Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bingley Report III

Tomorrow, it will be one week since Bingley's surgery. We are very encouraged with the progress he has made in that time. After his bandage was removed on Wednesday, his paw was bleeding from multiple sores and it sported a fresh incision with blood incrusted stitches surrounded by bruising. In spite of the fact that we have yet to go a full day without his finding a way to adjust his collar so that he can lick one of his wounds, the healing has been swift and remarkable. His incision looks very clean and there is little swelling left. The large, deep sore is actually closing slowly. Today, he is experimenting with putting weight on the paw. I'm guessing that within the week, he will be walking on it. As Mike Dougherty of Windsong has told me repeatedly, "Bingley is one tough dog.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


To all Friends of Portia, a Very Merry Christmas! From John, Judith, Magic, and Bingley, who is emerging from his post operative daze.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Bingley Report II

Bingley is now "resting comfortably", I believe is the standard phrase. We have a new regimen of meds, and it looks as if the bandage will have to come off Wednesday, so the healing will require constant monitoring. But otherwise, the bandage sores will become a serious problem and might compromise the surgical healing. Thank you to everyone who expressed concern and offered prayers and good thoughts. This evening, John and I are very relieved.

Bingley Report

Bingley is out of surgery and in recovery. The next few hours will be important while his system clears of anesthesia, but so far, so good. We are inching toward feeling relieved and waiting for the call to let us know he is ready to come home. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. All paws crossed.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Week Four: This Is The Week That Was

I have been marking off the weeks since Bingley broke his toe. Seven more weeks till normal. Six more weeks till normal. Today, I expected to say, Four more weeks till normal. But instead, we're looking at a New Normal--ominous words. Tuesday, when Bingley went in for a bandage change, he came out with no bandage, no splint. In spite of keeping the bandage absolutely dry, he had developed numerous sores under the bandage. To complicate matters, even the most gentle tape--paper tape--peels off the tissue thin skin that covers his ankle and paw. I brought home a dog with a paw bleeding from multiple sores, and a new medication in powder form to be applied twice a day--AND--the old nemesis of all Greyhound guardians--the e-collar. Show me a Greyhound guardian with any length of experience with the breed and I will show you a person with a collection of failed collars that their sleek canine companion has outwitted, resulting in the serious compromising of healing injuries or surgical incisions. Standard issue e-collars are designed proportionally. The longer the collar, the wider the neck. I'm guessing that the circumference of a Greyhound's neck is not much larger than that of a Miniature Poodle. AND, their heads narrow from ear to nose. That in combination with thin skin, short, fine fur, and no body fat, and you have a recipe for long, complicated recovery. It was no time at all before John and I concluded that Bingley could not be left alone for any extended time. I figured, four more weeks of this drill. HOWEVER, when we returned yesterday for an evaluation of Bingley's progress, having at least staunched the bleeding of his wounds, we were faced with another unwelcome development. An x-ray revealed that no healing had occurred to the broken bone. Poor Bingley had suffered all pain and no gain. This sad situation confronted us with an option of Plan B and Plan C--or I think, more accurately, Plan C and Plan D. (Plan A was splint and bandage. Plan B was Open Wound Healing) Plan C was an attempt at pinning or plating the toe in an intricate piece of canine orthopedic surgery, which involved extended time of recovery, including extensive bandaging and anti-biotics. (I am sparing you, dear reader, the details of the impact of anti-biotics on Bingley's sensitive digestive/elimination system.) Plan D was amputation of the little toe, which promises a speedier recovery time and restoration of the use of the paw.
Bandages and anti-biotics are still in the picture, but for a shorter period of time. It was a painful decision. We consulted with our Greyhound adviser. One of the advantages to adopting a Greyhound through a well organized, cautious rescue is that you are assigned an old Greyhound hand to help you through just this sort of problem. After considering all factors, we have decided on amputation of Bingley's little toe on his left front paw. Prognosis is excellent. The risk of general anesthesia to a Greyhound is always a factor, but the surgery we have chosen is briefer than the other surgery, so we are minimizing that risk as much as possible. The surgery is scheduled for shortly after 7am Pacific Time. If you are so inclined, whisper a prayer for our beloved Bingley, Dr. Pearson, and assisting vet techs. All paws crossed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Annual Christmas Downer Post

This morning I received an email from a friend whose dog just spent some quality time at the vet's--and still is not feeling up to par. The reason? Ingestion of a couple of Christmas Tree decorations. All paws crossed for Toki's speedy recovery. He's a lucky dog because the humans in his life are close observers of his health status and took quick action. But his misadventure reminded me that I am late with my Annual Christmas Warning Regarding Pets. Where to begin? At Christmastime, we bring all manner of novel and potentially toxic items into our homes. We are busy and preoccupied, and that forms a dangerous mix for dogs and cats. Right now I have seven Poinsettia plants arranged around my living and dining rooms. I am trying to keep them well-watered, so that leaves don't fall on the floor where Bingley and Magic might ingest them. I have no Mistletoe this year, but it, too, is a deadly poison. Then, there are substances like chocolate, which flood our homes during this season, but which can be deadly to our canine and feline companions. Every time you bring something novel into your home, think about its potential impact on your pets. And as cheery as a lighted Christmas Tree is in your front window, don't leave your tree lights on when you are away from home. Your pet can chew on a wire and create a hazard both to himself and to your house. And since I am deeply into Grinch territory, I might as well go all the way and remind you that it is not a good idea to give a live animal as a Christmas gift. Of course, you would never dream of "surprising" someone with a puppy or kitten, for whom the recipient is totally unprepared! But it is also true that most homes are too much out of regular routine during the holidays to provide a calm setting in which the new family member can make an optimal adjustment. Wait until "normal" is re-established after New Year's to bring your dog or cat, puppy or kitten home. Finally, a gift suggestion for the recipient who has everything. Why not make a donation in their name to a rescue. If you don't have a favorite rescue, consult the list on the right hand side of the screen. And that's not a "Grinchy" suggestion, but goes to the heart of giving. Do choose a rescue that is involved with the actual rescue and placement of homeless pets. (Hint: although their advertisements lead you to believe otherwise, the United States Humane Society does NOT act as an actual rescue.) Give to a local organization that you can check out personally.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Here She Is!

