Friday, February 06, 2004

From my mother

Here's the latest Jackson report straight from an email I received from my mother: --- Jackson has a vet's appointment for next Thursday, February 12th. This coming week will be rather challenging. Now that a constantly painful leg isn't bothering him, he's feeling wonderful! And acting like an enthusiastic puppy. The bulky bandage is off, and he doesn't understand that he needs to be extra careful that he doesn't pull the stitches/staples out (especially by scratching with his hind leg - on tender skin that's accustomed to being covered with thick fur), bump and bruise the surgery site by falling on it, etc. It's pretty itchy where he's been shaved and is now healing. I bought an Elizabethan collar (which he hates!) and he's wearing it in the crate. We slathered as much of his bare skin as he permitted with anti-itch cream, and then covered him as well as we could with an old shirt of [my little sister's] (it's tighter than the old "Swoosh" Nike shirt of [my brother's] that we've been using for the past couple of days.) The shirt really optimally should be removed for potty purposes, but that may not happen unless it actually gets wet - since every time the shirt goes on and off, the E-collar needs to as well. He's only had the E-collar put on twice, and already knows several tricks to sabotage the process. Smart puppy! He initially growled and barked at the vet techs and vet, but they sweet-talked him into cooperation - with friendly insults, a few treats, and firm manpower. [my little sister] and I both remember that he weighed 52 lbs. this AM. IF he comes south with [my brother], you'll probably need to find a local vet to remove the staples at the two week point. Ask around and only go to someone who's been recommended. You'll also need to find a way to de-dirt the out-of-doors run - since he'll be lying on that shaved suture line and keeping it clean is a HIGH priority. He can't be washed/shampooed until after the sutures/staples are removed (although I've already been cleaning off his front leg when he hits it with pee, and washing off his feet after he pranced thru fresh poo...). The vet guesses it'll take a minimum of 6 months for his fur to grow back. I'm not sure if he'll be done with his antibiotics before [my brother] drives south. They're to be given twice a day. He recognizes the pill (a pretty big gelatin capsule) and spits it out, so [my sister] has been taking a slightly-larger-than-the-pill block of cheese, cutting a pill-shaped valley, inserting the pill and replacing cheese over the top. If that's smeared with Liverwurst, he'll generally take it happily - especially if you follow it rather quickly with something else he likes. He'll hurry and swallow to be ready for the next treat. The other night I didn't get it buried deeply enough in the cheese, so he spit it out. I tried again with leftover Tri-tip (which the boys decried) and was successful. I think the E-collar will prohibit him from chewing on a Kong or leather bone, which will be challenging.... We'll probably have to go pretty heavily on the tranquilizer - especially over the next few days. ---


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