Well, my dears, 2012 has started off less than spectacularly.
On or just after Christmas, I noticed a tickle in my throat. For the next week, I'd wake up in the morning with a little pain as well. Nothing too bad and it went away after breakfast, so whatever. Just around the 2nd of the month, I started having random coughs. Then by the 4th, I had some sniffles. I begged this cold to just manifest itself so we could all move on with our lives.
Careful what you wish for. On the 6th, it started going downhill, and I spent the majority of my weekend miserable and/or asleep. Then, I woke up this morning feeling so shitty, I had to call in sick. I work from home, so you know it's bad when I have to call in. I couldn't focus on anything, I was barely coherent, and I'm reasonably certain that even if I managed to function enough to survive the workday, I would probably have to re-do a good portion of it tomorrow anyway (you know, so it would actually make sense).
But enough about me. This post is primarily about my poor puppers. As a warning, things are going to get a little gross. If you don't want to read on, I totally understand. If you read the rest of this, and then say, "Oh, man! WTF, Erika?" just remember that you have no one to blame but yourself.
My dog has a hole in her butt.
OK, that seems obvious, but it's not. Let me rephrase. My dog has an EXTRA hole in her butt. Better?
On Thursday the 5th I was giving Maxi her monthly meds (heartworm pill and flea/tick application). To do the flea/tick stuff, I always sit on the couch, turn her around so her back is to me, and apply the stuff. (For anyone who doesn't know, this type of flea and tick repellent has to be applied along her back, from her neck down to where her tail meets her body.) It can take awhile sometimes, depending on how long ago she last visited the groomer's. She's fairly fluffy right now, but it wasn't too bad.
Anywhoozles, I had noticed her looking a little uncomfortable earlier, and, trying to be a good puppy mama, I lifted up her tail to check out her bum. Many people are unaware, but dogs (and some other mammals) have these little sacs/glands near their anus. The cliff's note version goes something like this:
Dogs produce a secretion that tells other dogs who they are, what they are, etc (thus the whole bum-sniffing ritual). This same secretion can also be used to mark their territory, warning other dogs to back off. This secretion comes from the anal glands, which usually empty when a dog does his or her business, but can also empty randomly (like, if the dog's super stressed).
Unfortunately, sometimes the glands don't empty themselves. At the very first vet appointment after we adopted Maxine, the vet expressed Maxi's glands for her. The smell is putrid. I can't even liken it to anything. If you've never smelled it, count your lucky stars. Anyway, that was back in late 2009, and hadn't been an issue since.
Until last week, when I was looking at her bum going, "Huh... It looks swollen." So, I told Hubby to make a vet appointment for us asap. He wasn't working on Friday, so he made her an appointment for the afternoon. Excellent. I knew she'd need to be expressed, and I was fairly relieved I wouldn't have to be there.
After work, it's almost impossible to do anything without letting Maxine out first. Thursday wasn't like that. "Outside?" I asked her. Nothing. Not good. "Outside, Maxine?" She managed to get up and out of her crate, but then scooted her butt all the way from her crate to the kitchen. This isn't a long distance, mind you, but she has to do a u-turn in the process, so it's a few feet. She wouldn't listen to me when I told her no, so, fine. Away we went.
When she came inside, I decided to be extra careful and I cleaned her up with a baby wipe (she had been getting a rash in the fall, and the vet had suggested baby wipes, so, why not?). And then I freaked out. There was blood on the wipe. I ran to my computer and left Hubby a message. Then I called him and left a voicemail. THEN I texted him and left ANOTHER message. Yes, this was a full-on Riki freakout.
To Google I went, looking up everything I could possibly think of, reading every page I could find. Best I could tell, she had an abscess that had burst, but that didn't make me feel any better. Called Hubby again and finally got a hold of him. He called the vet and we rescheduled for that evening, just about an hour from our call. So, I got dressed, poured Maxi some dinner, and waited. She wouldn't eat. I tried hand feeding her, and she wouldn't take anything. Uggggggh. I was scared out of my mind.
When we finally got to the vet, they tried to tempt her with some canned food (Maxine gets dry food at home) as a treat, but she was completely uninterested. In fact, she actually turned away from it. She always takes treats, even at the vet, so this was a new concept for us. Maxi not hungry? What?
The vet confirmed my suspicion of an abscess resulting from an impacted anal gland, and walked us through what that meant and what we would have to do to take care of her. Essentially, all that fluid builds up in the sac, and if it isn't released in the normal way, it finds another way: it bursts through the skin. Thus, my puppers has an extra hole in her butt. For now, anyway.
Twice a day we have to give her meds and apply ointment in the hole. Yep. In it. Not on it. IN it. Assuming it heals properly, we should be done with this in about a week or so. But if it doesn't heal properly, we're SOL and we get to start the whole thing over again. Joy.
On the plus side, the vet did say that we were lucky it burst today. If it hadn't, the only option would've been to put her under and lance it, which would've been way more expensive than just the shot and meds. I guess that's good, right? He also said it was really good that we got her in that night, so thank goodness for an awesome hubby and an awesome vet!
As soon as we got home, she ate her dinner. Vet said she probably just didn't want to eat because of the pain (and a mild fever), and I don't blame her, but I was so glad she had her appetite back so quickly. She's still not back to her normal, playful self, but she seems to be getting better every day (or, so we hope). Sure, there are some blood stains in the back seat of my car (you should've seen the splattering she did at the vet's office!) and on some towels and her sofa bed, but it's a small price to pay for her to feel better.
So, now that you've made it through that lovely story, here's hoping that 2012 gets better in a jiffy! :)