Wasn't I right? Isn't she the living, breathing definition of adorable? And she needs a home. Email me at portiasmom at live dot com if you have room in your heart and home for this little darling.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Absolutely Adorable!

If I figure out how to post her picture, I will do it. But believe me, this little dog who is looking for a home is the operational definition of adorable. Her rescuers think she is a Lhasa Apso Poodle mix. She is a soft cafe au lait color with fluffy hair that doesn't look like it sheds. Spayed and about six pounds. You couldn't find a sweeter companion. If you want to give this darling a home, email me. portiasmom at live dot com.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week Two

It's never encouraging when you leave off a dog for what you think is a routine procedure, and when you return, the receptionist says, "The doctor wants to speak with you." That's what happened when we went to pick up Bingley from his bandage change on Saturday. The problem was that the skin on his paw under the bandage still looked "rough" and the possibility of an infection was high. So we needed to up the anti-biotic dosage and return for another bandage change on Monday (today). Just in case my anxiety over the possible side-effects of more anti-biotic was not sufficiently high, it was mentioned that if Bingley's skin under the bandage did not improve, we would be looking at an "open splint" healing. Visions of struggles with an e-collar, sleepless nights, waking repeatedly to check if Bingley was busy removing his splint, filled my fervid brain. To top it all, his new bandage--complete with festive Christmas Tree cutout-- was too large to fit into the wonderful heavy-duty IV drip baggie that had served us so well the prior week. I do envy positive thinkers. As we took Bingley home, I contemplated worst case scenarios. What if an infection got started in his paw? What if the infection moved into the broken toe? How would I cope with the intestinal fallout--my new euphemism for raging diarrhea--from the increased dosage of anti-biotic? How could I Jerry-rig a protective baggie that would last an entire walk? Over the weekend, we learned that conventional zip lock baggies barely last a walk, and a large amount of paper tape has to be used to keep them on. Bingley went from two anti-biotic capsules a day to three, with as much Pepto Bismol as I could force down his throat. I fretted a lot. Today, we returned for another bandage change.Thank Heavens, there is a noticeable improvement in the skin on Bingley's paw. I can keep him at three anti-biotic capsules--rather than upping the dosage to four, and we don't have to return for another bandage change until Friday--four days instead of the two or three that we were originally told. He wore a regular zip-lock baggie home from the vet's, but I have a new IV variety that I'm hoping will fit. I'll try it before his next outing. Rain is predicted for Thursday,which will bring its own challenges. But, as my mother used to say "Sufficient unto the day (is the evil thereof.)" So we have now ticked off the second week of Bingley's little toe recovery. (The only thing "little" about it is the identification of the toe he broke.) And I keep telling myself: This is a finite process.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Week One

Having dogs in one's home is much like having toddlers--especially with dogs like Bingley who enjoy toys and leave them scattered all over the living room and dining room floors. But, when a dog is sick or injured, the concept of dog as very young child can rise to a whole new level. It's always a little stunning to come home from the vet's with a dog woozy from sedation and a little bag full of medications to be given in precisely the proper amount at the proper times. For example, Bingley has a liquid anti-inflammatory that must be extracted from the bottle via syringe, with markings for weight on its side. Mastering how the top of this bottle opens was a challenge. But, after a few days, I have learned the drill and Bingley is receiving his anti-inflammatory in the proper amount at the proper time. "Bagging" his bandage for walks was another matter. I assumed (wrongly) that rain was the only moisture that required his bandage to be bagged in order to keep it dry. But, evidently, just walking on damp grass compromises the bandage's proper degree of dryness. This was discovered when his first bandage was changed on Saturday. But--bless my wonderful vet's team--Bingley was outfitted with a super strong plastic bag, complete with torn panty-hose tie, which he now sports every time he sticks his nose out of doors. It was also discovered that he had not been put on an anti-biotic, so that was rectified. And, with Bingley's delicate tummy, you can imagine the result. Diarrhea! I'm being generous with the Pepto, but it's very touch and go--mostly go. At 1:45 this morning, Bingley woke me up with a pleading whimper. I staggered around, pulled a long coat over my nighty, bagged his bandage, hooked up his harness and leash and discovered, yes, indeed, he was desperate. When we returned, Miss Magic was awake and made it clear that she, too, had to be walked. I really worked on trying to be grateful that my dogs let me know their needs rather than just relieving themselves in the house. The complication is that the recent rains have made the backyard a mud flat and I cannot let Bingley out there because I can't clean off his paws when he is lacking one paw to balance himself. Today, rain is predicted, but later in the week, we are supposed to start a sunny, dry period. Hope, hope hope. I'm marking off the weeks. Two weeks of anti-biotic. Seven more weeks of splint, bandage and bagging. As my research adviser kept reminding me when I was designing, running the study, and writing my dissertation, "This is a finite process." I keep reminding myself of that.