Thursday, January 12, 2012

Interesting Day

Today (well, technically yesterday now) was filled with some interesting minor events. I had a routine surgery with a twist, took sutures out on my leg project, had two "Killers" in the hospital, finally got the sick puppy from the holiday weekend home, saw a syncopal dog, and was threatened by a pint-sized child wearing a reindeer hat.

I really will do a post devoted to the leg surgery project but am leaning toward waiting until he has totally healed for a good final picture so you will just have to be patient a little longer.

Had an overweight small breed dog with three masses to be excised; two appeared to be routine lipomas and were located on the ventral abdomen just caudal to the umbilicus and on both sides of midline. I started with them, made my incision, and began "shelling out" the tumor. All seemed normal until I reached midline and found a firm attachment and that the two masses were attached to each other. Imagine my surprise when my finger slipped through a hole into the abdominal cavity. It would seem that the dog had a small hernia through which omentum had extruded then the two lipomas had arisen from the protruding omental fat. That was odd. It just demonstrates once more the reasons to expect the unexpected in surgery and is probably one of the reasons I really enjoy surgery so much. I don't think I have ever heard of that scenario. I repaired the hernia and removed the masses then removed the third mass which appeared to be a large cyst from the neck. Other than the fact that I'm pretty sure the dog gave me fleas since I was itching in places I couldn't scratch, everything went well.

My comment pushes me down a rabbit trail. The children were appalled to learn that people can, gasp, harbor fleas, too. When asked, I explained to them that until fairly recently with the advent of daily bathing, it was a common problem. Read some of the historical literature as recent as the American Civil War era or even the World Wars. I also referred them to the John Donne poem about the flea and explained that one reason small breed lap dogs were even developed was to attract fleas from their owners' bodies to their own. The kids didn't appreciate my historical lecture neither for content (gross per them) nor historical facts and references (not many enjoy history and literature). Sad!

The Friday before New Year's day I admitted a young pup for fever and diarrhea. He was pretty mild at first but just kinda lingered without improvement for a week. Most likely, based on diagnostic results including an "oh white cell, where art thou" search, it was most likely parvo. I had spoken to the owner minimally once daily and kept her updated on the bill. Finally, Friday, he was ready to go and the owner was told a time to pick him up. She failed to show or answer her phone. Finally, we got a dialogue going again and discovered it was a money issue as is usual, especially these days. Yesterday, she came and payed part of the bill and said she needed to go to the car for a check because we had agreed to hold post-dated checks for the balance. She then left and didn't come back. Today, she finally took the little guy home. Weird people! Apparently her husband left her during the time the pup was with us and totally ruined her credit; at least this is the story we were given... I just wish folks would talk to me about the money sooner rather than later before the hole gets too deep! Especially since I bring it up right from the start. Personally, I hate not being honest about cost and don't want to be kept in the dark myself.

Two dogs in one day named Killer. Both dropped off at the clinic, both small breed, one really would bite but it's a Chihuahua so not unexpected. I think I may have to name a cat Killer one day. By the way, both were actually females, too.

And there was this ancient medium sized dog that I examined while he was in for a bath. Did not find anything too scary (fleas, old head tilt, and slightly low heart rate but he was very relaxed) but while I was talking to the owner complete with her grandchild who is best buds with the dog, I must have said something disturbing to the child. As I finished and started to walk away, the tyke pointed a little finger at me and said "You better let me keep my Tickles!" She was maybe 7-ish and was wearing a reindeer hat and was dead serious. I'm a little frightened. Kids are scary enough without adding threats! If she can write, she may join my threatening letter fan club after the dog passes away. I figure the geriatric dog that I failed to fix last week will join as well. If I keep this up, I'll singlehandedly keep the postal system afloat...

Oh, just in case anyone is wondering about the flea comments, yes, it is definitely possible to have fleas in the dead of winter. Especially down South. Especially when it has been so warm. And mosquitoes, hence heartworm spread, too. Can we say year-round protection please?

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