Sunday, September 15, 2013

Barbie's foot injury saga

For a few months now Barbie has had an issue with her rear left foot. It started off looking a bit like this after we had a good run around the park. I noticed it was draining a bit of clear fluid and blood, and took her to the vet. We tried a couple of courses of different antibiotics but it didn't fix the problem. It would heal up, the fluid would accumulate and it would open and drain again.

After the antibiotics I thought perhaps we would have to take more drastic action, so I consented to the vets doing surgery to see if they could find a foreign body in her foot causing the problem. They made a small incision though they needed many stitches because there wasn't a lot of skin for closure in the area. 

The vets didn't find anything in there on this first try and believed that they had cleaned it up enough that it would just heal normally. We had to change our weekend activities and Barbie spent more time riding in the car with us to visit cafes and go on very short walks.

Unfortunately a week or so after her stitches were taken out, I took her for a normal leash walk and her foot puffed up and was quite swollen. It was hurting her too, so I took her to the vet that night. A shot of Metacam bought it back down, but the skin on the bottom of her foot split open and it weeped quite a bit of fluid. N took a photo of it when it was particularly weepy. By now it was being referred to as a 'chronic draining sinus'. 

Our vets put her on a long course of Baytril, which was a third antibiotic. Unfortunately it didn't change much and so I went back in for a referral to Perth Veterinary Specialists to do some imaging. 

She was off the antibiotics for a week when she was admitted for a CT scan. The contrast dye didn't move very far from the local area but they didn't see the foreign body either. 

The surgeon then told me the next step was surgery.

His plan was a more aggressive debridement of all the damaged tissue in her foot, at the same time taking samples in case of an a-typical infection and looking for the root cause of the damage. I looked him up on the internet before I said yes, he has a very long string of achievements in his specialty, so I decided I could trust her with him. 

Unfortunately he didn't find the foreign body, but the superficial nature of the damage gave him some cause to be optimistic but he was overall quite guarded in his prognosis. He isn't the kind of Vet to tell you what you want to hear. The skin on the bottom of her foot was too damaged to close so he had to leave an open area, which means that she is going to be in a bandage for a couple of weeks, or longer.

They tell me she did well at PVS, and she stayed three nights in total. When I took her back in on Saturday for a bandage change she was pretty happy and seemed to want to go out the back. I don't think she enjoys their crates though as she has a sore bit on her nose, I think from shoving it into the bars. She does really enjoy all the attention from the vet nurses, and now she is home I am pretty sure she loves all the sympathy she elicits when people see her out on her toilet breaks in a cone, with a big bandage and a plastic bag on her foot. 

Her next checkup and bandage change is on Tuesday. The surgeon will be having a look at healing and adjusting the stitches as well. I believe she will have to go back one or two more Tuesdays after that, depending on how it is going. 

At the moment she is supposed to be contained, the rules are NO running, NO jumping, NO stairs, NO playing, NO getting on the furniture...etc etc. The only way to get into the Vet surgery is to go up stairs, so I have been carrying her in directly from the car. It has also been raining frequently and heavily so I have been spotted jogging through the car park carrying a totally ragdoll floppy 26 kilogram greyhound. I am only 158cm tall and it must be a pretty amusing sight. All the rain has made timing our toilet breaks very important at home as well and it doesn't look like letting up any time soon with rain forecast all week!!

I'll update on Tuesday when I get more info from the vet and I'll try and get a photo if it's not too gorey. I am not sure exactly how many stitches she has but I think there are a lot! 

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