Thursday, May 1, 2008

e-collar Escapades and Pet First Aid

Where to start? Yesterday Ike’s Soft-e collar arrived which was great since I was supposed to take the bandage off Tuesday night (and hadn’t for fear of what he would do to his foot).

Ike had a chiro appointment at 6:45 so my plan was to take the bandage off, try the new collar, practice weaves with Carmen, and go to Ike’s appointment.

At first Ike was great with the new collar, that lasted less than five minutes. :D Then he easily got at his foot, as Katrin and someone on my performance schnauzer list suggested he would. Then I put the e-collar and the soft-e collar on him. Success!! He couldn’t get at his foot. Slowly he got more and more frantic until he was hyperventilating. Okay, I continued to watch, reserving judgement re: his panic…..and then he got at his foot. He had both front paws OFF the ground and was twisted around so that he was balancing on the hip of his good foot. Talk about a determined dog. So, the soft-e collar came off and I put him in the front seat of the car instead of his crate for the trip to see Dr. Anne. I figured that way I could keep an eye on him and make sure he didn’t get to that footie!

And yes, Carmen was neglected and didn’t practice her weaves. : ( Bad handler/student!

I called the vet’s office en route to the chiropractor and they were kind of surprised that Ike is being such a nudge about his foot. They thought that his desire to want to get at it should have decreased by this point and suggested I might want to see about having the staples taken out this week versus next Wednesday. I spoke with Dr. Young and she said she could prescribe an anti-inflammatory or as a last resort a sedative. I told her he was much better with the foot bandaged and if it was okay to keep it bandaged I would do so. She recommended spraying the bandage and his foot (not the incision) with some bitter apple, and taking the bandage off nightly so that the air can get at the incision.

So, I am returning the soft-e collar and keeping Ike’s foot bandaged during the day. Dr. Anne also recommended calendula cream to apply to the incision, which should help with the itchiness.

When I got home I gave Ike his “Welcome Home” treat, which last night was a piece of dehydrated apple. I was in the kitchen and the next thing I hear is John commenting that Ike is trying to get the e-collar off. Well, some lizard aspect of my brain knew something the conscious me did not. I rushed into the living room and took off the e-collar. Ike immediately started pawing at his open mouth. Sh!t. This is called choking. I swept my hand through his mouth, nothing obvious.

Two years ago I took a Pet First Aid course offered at the shelter I taught at. I figured if I was going to be working with other peoples’ dogs I better know what to do in an emergency. One of the things they teach you in the Red Cross Pet First Aid course is how to do the Heimlich on dogs (both 30# and under and larger). I picked Ike up, turned him upside down with his back flat against my front and compressed his abdomen. Nothing. Crap, crap, crap. I put him down and started to do the 30# plus version (which entails lifting the dog hind legs up so there is a natural downward angle, you compress the abdomen and theoretically whatever is causing the choking will fly out). Nothing – what the heck!

Ike is again pawing wildly at his mouth – jaws as wide as they will go, paws actually in his mouth, rearing up on his hind legs. I get my hand in his mouth and down his throat. I feel a hard edge. Yes. I moved it slightly but didn’t “get” it. But it was enough – Ike started to dry-heave and then pawing at his mouth ensues again. Argh! This time the piece is lodged in the roof of his mouth. THANK GODS. It probably took a minute, maybe two but I have never been more afraid that I was going to lose my dog than I was last night. Afterward I sat on the floor with Ike feeling like *I* was going to puke and cry. Ike was not surprisingly, very sedate.

The moral of this story is a Pet First Aid course is well worth the three hours of your life and $60 it costs. John has agreed to take it, especially in light of the fact that we will be adding another dog to our home and have frequent houseguests. Of course, as my FIL noted, you can know what to do but that doesn’t mean you will be able to do it when you need to. Thank gods my lizard brain is in working order!!


K9-CRAZY said...

You've used up all your "heart attack" moments for your lifetime! Or at least the year!

Blue said...

That's so scary! I'm so glad you knew what to do and Ike is ok.

Katrin said...

Oh damn dog!! So you call me to vent about him pulling the stiches out but not this??!! good lord woman!

Glad he is ok!!!!

ann & partner said...

Oh Julie, What a terrible time. I'm sure you must feel drained. Thank goodness you had the training and were able to think straight. I'm so glad Ike is alright. He really can't help being so difficult while in pain. Ike's a male and we all know males don't suffer well by themselves!!

Jules and Ike said...

Ann, I forgot about that - it's so TRUE!!!

Yes, Ike doesn't realize that prolonged stress really isn't that good for the brain.