ToeOW!

Crunch!  Yelp!

Two sounds I really did not want to hear.  Grom was going all out in a game of tug.  I shuffle my feet directly on to his foot.  Grom keeps on tugging like nothing happens, but when I let him win he limps away.  “Oh, that’s not good,” I groan.

Ten minutes later, he is fine.  Matter of fact he is fine all the next day, and the next.  Yesterday evening he starts limping again. By the end of the night, Grom is refusing to put any weight on his paw.  He wont let me get near it.

With the help of some tasty treats, I check his paw all over and find nothing.  “Well, maybe it will be gone in the morning. Nothing I can do about it now.” I hope.  Grom falls asleep in less than five minutes and so do I.

The next morning he is putting no weight on it at all.  I call the vet and make an appointment.

I dread the appointment.  Not for the piles of money that it will cost, but for Grom freaking out like last time.  His twists and rolls like a siamese cat crossed with a greased crocodile.  He swears that all vet techs are out to eat him, or worse.  It has been over a month since he was restrained.  Ok, failed to be restrained for a heartworm test.  I am only halfway done with his training to allow strangers to hug him again.  This visit will likely put him back to square one, or worse.

At the Vet

Grom is carried in and lays like a good boy right on the scale/table.  He even stays a perfect boy as they raise the table up to chest level with us humans.  I have an arsenal of treats ready at my disposal.  The dog settles himself in a nice relaxed down on the table as the vet comes in.  When the vet approaches Grom stands up and wags his tail.  So far so good.  When the vet is done petting Grom, he reaches for the hurt paw.  Grom lightly picks his foot up in the air and turns his body away.  Can’t blame him for that, the sucker hurts!  The vet and Grom dance for several steps each time the vet getting a look at a different part of his paw.  I sheepishly tell him the story of me stepping on the dogs paw as they Waltz.

“Well, its very swollen on his second toe. There could be something stuck in there or it may be a broken bone, but I cannot feel anything.” the vet muses.  He gets to the word x-ray and I mention crocodile roll.  We discuss whether to get the dog loopy with some doggie downers.  I vote a definite yes.  If he has a bad experience, the dog will be so hopped up on the good stuff that he wont remember.

We are escorted into the x-ray room where Grom is to receive the happy pills.  He is first to get an injection of anti-explosive diarrhea medicine. The silly mutt decides to flop on his side as he is injected with the drug.  Good thing it was sub-Q, or just under the skin, and the skill tech got it all in.  The dog takes a nap while we wait.

The doggie relaxers do not come in pill form I find out.  They must be injected directly into the vein.  Exactly what made him flip out the last time.  In order for the vet tech to hit the vein, she will need to hold him still and put pressure on his leg above the vein. This is exactly what we need the drugs FOR in the first place. He is not allowed to have any more treat due to the bad tummy reaction with the happy drugs, I let him lick at my closed fist filled with treats as a distraction. After several attempts at sneaking up on him while he is standing up, laying on his side, laying on his back, with his back to the vet, and sitting down, we are done with playing nice.  This foot needs to be fixed now, damage control later.

I try to restrain him and get snapped at in fear with a nice crocodile roll.  The tall vet tech tries to hold him and gets the same thing.  The techs mention muzzle.  I remember the last visit and the five minutes of attempting to get a muzzle on the dog.  I recount this for the techs.

“That may be because everyone waiting too long before trying to get it on him last time.” the talented tech with the syringe says.

This is getting ridiculous.  The tall vet tech leaves and comes back with a stiff blue fabric muzzle.  I swiftly slip it over his face while petting and scratching him over the eyes (he loves his eyes rubbed.)  The little guy did not even notice there was something on his face until I fasten the clasp.  Immediately he calms down enough for the techs to get a needle into a vein.  In one try the tech pulls a drop of blood into the syringe and pushes the drugs back where the blood came from.

Not more than five minutes later, Grom is as dopey as I am before my morning coffee.  We tickle and hold his front paws with little reaction. This is great!  The vet comes in the room for a better look at the injured paw.  Grom reacts like he is incredibly ticklish on that foot, flinching at every touch.  I guess he is not cooked yet.

I am asked to leave the room while they shoot radiation through his foot.  While in the hall, I begin a conversation with a very friendly animal control officer about Burmese pythons.  Even before I am able to finish my conversation, Grom is done and without a problem.  The dog is as happy as a drunk sailor with a belly full of rum.  He is lying on the floor gently moving his head around and wagging his tail.

I find out that there was no break to be seen.  The problem area is seen in the x-ray as one very swollen toe.  It is most likely a foreign body in there.  The offending thing should work its way out on its own in a week or so.  I was relieved to hear that stepping on his foot probably was not the cause.

After a shot of steroids and antibiotics, easily given while doped up, we headed out with oral antibiotics and a heavily damaged bank account.

Looks like we will be spending lots of time with the clicker, some treats, and my hands all over his paws for a while.  To do so, I will be following this video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHgBvnQ71ss

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