*Disclaimer, there is a disturbing picture of a medical procedure included this article. Proceed with caution.
The title of this article talks about hidden wounds. They can be worse than those seen, because you can’t take care of something if you don’t know its a problem.
Last week I posted an article and video on the unfortunate dogfight that happened between my 2-year-old shelter dogs Jordi; my Husky-Lab and Biscuit; my Bully -mix. I’ve taken care to keep them separated for the week and I’ve been reintroducing them and allowing them to share space little by little in order to reestablish their relationship.
Initially, when the fight happened, Biscuits injuries were the most obvious of the two. Being a short-haired dog, Biscuit’s bites and were more prominent and as such, I took to nursing his wounds first.
I should say, I only nursed Biscuit’s wounds. Although I gave Jordi a once over, I naively concluded that his thick fur buffered him against being mauled. I patted him on the head with a “good doggy” and told him he was okay. But he wasn’t.
PSA: take your dog to the vet after a dogfight.
A week and two days have gone by. Jordi has looked and behaved as normal. He’s eating and drinking well, running and playing just fine. Saturday morning I even decided to record some video of the dogs for an upcoming youtube video. I was literally rolling around on the floor with them and hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary.
Later on, with Jordi sitting on the floor, and my daughter sitting on the bed next to him she pointed to a spot on his chest. “Mom, what’s that?” she asked me. There was a fist size protrusion sticking out of his chest! Looking at him straight on it was barely noticeable under his fur, but from the angle we were both sitting it was a very disturbing sight.
I gingerly touch his chest. The lump was soft and spongy and filled my cupped hand. Jordi didn’t react to being touched, which made me think maybe it wasn’t as bad as it looked (it looked bad). I was only now noticing him lightly panting. Had he been panting all day? Was he panting from thirst, or exertion, or pain?
I called the vet immediately (in hindsight, I should have called the vet right after the fight from last week). It was 2pm and my local clinic has just closed an hour earlier. I got the number for the nearest emergency clinic in Mansfield, about 20 minutes away.
The whole time I was driving there I was speculating what the lump was. Naively I thought his poor little heart was enlarged and pushing out of his chest. Or maybe it was a tumor? Or a reaction to a tick burrowed deep into his skin. Or was it a nasty toxic infection, leaving him with only hours to live? My mind did this for the entire ride.
A quick intake at the clinic and a retelling of the previous week’s intake concluded that it was more than likely an abscess, or what they call a seroma. The bite-hold-and-shake trauma that is common in dogfights not only punctured Jordi’s skin, but ripped apart the layers of tissue to muscle under the skin, leaving an open void underneath to close without proper healing.
A simple solution was to put in drains to allow the built-up inflammation and blood to be released. The procedure itself took about 10-15 minutes. Jordi had to have his fur shaved at the site to get access for the drains to be placed. He also had to get a leg shaved to place a butterfly catheter for anesthesia.
According to the doctors notes: Jordi got an IV for pain, a clip and cleaning of the wound site, another IV for the anesthesia, drainage and lavage of serosanguinous fluid from the wound, a penrose drain and sutures, and a prescription for painkillers to take at home.
The clinic sent Jordi home with the standard e-collar, to keep him from licking at the drains sticking out of his chest. He also got a prescription for a painkiller and antibiotic. In 3-5 days he’ll be returning to the clinic to get them removed. In the meantime, he’s on the doggy version of bedrest: no excessive activities and to stay in a calm quiet environment. That will be easy enough since for the past week I’ve been rotating him and Biscuit out of the garage for isolation purposes.
Then there’s the issue of the constant trickle of blood draining from the plugs in his chest. In order for the inflammation to go do and to encourage his wound to heal, it has to drip. Dressing him in an old t-shirt is a solution to allowing the drains to do what they must while keeping my carpet from looking like a crime scene.
Now Jordi is visibly miserable. The area on his chest has fresh pain. The leftover drugs in his system have him out of sorts. The gigantic e-collar around his neck has him bumping into places he normally eases in and out of. And it’s awkward for him to eat and drink. I hand fed him his supper, before helping him onto the bed so he could try to rest.
So it’s official. Jordi got worst of it from the fight. His continued happy-go-lucky demeanor and invisible scars hid the fact that he was in need of just as much care an attention as Biscuit. Fortunately, he was able to get some today, albeit much later.
It’s also official that I am a terrible pet parent. Or at least that’s what I feel like right now. I have so much confidence in my own abilities to manage issues that arise with my pets that I often times do not seek outside opinions or help.
This makes me challenge my thoughts on the blog and how it may be affecting my care of the cats and dogs. Blogging and vlogging have proved to be a very satisfying endeavor for me. It’s fun to write about and record the pets doing wacky pet things. But it takes a lot of time to actually put the content up in a way that is enjoyable to others.
Have I been spending too much time on the talking about how I take care of my fur babies, and not enough time actually taking care of them? I’ll be contemplating this more as time goes on. Ironically, I will be posting a video documenting Jordi’s injury on my YouTube channel catsdogsharmony.
My gratitude and appreciation go out to Animal Emergency Hospital of Mansfield, for taking care of my baby and giving me the extra information I needed to document and share Jordi’s visit.
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Until next time,
“Keep the harmony!”
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