Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Bizzy Emergency

Yesterday was a very emotional one for Bizz and I.  Let me start from the beginning.  On Monday evening Bizz and I went walking in downtown Campbell. I needed to stop at the library and I thought Bizz would enjoy a change of pace walk.  At one point he stopped to pee (at many points actually) but he mistook where he was for a plant on solid ground. In fact it was a plant that was spread out and where he was aiming was actually over a hole in the ground.  So when he went to move forward his front paw went right into the hole.  He limped a few steps but seemed to shake it off and we moved on.  Yesterday morning I noticed he limped a bit at the start of our walk but again seemed to shake it off.

When we returned home I did my routine inspection to check him for burrs in his coat and paws. When I got to his right front leg he yelped and flinched away.  I assumed there was a burr and tried again - and again he yelped and pulled away.  The third time I felt something jutting out to the side and realized it was his dew claw which normally lies flat. When I tried to feel it again he made as if to bite me - taking my hand in his mouth though he didn't exert any pressure.  It was obvious he was in pain.

I called my animal hospital and they were superb. While they were fully booked they told me they'd call back within an hour with an appointment time for me.  They called back in 10 minutes and asked me to come in right away.  Dr. Kumar got Bizz right in and immediately knew the problem - his dew claw - had been broken but not completely torn off. It was broken right above the skin line so it would need to be cut and cauterized.  He gave me an estimate and once we removed the blood test (Bizz was tested two months ago) I signed off and Bizz was taken away to be anesthetized and have his procedure. I was told I'd be contacted in an hour.

With an hour to spare I headed to the store to grocery shop and bring home goodies for our dinners.  Then I got the call as I was unloading at home.  This is where the comedy of errors occurred.

"Is this Ms. Barrett?"

"Yes it is."

"I have the paperwork you wanted Dr. Kumar to fill out. Would you like to pick it up or have it mailed to you?"

I paused.  "You have my dog.  What about my dog?"  I would like the insurance paperwork but getting Bizz back was more important.

"We have your dog?"

"Yes, I dropped him off almost an hour ago.  He was having surgery."

"I don't know about that let me check."  I was put on hold and started feeling a little concerned.  "Yes, sorry, the procedure is done.  She is just fine. You can come pick her up."

"When I left there he was  a boy.  He was supposed to get his dew claw taken care of.  Did some other surgery happen?" 

"Oh, no he's still a boy.  You can come pick him up now."


I got back in the car and raced over.  I got all the paperwork and then Dr. Kumar carried out my doped up little Bizz.   As a favor he had also trimmed the hair around his eyes for me.  Bizz was supposed to go to the groomer today but given his surgery we had to postpone.  They gave me Bizz, we paid and with instructions on pain management and medication in hand off we went.  Bizz dozed in the car and when we got home he lazed around the house the rest of the day.  1/4 of a pain pill last night wrapped in his favorite cheese and he slept through the night.

Today, he is still my limping little man. Though you couldn't tell it from the way he jumped on the bookcase and barked at the postman.  We aren't going for walks but rather spending time in the yard.  He doesn't seem to like to put much weight on his foot but I imagine the bandage makes walking uncomfortable.

So lessons learned:

1. Dew claws are a subject of great controversy. My cousin Nancy's dog had the same thing. It's a common injury and very painful.  Dew claws can easily be removed before a puppy is 7 days old since the bones are mostly gristle at that point. After that it's a painful surgery.  My groomer thinks all puppies should have them removed but online opinion states that some dogs use the dew claws to hold things in their paws. I've seen Bizz use his when he goes after one of his projects ( a smelly treat in a folded toilet paper tube). He's too old to remove the dew claws without a lot of pain but I will be paying more attention to their trimming in the future.

2.  I made an excellent vet selection - having a vet who would find a way to get us in even on a very busy day is the kind we want. He's kind and loving to Bizz and very clear to explain things to me.  Big kudos to Dr. Kumar and Burbank Pet Hospital. And the confusion with the paperwork was more amusing than anything else. 

3.  To break a small pain pill into quarters is very hard.  Best to do it on a knife on a cutting board.

4.  Use a lot of cheese to wrap the tiny pill. The first go round Bizz got the cheese off and spit out the pill. Second round more cheese carefully covering the entire pill.  Muenster is his favorite.

Here is Bizz yesterday after his surgery -

And today on his pillow - he keeps moving from place to place trying to get comfortable poor baby.

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