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Posts tagged ‘out of hours vet’

Screwed

In the litany of injury, Jed’s cracked dew claw went nearly unnoticed.

A couple of weeks ago, Jed and I were walking the Pipeline Track off Mountain Road. Jed skidded after his tennis ball and somersaulted into a rock, finishing up with a yelp. He appeared to limp a couple of paces, so I checked his foot.

There was no damage to the pad; when I palpated his paw, he just licked my face; so I investigated between his toes where he likes to store burrs even though they irritate the sensitive skin. There was no evidence of injury. Whatever the problem was, it didn’t stop Jed firing himself down the track after his ball, or impede his lifelong mission to nibble every blade of grass ON THE PLANET.

Afterwards, I was towelling mud off him and he flinched when I rubbed his foreleg. Looking closer, I saw his dew claw had splintered. Apart from slurping at it every now and then, it didn’t seem to bother him much, so I wasn’t concerned. Husband suggested taping up the claw; perhaps we should have done. But I just figured it would, um, grow out.

On New Year’s Day, we were woken by a high-pitched whine. Jed was obviously distressed; he paced around the bedroom, flung himself on the floor, rose again immediately, whined at the door. It was so long after the dew claw incident it never occurred to us that was the problem – until I noticed it sticking out at right angles. Although the claw was still attached, it was sheared right back to the bone; he must have caught it on something (maybe his teeth).

This is the dog who, after leaping off a six foot high sandbank and landing on his head, barely broke stride in his mission to retrieve his tennis ball. However, this time Jed was in a great deal of pain. He couldn’t get comfortable. A couple of times he attempted to lick his dew claw, but it was too tender. He yelped every time an air molecule brushed up against it. We tried to make him sit to assess the damage, but he retreated under the dining room table and refused to come out.

I have no problem with pain and can take it in my stride – so long as it’s not mine. My POINT is, I don’t get precious about my dog barfing, cutting himself, or peeing blood; but I felt sick at the sight of the gruesome angle of Jed’s claw and his obvious distress.

Husband was all for lopping the claw with our cheap, crappy, largely broken pair of dog clippers. In his defence, this is the same man who punched a hole through his lower lip with his tooth and wanted to put a couple of stitches in. Himself. I had to flush the sewing kit down the loo to deter him. If Andrew’s arm fell off, he would no doubt attempt to staple it back on if the hospital was more than 5 minutes drive away. Also assuming he could find the stapler – or fish it out of the U-bend.

All I’m saying is: Husband would not visit any sadism on his dog that he wouldn’t turn on himself and call masochism.

While The Butcher of Waitakere was distracted trying to locate the dog clippers, I called various local vet clinics. I wasn’t expecting much joy, since the entire country was closed from 1-5 January. However, one of the automatic voicemail systems supplied the telephone number of an out of hours clinic at 348 Rosebank Road (09-8207273).

“Well, a broken dew claw is not really considered an emergency,” said the nurse on the phone. “But it is incredibly painful for the animal. The emergency consultation fee is $125.”

“Hey, this website says the vet just rips it out with a pair of pliers,” said Andrew. “I have a pair of pliers downst-”

“No!” I said, grittily.

Of course Husband was just as concerned about his dog as I. In fact, the Swanson clinic was open the following morning, but Andrew opted to bring Jed to the out of hours clinic. But I have a feeling The Butcher of Waitakere is going to stick – at least if I have anything to do with it.

The vet advised putting Jed under general anaesthetic. He said a local involved an injection right by the claw which would be too painful – although I think he was referring to the possibility of Jed chomping on him.

“Did the vet give you an estimate?” asked the nurse. I was so anxious about our puppy I barely even heard the DONG! When I replied in the negative, she scrawled ‘No estimate provided’ across the consent form; evidently, I wouldn’t have noticed even had she beaten me savagely with the warning bell’s clapper.

When we returned to collect him two hours later, despite being groggy, Jed dragged me into the waiting room. I knew he was ok when we thought we might have to ask the vet to surgically remove Jed’s nose from a border collie’s butt.

$420.

That was the total of the itemised bill including five different types of drug: sedatives, anaesthetic and painkillers.

But even though I feel totally suckered, whenever I see Jed bounding after a tennis ball I can’t help feeling it was worth it.

I know, I know.

I AM a sucker.

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Canine hypochondria

Jed is generally pretty hardy – not that he has much choice. He is used to being slung down the stairs, getting his ears slammed in the car door and being dropped on his head.

We might redress our rugged approach to dog rearing if Jed himself didn’t regularly head butt trees, slide along gravel on his face, and pass clothes pegs and entire Meccano sets out his rectum.

Recently, Jed has been testing the outer limits of his existence – along with the tensile strength of our nerves. About three days before Christmas, we accompanied our neighbours Big Al and Action Man, their daughter, Luscious, and their dog, Smurfy, to Bethell’s Beach. Jed loves the sea, to the extent that he will insist on swallowing gallons of the stuff. His digestive system is evidently an industrial machine, capable of processing a vast range of objects (see above). However, it appears to simply collect seawater, compress it, then fire it explosively out his arse.

After two hours tearing up and down the beach, Jed had an impressive case of projectile diarrhoea. This being pretty standard, we took him back to the creek and encouraged him to drink more freshwater.

Halfway home, he boked all over the car. We were thankful he wasn’t standing between us in the two front seats. On the other hand, we wouldn’t have minded had he adopted his favourite position with his head out the back window.

We pulled over to bail out the boot, which was awash with water, driftwood, seaweed, sand and small crustaceans

Thankfully Jed suffered no further ill effects from the drink, but the following day he was out biking with Husband and grazed the pad on his paw. Andrew called from the beginning of the Sharpe Track, and I embarked on an emergency rescue mission – i.e. I drove down the road and picked them up. Jed’s paw was fine after we sprayed some antibiotic on it.

But all this was just prelude to the real Eddie the Eagle stuntage. On Christmas Day, in order to embrace the traditions of our adoptive land, we decided to follow the rest of the country to the beach.

Jed usually mounts the Hilux Surf via the back door. Since the back seats have been up since my parents arrived, Jed now leaps into his diminished boot space via the tailgate. We give him a good run-up to the car, putting him in a sit/stay a few metres away, then cheering him into the boot.

Perhaps he got carried away by the crowd fervour, because this time he took off from about two metres away.

His front paws hit the target, but he wrapped his hind quarters around the tailgate, giving himself an atomic wedgie. The men gave a collective wince. As Jed’s front paws slid off the tailgate, the look of bewilderment in his eyes clearly said, “I had no concept life could be this cruel”.

We didn’t realise he had hurt himself until we arrived at the beach, when we found he had weed blood all over the boot.

You will be glad to hear that he was just badly bruised; bloody wee is apparently a common response to a bang in the balls (I wouldn’t know; I read it somewhere). Jed’s little dickie is now back to normal.

I wish I could say the same about our car boot, but despite detaching the carpeting and water-blasting, Vanishing and extensively airing it, it still gives off an aroma that is less than fresh.

Then on New Year’s Day, we had to bring Jed to the out of hours vet clinic for an emergency operation.

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