Cody's surgically repaired ear comes against a backdrop of a series of visits to the vet, which we thought would be over by now.
First Tala had worms, then some extended intestinal troubles caused by the parasites. We solved those, thank goodness. They were a little frightening for me, since Buster nearly died from inflammatory bowel disease (and that did ultimately contribute to his early death).
At the same time, Tala had seriously itchy skin, and that's more difficult to solve. Skin allergies are a long process of trial and error, finding medication that calms the itch with a minimum of side effects, while also trying to find the source of the problem. Twice she's ripped open "hot spots" - when an animal scratches so hard, they rip the fur off and rip open the skin. If you don't treat those seriously, they can become huge and infected. Hot spots are also a big clue that the itching is not yet under control.
So between Tala's stomach and skin, we've been back and forth to the vet since we brought her home in late January. Throughout, she's been happy and has seemed healthy. She's never acted sick, or been sad. It's not the awful, scary experience of Buster, but it's not the easy-breezy world of Cody, either.
Last week we took Cody for her annual check-up and vaccines, which become a little more complex as a dog ages, and got heartworm meds for both dogs. Since we were going anyway, the vet also wanted to do a re-check of Tala's skin. That was a week ago today. Two days later, I found the lump of dried blood in Cody's ear. Sigh.
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All our dogs have needed to wear a cone collar at some point in their lives, some more frequently than others. (Gypsy also had itchy skin, as well as knee surgery, minor lumps removed... many cones.)
If you've ever had an animal in a cone, you know that at first it's both pathetic and comical as they walk into walls and can't get through doorways, until they learn to judge their new girth. But Cody is in a class by herself.
Cody hates anything being done to her. Baths, nails clipped, blood drawn - whatever it is, she hates it. This is typical of a submissive dog. Where the alpha dog is confident and secure, and will gracefully condescend to whatever you need, the bottom dog is fearful and anxious, and will often be difficult in those situations. Plus Cody is a drama queen. If she gets wind that you might be bothering her, she's screaming "Help! Stop! You're killing me!" before you've even touched her.
Last night when I came home from work, she was standing in the middle of the living room, coned head pointing down, staring at the floor, looking utterly dejected. We had to coax her to lie down, to eat, to go out; we had to coax her to move at all. She finally settled in for the night, and today seems a little better. But it's going to be a long two weeks for her until these stitches come out.