Our Dogs, Nate and Lucky, have trouble with the hot, dry Summer we experience here in the Cariboo District of BC. It makes them itch; hence there is much scratch, scratch, scratching going on. There is much banging as their elbows hit the floor during a particularly delicious scratch.
We treat their coats with a drop or two of insect repellent...one that will fight off Ticks and Mosquitoes and it works fairly well. But somehow, somewhere...Nate received a big bite from one of the flying bombers last year, on the back of his neck. Or so we thought...
He couldn't scratch it...it was situated perfectly in the middle of the upper neck, almost right behind his head but in front of his collar. It looked a little odd, all bulbous and round. I knew we could have a mess once it popped, if it ever did.
Years ago, our family had a dog called Roscoe. He had an insect bite which blew up into a bubble very like Natey's. It was situated on his inner thigh...not visible unless one was brushing or bathing or drying him with a towel after one of Roscoe's many dips into the Lake.
Because Roscoe could reach it, he took care of it himself. The lump eventually drained, he would clean it...and then leap into whatever body of Water happened to be nearby. The combination of his cleansing of the wound and the River or Lake Water eventually healed it, although I like to think the herbal salves and antiseptics I used on him had something to do with it.
When we first noticed Natey's lump, I thought it looked much the same as the one Roscoe had. It didn't seem to bother him...it didn't appear to be itchy or painful. The lump stayed static for the longest time...we would bathe it with antiseptics and made sure the area was clean, but since it didn't bother him, we left it alone.
As an old farm girl, I am accustomed to using old tried and true home remedies on my pets. During my youth, in the small town I lived in, there was no vet available. We relied on ourselves and our knowledge of herbs and salves and antiseptics when it came to dealing with our animals.
But when Natey's lump burst and drained, and all our remedies did not work, it was time to realize I was in the 21st century...and there were veterinarians available.
After scaring myself silly looking on the internet regarding lumps and bumps on Dogs and what they could be, Graham made an appointment with a vet. The idea of taking Nate to a vet took longer because Nate is a big Dog who suffers from arthritis. Getting him into a car could be painful for both Nate and me, since I also have problems with arthritis and chronic pain. And...there was the not so small problem of Nate's great dislike of Cats and small white Dogs.
There are often many Cats and small white Dogs in a vet's office.
Nate has a memory like an Elephant. He was only a Puppy when a Cat decided to take a swipe at a tender nose; yet he has never forgotten the insult. The small white Dog...well, it was actually Lucky, his kennel mate, who was frightened completely silly by a small, white Poodle, when he was a very young puppy. Lucky would shiver and shake each time he was near a Dog who was small and white...and Nate decided it was up to him to defend his friend. I believe Lucky outgrew his fear, but Nate has not outgrown his protection of Lucky.
The fact that Lucky is a fair bit bigger than Nate matters not at all...to Nate, Lucky is still small, afraid and in need of defence.
And so, it was Graham who took Nate to the vet's office, one early morning a week ago. Graham is stronger than I; it was a good thing he took him in since the vet's office was indeed full of Cats and small, white Dogs. But strength on Graham's part and perhaps the fact Nate is ageing and becoming more mellow allowed the appointment to go on without incident.
The vet proclaimed his weeping lump to be a "wart gone wrong". A wart?
After all the Dogs I've had the pleasure to live with, none had ever had a wart. I didn't know Dogs could get warts.
But indeed they can. It was rather a grisly subject I researched on the Internet after hearing the news about Nate. Some Dogs even get them in their mouths...and the photos accompanying the articles made me think Nate's wart was hardly anything to worry about.
The vet wanted to operate and take the wart off. She proclaimed it to be infected, which it may have been, since Nate was now rolling in mud. He'd been rolling in Snow up till now, but Spring comes to the Cariboo eventually, melting Snow and leaving mud behind.
Another appointment was made for the operation and Nate once more made the trip into the vet's office, where Graham left him. Lucky, who had been left at home, of course, moped and looked as if we had done him a great injustice. He wouldn't drink or eat; his best buddy was not with him. This situation may have reminded him of the time the two were separated, when we moved here.
I understand the vet operated on Nate under sedation, rather than a full-blown anaesthetic. We requested Nate's nails be cut, since he won't let anyone near his feet. Even under sedation, Nate fought mightily against having his nails cut. Why would a Dog fight against this so hard? In all our time with him, never once has the quick in his nails ever been cut, and he was a very young Pup when he arrived into the family. He will not even allow us to hold his paws. It is a conundrum.
Nate came home with a six-inch scar running from his shoulder to the middle of his neck. Much of his hair in the same area has been shaved. He is rather proud of his perceived war wound and knows he has to take antibiotics for the previous infection. He will come to me when it is time for them...but I feel he probably desires the bit of wiener in which the pill is hidden more than the antibiotic pill.
I have done much reading on dog warts over the past few days. Nate's first diagnosis has not been corroborated with the vet, as yet. I imagine we will know exactly what it was when the stitches are removed.
The Internet has many stories about these disorders which can really raise anxiety. On the other hand, I have learned some remedies for warts in dogs...Vitamin E or castor oil can be rubbed on the wart, Vitamin C and Vitamin A can be given for the Dogs various immunity protections, and then there are surgical removals, electrocautery and cryosurgery.
An interesting part of my research is the idea Dogs cannot digest the many grains which are a part of commercial dog food. We feed Nate and Lucky a very expensive Dog meal made of Oatmeal and Fish. It is locally made and is meant to target skin problems. It is a last resort regarding Nate...he either gains weight or his skin becomes very dry with other foods we have tried over his life span. Or he is highly sensitive...as he is to Chicken and to Chicken products.
Now, of course, I am wondering if he can digest the Oatmeal.
I do not recall the Dogs of my youth having many health problems. I remember they were fed on leftovers, bones, and homemade Dog food. Possibly a very unbalanced diet, all around...and yet. They had few, if any, skin or digestive problems, other than the odd flea or two.
Many Dog foods list wheat or corn as the first ingredient in a bag of food. I have read Dogs require a small amount of grains, which they would have received from the stomachs of small prey if they were in the wild. But I wonder if Dogs can really digest as many grains as they are now receiving.
And so I believe I will research a little further and find recipes for homemade Dog food. I met a lady from the UK the other day who does just this. She feeds her brood only meat and vegetables...and not many vegetables, at that. She vehemently believes Dogs are carnivorous and we personalize Dogs when we think they can eat "porridge" as a regular diet.
It seems to make sense to me, when I remember what we fed our Dogs in my youth.
All it needs is a little tweaking in the nutritional department.
And Nate? Well, he's recovering well, albeit he now sports a limp.
A limp which gets worse, when he's in need of sympathy.