Thursday, May 20, 2010

Never All At Once

You've probably heard me refer to Dori as the Million Dollar Dog. And while that's a bit of an exageration, it's safe to say that we've spent a lot of money on her. What can I say? I treat my animals like children. If they're sick, they go to the doctor. No questions asked. No dollar value attached.

Dori's actually been in fairly good health the last several years. We've had some minor hiccups here and there - like some skin conditions, ear infections, and hip issues - but overall, she's not had any major illnesses to speak of.

I'm not sure if I've raved enough about the procedure Dori had on her hips. But let me just say that it was The Best decision we've made to date! She gets up & down without pain. It's like she's a new dog. We're still not to the 90-day mark, which is when we should see the maximum benefit from the injections. But as well as she's doing now, she'll be like a puppy if she continues on this course!

The biggest hurdle we've been facing of late are some skin issues. She had this spot come up on her side, and honestly I thought it was ringworm b/c it looks like a classic case. But the cultures we sent to the lab several weeks ago came back negative for ringworm. She's had several bouts of staph on her tummy, but this place on her side looks nothing like that. Honestly, we're all baffled. I wonder if it's not another manifestation of her nasal allergies. Some dogs will develop skin conditions as a result of allergies. And she's certainly been sneezy this spring (who hasn't?!!). The vet's sent off yet another culture in hopes of growing something so we know how to treat it.

Then this week, she started limping. I thought she'd hurt herself in one of her freak-out sessions on the new floors. (She does perfectly fine most of the time, walking normally just like she does on the tile, but for some reason, she sometimes take a notion to be afraid of the new hardwoods. Have no idea what that's all about. We just call her Neuro. LOL!) I examined her leg and didn't seem to find anything, so we just decided to keep an eye on it. Well, the limping became more pronounced, and I finally took a look at her paw. Sure enough, I found this growth on one of her pads. We mess with her feet regularly (to help when she visits the vet), but somehow we'd missed this huge bump. There were no obvious signs of trauma, like she'd step on something or cut it. Honestly, it looked like a plantar's wart to me. So back to the vet we went.

After x-rays ruled out calcification or a metatarsal injury and an exam ruled out a trauma, we were in a bit of a quandry. The vet thought it could be one of three things: 1) a disease that manifests in dogs with liver conditions, 2) a bunion, or 3) a tumor. And that left us with several treatment options. We could give Dori an antibiotic in the event that it was just an infection. But none of us were sold on this idea since there was not an obvious puncture wound, and a bone infection was not indicated. Our other option was surgery to remove the growth.

After much discussion, we opted for surgery. In the end, I'm glad we did b/c that gave the vet a bird's eye view of the problem. Turns out, there was a puncture wound, but it was not clearly visible until the foot was opened. Apparently, Dori stepped on something, though there was nothing in her pad to indicate what, and the wound got infected. There were bits of grass and debris way up into the pad. The vet cleaned the interior of the wound really well and filled it with antiobiotic, so Dori should be good to go in no time. She spent the night at the vet, much to her buddy Meeko's shagrin, and will be coming home this afternoon.

We'll be in charge of wound care for the next two weeks. That ought to be fun. But we're just glad that it turned out to be nothing too serious. And thank goodness for pet insurance, which should cover a lot of the costs!

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