Friday, September 24, 2010

Bubble Removal Complete

Vida's had a "bubble" growing on a rear leg for two years now. I didn't worry about it because it seemed like a lipoma (a fatty growth, usually benign), it didn't bother her, and with her mouth we had a much more serious issue to take care of. In fact, I think most of the vet notes didn't even mention in. Lipomas have become so common that they are considered normal in old dogs - even though Vida isn't old yet. 

No one has an official explanation for them, but I think they're the body's way of compartmentalizing bad stuff (how do you like that for scientific). For instance, Vida's first started when she was given a phlegm clearing herbal blend ("Max's Formula") two years ago. It was as if the body was asked to move the phlegm, and not being able to get it out of the body, set up a spot to store it. 

Well, with the possibility of a puppy coming into the home, that bubble was looking like a big target for tiny shark teeth, so I made an appointment with the surgeon I had a consult with last spring, Holly Mullen.

She agreed that draining it usually doesn't last, so going ahead with a removal made more sense, so Vida went right in to surgery yesterday. She was sooo good in the office and during the exam, nervous but calm, a real champ.  

I, on the other hand, had to deal with the sticker shock of the price. The corporation, VCA that runs this vet hospital runs more and more around the country, making it hard to avoid them. They take over and the prices invariably go up. I have to say, too, that staffing oversight could use improving. The surgical techs that work directly with Dr. Mullen are good, but the rest of the staff seemed to really vary in professionalism. I contrast this with CVA in Carlsbad where professionalism seems highly regarded at all levels. When I see tiny fake grass pee areas for dog clients to use (gross enough...) being used as smoking hangouts for staff on their breaks I really don't feel confident (just one example...).

I spent a few hours wandering around San Diego before going back to wait, getting her out at 4pm to take home with instructions, tramadol, a free sherpa mat (I'll be donating that, I have plenty), and a "certificate of bravery" with Vida's picture that I really didn't need since I don't have kids. Gifty things can be nice, but in contrast to my negative impressions (oh yeah, nails clipped too far back done without permission, another one) they become annoying. I wish Dr. Mullen worked somewhere else, that's all.

So what did I do when we got home? (Vida high on morphine, a little glassy eyed)

  • First I put the biomat on one of her beds and had her lay on it, and pet her with some Spirit Essence Healthy Helper on my hands.
  • Then I gave her a a low-potency homeopathic by Newton Labs called Injury Rescue, and repeated it a few more times that evening. (this is a food first aid kit item)
  • Then I put Traumeel gel near the incision. Not on it! This to head off swelling near the incision.
  • Then I infused some herbs to use as a compress: plantain, comfrey, and yarrow. The first 24hrs are done cold, so I soaked and squeezed a piece of paper towel in the cold tea and laid it on the incision area, laid a dry washcloth over that, then put an ice pack on that, using it for about 10 minutes.
  • She was already on Animals' Apawthecary Detox Blend, so needless to say that continues to help clear the anesthesia. (by the way, I asked to have Sevoflurane used). 
  • I was surprised that the aftercare instructions made no mention of infection reduction. Since she sometimes lays with the incision side down I figured I should use a little AromaDog Quick Fix spray just in case. It looks terrific though. No swelling or redness.
  •  This morning I used the photonic for a few minutes, and plan to do that daily to speed the healing, a perfect use of the tool.
So far she's leaving it alone, it's all lookin' good.
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