Today was a holding my breath day. Like most pet parents I work everyday, and sometimes during my busy schedule, I may miss a step with my pets. A couple of days ago while playing B.A.L.L. (yes, I have to spell it or all heck breaks loose in my house) I noticed a wet spot on the cheek of my Big Dog. I shrugged it off because the dogs had be playing pretty hard and I figured that a good healthy glob of slob had worked it's way out during the excitement. The next day, I notice that the wet spot is still there and it appeared to have gotten bigger! Now I had to investigate a little further to see what this was.
First of all, my Big Dog is a 106lb Rottweiler, and you can't make him do ANYTHING that he doesn't want to, and looking at his face was one of those NOT WANT TO! I had to think of something clever, so I let him out the back door and walked around to the bottom of the stairs where I could get a good look at it while he was doing his visual patrol of the street. Then I saw it.....a circular white patch of skin about the size of a quarter on his jaw and the surrounding hairs about 6 inches long and an inch and half wide of slimy black hair. I am a trained pet care professional, but I am a pet parent first, and when I saw this spot on my baby's face.....heart stopped!! My first thought was to ask....baby what happened? I waited for him give me a detailed response of what had started the problem. I know many of you have done the same thing, and feel stumped when you get that blank look back from your pet and maybe a tail wag. I played out the possibilities that the patch from him rough housing with the Phat Gurl, that was over ruled because the pattern didn't match. Then for some insane reason a conversation I had with my best girlfriend came to mind. Her brother had been bitten by a brown recluse spider a couple of months ago.
Sometimes knowledge can be your best friend or worst enemy! I went to my computer and began to do research about the wound on my baby's face. I shaved a larger area out around the wound so that I could get a better look, and I found 3 hitch hikers (ticks) near the area. Now my thoughts are moving more towards a "hot spot" which is basically a allergic reaction to an insect bite, a plant or plant substance or food intolerance. I clean the wound which was now infected from him scratching the area and applied some hot spot creme. There was no visible reaction other than my dog rolling his eyes at me and grumbling as he made his escape from my mom remedy. I didn't sleep a wink all that evening waiting for the vet to open and listening to make sure he was not scratching the area during the night.
When we arrived at the vet's office, he was in a pretty good mood. He was on a car ride wearing his shades with his head propped out the window enjoying a brisk sunny spring day. He greeted the vet happily and let her rub and scratch and take a quick peek at the infected area with no problem. At this point I am amazed! I am thinking to myself, this is going to be a breeze! Then she tried to listen to his heart rate and he bit her! I now know how the shoe feels on the other foot. When a pet parent is very apologetic about their baby trying to have groomer fingers for lunch. She confirmed that it was a hot spot and proceeded with a small medicine cabinet of anti-inflammatory, benadryl, and antibiotics for him to take over the next several days. She further calmed my fears that although the brown recluse spider lives in our area, the injury was not from that insect. That a bite from that particular spider would have caused a much worse reaction, and that he would have been very ill.
Because our dogs and cats can't talk to us directly about their health issues it is important as pet parents to pay close attention to them. If their behavior is out of the norm, we need to slow our pace and get in tune with them. Most importantly, we need to be in contact with their vet to find out whether it is something to worry about, or if a simple solution of "leaving it alone" would help things. It is really important not to hit the panic button, and try to throw too many home remedies on them as they may complicate matters more than necessary. The best bet is to talk to the vet! Give them as much credible information about the situation as you possibly can, so they can assess the best way to diagnose and resolve the problem. Be open to listen, even if you don't agree, and most important don't give your pets any medicine that you are taking without the consent of the vet! Exceptions would be for the ones approved for both animals and people, but ALWAYS talk to your vet first!
I learned alot from the vet today, she gave me a heads up on dosage for certain vitamins that he now needs a senior pet, and let me know that pursuing continued education in my field has been a great value to my pet family! I enjoy sharing the knowledge that I have learned that makes it easier on parents to care for their pets!
Have a great summer!