the epic adventures of kelly’s butt (TMI)

This week has been all about Kelly’s butt.

In case you missed it, she had two abscessed (not impacted) anal glands.  After having them drained, and over a week of oral and topical antibiotics, they were not better because they were so deep, and the vet offered us two choices.  One, we could have her sedated and have the wounds packed, or two we could have the glands removed.

Angst, angst.

After a lengthy discussion with the vet, and some internet research, (which sources backed each other up, mostly) I learned that this is mostly a problem with little dogs, particularly overweight ones, or ones inclined to have loose stools.  Kelly is one pound over her ideal weight, and she poops rocks.  Seriously.  I never worry when she refuses to go out due to weather, because her poo is a matter of a single tissue to clean up.

However, this gives me nowhere to go with alternative treatments.  She doesn’t have that much weight to lose, and she hardly needs more fiber in her diet.  It’s one kind of surgery or the other.  The wound-packing procedure is one half as expensive as the gland removal, and it’s likely that it would have to be done again.  Often, according to the vet, three times a year until infinity.

On the other hand, removing the glands might leave her with nerve damage and bowel incontinence, either temporary (almost definitely) or permanent (not likely but still possible).

Well, see. I have had an abscess packed.  It is the worst pain I have ever experienced.  Literally blinding, literally screaming.  Agony.  And the surgeon’s tray afterward looked like something from the set of MASH.

I voted for the more expensive (in the short term) procedure that will be OVER with.  She will not have to go through having her asswounds packed over and over and over again…especially since there will doubtless come a time when we don’t have the cash for that.  Mr Moth agreed.

Never has it so infuriated me that I have no one to pray to–someday I will no doubt post on this topic, but today isn’t the day.

So I dropped Kelly off on Thursday.  Zor stayed with Cobie.  I spoke briefly with the head vet, who is also the surgeon.  A lot of people have told me that he is arrogant and overpriced, but I find him confident and…well, it’s kind of like how, when you need a lawyer you want the obnoxious shark who graduated top of his class at Harvard.  Except he doesn’t ever strike me as obnoxious.  As long as he really is as good as he thinks he is.

Pretty much any reasonably competent veterinarian can treat a broken toenail (Kelly’s last year’s medical drama), but for surgery near an important rectal nerve, you want someone very good.

One of the things we touched on was how I can de-sensitize her to going there, once she is better.  She is understandably developing a resistance to her harness, the van, and the vet’s office.

Still, walking out of there without her was so damn hard.  Nothing like leaving Cobie to have his ‘nads removed.  I was practically waltzing that day, because he was so horrible, biting and mauling and chomping me…and I was getting a break.

He sure has changed.

I took Zor to school/work…and Cobie rode along, because he is so jealous when I take Kelly places without him.  He doesn’t understand, of course.  But taking him on a long car ride was a roll of the dice, because in his younger days he always got violently carsick on any ride longer than a trip to the vet or the dog park.  On this day, however, he didn’t get sick.  And he was so excited!

Maybe he didn’t get sick because, since Kelly had to be NPO after midnight, so was he.

When we got home he was completely befuddled.  I suspect he thought he was going with me to go get Kelly.  I tried to play with him.  He fetched his ballistic boomerang exactly once, and then put it carefully and gently on the end table where Kelly stands to look out the big front window.

Not a very good shot, but:

Ever since I took down the vertical blinds and put up curtains to cut the glare on the television, there’s never enough good light in that room for photographs.  Anyway…

Late in the afternoon it was time to go pick up Kelly.  I had to leave Cobie at home by himself to do it, and I was worried, but he lay on the sofa like a big lump and barely raised his head to watch me go out.  Mind you, he was always good about staying home alone before we got Kelly, but that was (holy smokes) three years ago.

The vet’s was packed with people.  This one guy kept trying to do that Caesar Millan “touch” on his dog and he was doing it way too hard.  I wanted to touch him myself…in his eye…with my fist.  I couldn’t believe no employee said anything to him.  Maybe they couldn’t see exactly what he was doing because of the counter.  I bet that’s it.  I couldn’t say anything, because I was afraid I’d end up in jail, and who would take care of Kelly if I followed this jackass home, slashed his tires, and stole his dog?

I’d better not see him again.  I may not be able to contain myself.

So Kelly looked a mess.  Her butt was (is) shaved, and there was still some blood.  She was lunging and thrashing in the loop-style leash trying to get, not to me, but away.  Out of here!!  I couldn’t get her harness on.  I ended up carrying her to the van, along with our plastic baggie of medicine and an elizabethan collar the size of half a tire.

She huddled on the back seat while I drove through rush hour traffic, ridiculously thankful that the day’s snow could never work up enough enthusiasm to actually stick.

Ok, so dog is home.  She is not allowed to lick her butt, or drag it.  She won’t stop licking it.  So we have to put the collar on so we can like, yanno…sleep.  Except it won’t stay on.  Mr Moth drank two beers and is crabby about staying up.  I am crabby about the fact that he can’t stay up because he drank two beers.

Beer is never an excuse for anything.  I hate beer.  Beer enrages me.  And when I say enrage, I’m talking genuine rage.  This is not hyperbole, dammit.  I HATE BEER.  Just so you know.

