompas. I also greatly respect Chris’ observations. She had two female lhasas (who were often at each others’ throats) for 10 years. Her other blind lhasa was spared the needle at the shelter because she was a favorite of the staff. Chris saw her picture, fell in love with her and adopted her not having met her in person. She trained her last blind lhasa to navigate the doggy door out of her kitchen in a very short time. She took excellent care of her till she passed away a couple years ago. Her comments were for the purpose of raising awareness, not to criticize or make Susan feel bad. She already felt bad. Anyone who loves their dogs and has had bad things happen, feels horrible and devastated and guilty, but hopefully they’ve learned and benefitted from the incident.

  10. Chris Geiser says:

    Champ has special issues. There are experts who can help. I have made and do make mistakes with my dogs and want to share what I’ve learned so other people can avoid those kinds of mistakes.

    This wasn’t the first incident. For example, bringing Champ into your home and putting him in your other dogs’ den without introductions unintentionally created an unsafe situation.

    Vickie–Thanks for your comments about the dogs using their other senses, and I agree the blindfold exercise is not an adequate comparison. I stand by my point that it does hurt when they bump into things. I’m observing that right now with my Shih Tzu, Cozmo, who has lost most of his vision this past year (he’s getting cataract surgery next Tuesday and will be able to see again!).

  11. lhasalhady says:

    Enough! I’ve had enough! I did not start this blog to be a mud slinging message board. Enough! Ladies, this is enough! It’s certainly enough for me. Susan is learning. She was gracious enough to take in a special needs dog that was no longer wanted, for more reasons than explained. She continues to seek solutions, including coming up with some great ideas herself. Enough! I’ve had enough!


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