August 26, 2019

Stella Had Unexpected Surgery At Noon

Today started like any other morning. Up at sunrise, now taking Stella walks before I even make coffee. She was highly energetic on the walk, her typical self. No signs of any kind that anything was wrong. Yet bloodhounds have a very high pain threshold and don't recognize pain in most cases. So we finished the walk, came home, made coffee and watched the morning skies.

She was laying by my chair sleeping during the first cup of coffee. Nothing out of the ordinary. Even when she raised her head up to lick her rear paw I didn't think anything of it.

Looking closer as she licked I was seeing blood. Not enough blood that it was running onto the patio but enough to be noticeable. While leaning over her to get a closer look, it looked like a cut between her pads on her right rear paw. I did see a growth there above her pads on the inside of her foot but I had seen that before. It had been there quite a while.

Looking up the vet office hours, they were not going to be open for another 2 hours and as long as it was not bleeding all over my floor I didn't feel it was an emergency but was something that a vet needed to look at instead of me just trying to stop the bleeding. Having it get infected was my main concern.

I got an answer at 8:02am when I called checking to see if there were any available appointments as soon as this morning. This would be the first time I would use this vet, walking distance from the house. That wasn't the main reason to use them. They are known to be the best vet in town. She had to wait for the doctor to arrive and would call me back to let me know when they could see Stella.

Now that it's cooler later in the morning, Heidi is spending more time outside roaming the back yard as if it were all green grass.

They had an opening at 9:20 ... we were on our way. Only to find out within the 5 minutes it took us to get there the doctor was in emergency surgery so Stella laid down in the waiting room. Yes, I thought she may have stepped on an infamous goathead thorn. That would be something I could take care of but this looked much worse than that plus she did not yelp this morning if she had stepped on a thorn nor limped.

After a doctor's thorough examination she found out it was not a cut in her pad but that growth had gotten large enough where Stella was putting her weight on it when she walked as if it were a paw pad. This is the same growth I had the other vet look at in June during Stella's annual shots and even asked them if they thought it should be removed ... they answered no.

That other vet will have it's own separate post after what I found out this morning. I am sure that any of you, like my friend in Chicago, that has used a vet under the VCA corporate tag already know what I am going to say and may have even had the same experience.

If you look at the photo above at the inside of her right rear paw you can see that growth. It is above ground level. This was taken last spring when we lived in Indiana.

Again looking at the inside of her right paw that growth is still above the floor, not touching it and I don't see where Stella is putting any of her weight on the growth. This was right after we moved in June and a day before she went to the VCA Vet - Apache Animal Hospital.

Looking at this photo I took just 15 days ago I should have noticed just how much bigger the growth had become and in fact it looks like it is at ground level when she is standing as if it was an extra pad. Looking at this photo this morning I cannot believe I didn't notice the change in size. The thing is, it does not and did not have the same tough rough skin as a paw pad so this morning it was raw and bleeding after her walk.

You have to look close but this photo shows that growth inside her right rear paw. Still I cannot believe I did not notice the change in it on the August 11th photo above. This photo was taken just a few days ago.

We were directed that all walks were cancelled until further notice. She would be given some antibiotics with plans for removing the growth sometime this week, or ASAP. They were booked up solid for surgeries so that date was an estimate. Stella will be doing a lot of daily morning whining if she doesn't get that walk and I joked with the doctor about that.

So we headed in the waiting area until they gave us the bill for today, some antibiotics and a possible appointment to have that growth removed. With four receptionist working at the front desk and a LOT of vet techs in the building working I could see just how popular this place was. It was non-stop traffic with patients going to and from.

Well the news came ... they could do the removal today if I wanted it done. I was then given a line by line explanation of everything that surgery would entail, before and during. For the first time that I can remember in the 32 years I've had hounds ... I was told how many people would be in the operating room and that two techs would be monitoring her heart at all times. Each line on the estimate was described in detail with reasons why they were doing each thing.

She will NOT like wearing that famous white cone around her neck for 7-10 days, until the healing process is finished. Another option is the inflatable donut as a substitute. I actually saw one of those on a German Shepherd the other day on my bike ride. The dog and owner were just coming out of the dog path onto the country road as I rounded the corner.

I doubt that Stella will be happy wearing that option either.

Since her last food was at 5am this morning they wanted to wait another couple of hours until they sedated her for surgery. So that would put it a little past noon and they will call me between 2pm-5pm to pick her up after a 5-10 minute surgery to remove the growth. The growth will be examined to see if it is cancerous. 

Blood work will be done before surgery just to make sure that everything is working normal inside her. The vet was very happy with her weighing only 84 pounds and said she was the best looking, and in shape bloodhound she had seen. The whole staff loved her of course when we walked in. They all needed to pet her and were not concerned with any kind or amount of bloodhound drool they might receive. 

They discussed and listed on the estimate so many things that I can't remember some of the other things they would be checking before and during surgery.

Last week as Stella and I was finishing our morning walk with a trip to the mailbox which is in a cluster of other boxes around the turn and down the block from the house, a lady walking through the neighborhood stopped to pet Stella. Without knowing me or the dog she offered to dog sit anytime I needed her to. Stella is shy when she first meets people and will not come close to them at first ... until curiosity wins out.

This morning as I rolled my oversize city provide trash can to the curb from the garage, Stella followed me and stood in the driveway watching what I was doing. She was unleashed since it was very early and no traffic. Who do we see but the lady we met last week. Only this time she had two small dog treats in her hand to give Stella who walked right up to her. (food) The other bone was for Heidi who she has not met yet.

There are friendly people in this neighborhood and many of them have more than one dog.

So ... I will post any updates I might have on Stella's surgery. I have no doubt that everything will be good and she will come home a little dazed but happy to be home. I am not sure what we can do about the large white cone she will come with. Yet at 10 years old and the word surgery ... there is that little twinge  of "what if" hits your brain cells. Especially when they explain that as I sign off or initial off on the waivers for surgery.

I could tell the house was already too quiet when I returned this morning. It is only Heidi and me and she went back to sleep as soon as she was finished exploring the yard. Stella is quiet during the times she is in the house but it seems even quieter than normal.

Note: 12:39pm -- I thought I had posted this earlier but found it in my 'draft' folder when I went to post this update. The vet office just called and said Stella was doing fine and just coming out of anesthesia. They said I could pick her up at 2pm. 

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