So he went to bed and I propped my eyelids open with toothpicks so I can go, “Kelly, no.  Kelly, leave it.  Kelly stop it.”  Which apparently I have to do (by myself) non-stop for two weeks, which is how long until the sutures come out.

And how the hell am I going to go back to school?  Will I have to hire someone to watch her?

Finally it occurs to me to zipstrip the damn thing to her regular collar, and to cinch that collar up so tight…because I know I’ve mentioned it before, but Kelly’s neck is bigger than her head.  That’s why she has to wear a harness.  In order for a collar to stay on, it has to be in strangle mode.  Ugh.  But I desperately need to sleep.  And I can’t have her ripping her stitches out.

Photo, taken the next day.  Note the zipstrip sticking out:

It is so huge it protrudes beyond the end of her nose.  She can’t get a drink or eat anything with it on.  She spends two hours trying to get out of it.  She backs off furniture.  She got her claws caught in the snap holes.  She whined nonstop.

She kept trying to lie next to Cobie.  He kept getting up and moving.  I wanted to bawl, I felt so bad for her.

Finally she passed out in the corner of the sectional.  And, finally, so did I.

Next day I spent on the sofa, as seen in the above picture, watching nothing on TV, because every time she caught me not looking directly at her, she dragged her butt.  Mr Moth, when called upon to watch her, insisted she had not been dragging her butt because he had not seen her dragging her butt.


It’s probably hard to see an upstairs dog drag her butt when you’re, yanno…downstairs.

I ran my phone battery dead twice researching alternatives to e-collars.  In between trying to drag her butt, she lay around like life had become too much of a burden.  She couldn’t go down the two steps to the garage to go out, so I took the damn cone off, and BOING!  Old Kelly back in an instant.  Bouncy, bounce, whee whee!  Then of course, I had to put it back on so she’d stop trying to chew her heinie.

Finally, when it was time to collect Zor from work (she had been home and gone again; thankfully Friday was Mr Moth’s day off) I (with many misgivings, since he didn’t believe she needed to be watched because he had not seen her drag her butt, even though I had repeatedly told him I had seen her do it repeatedly, and so had Zor) went to collect her and to stop by PetSmart and buy an inflatable donut collar.

It cost–holy smoke–thirty dollars.  (I also bought some Nature’s Miracle pet stain remover and a hamster bottle, because Algernon’s has been leaking like crazy.)  Anyway, Here’s Kelly, modeling the collar:

Does she like it?  No.  Does she like it better than the cone?  Yes.  She can drink.  She can eat.  She can navigate steps.  It attaches to her regular collar without zip strips.  She has a thirteen inch neck, and the medium goes up to thirteen inches.  Amazing that a 16 pound dog can almost wear a large, huh?  Miss bull neck.

What she can’t do is scratch her face or neck or ears, so when she comes up to me, I make sure to give her a full rubbing over.

Oh, the other thing she can do in this collar?  Chase Oliver.  He’d been going up to her and sticking his face down her cone.  I could almost hear him whispering Nyahh nyahh…  Because Oliver’s a bastard that way.

She can also jump on and off the sofa, get in the window and bark, and find cookies I have pitched into the yard.

Things were looking up.  Then, like the colossal dumbass I am, I gave both dogs their heartworm pill.

Let the diarrhea begin.

Which is how Saturday became the worst day so far.  Poor Kelly, leaking from her butt, not allowed to lick it (but she can almost–almost–reach it, which nearly causes her to do cartwheels with trying), not allowed to drag it.

Me, trying to watch like a hawk and clean up runny doggy doo from the house and her backside.

Lesson:  If you ever have a dog’s anal glands removed, give them their heartworm treatement before, even if that makes it a little early, or after, even if that makes it a little late.  If it’s skeeter season, I’d go with before, but it’s snowing here.  I should have waited.

Thankfully the runny poostorm passed by the next morning.  She still has this issue where little poos just kind of fall out at random times, and they are not as rocklike as before, but they are not tremendously difficult to clean up, either.  I can handle this.  The only issue is keeping her butt clean when I’m not allowed to scrub at it.  Might as well let her drag it as scrub on it, right?

I try soaking it, but you can only soak a terrier’s ass for just so long before she loses patience.  As a result, well…it could be cleaner.  Could be worse, too…

Anyhow, that’s where we are.  Picking up arbitrarily dropped poos and soaking the dog’s butt with wet rags.  Other than that, and the unreachable and thus unscratchable ear-itches, and her frustration at being able to keep herself clean by either licking or dragging, Kelly seems more or less her usual self, personality-wise.

And Cobie?  A saint.  Apart from not really wanting to cuddle up to the plastic cone, he has not bullied or blustered or reacted to her in any way different from how he always has done.  Truth be told, I was a little worried about this; when they remove a dog’s anal glands, they remove his or her identity in the doggy world.  When they buttsniff, that’s what they’re sniffing.  But he’s been perfectly ok with it.  Perhaps a little more affectionate than usual, even.

He hasn’t even tried to lick her.

They’re good dogs.


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