Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Dog's Ear

Diagnosed with an aural hematoma, Torrie is on the road to recovery. It all started with an inner ear infection, so, of course, he is still on meds.
It seemed to happen so fast. He seemed just fine when he jumped up into the back of my car. Yet when I came out of the grocery store (really, I was only in there for twenty minutes at the most!), I could tell something was seriously wrong. As I carried my bag of groceries up to the car, I noticed that he was sitting up in the back (rather than laying down like usual), and he was holding his head in an odd position. His ear didn't look right - it was swollen, puffy and looked like it hurt.
Good thing we live in a small town, because it only took a few minutes to drive home. Once home, I was immediately on the computer researching what was wrong, and pulling up the number for our vet on my telephone.

We have this absolutely wonderful vet that has treated Torrie before. His rates are low, he is loving and gentle with our dog and he makes house calls. We're sure the main reason why our vet has such reasonable rates is that he's not supporting an entire office. He has even performed surgeries on Torrie - in our own home - with us assisting. Well, I'm on the squeemish side, so my job was basically that of comforting the dog while he was under sedation, and maybe I'm still a bit traumatized from the blood splatters I saw on David's ankle when the vet removed that large tumor from Torrie's back last summer. But I really like that vet's entire attitude, and when it was time for those sutures to come out, the vet did it out in the yard, in the sunshine, and our rather timmid dog seemed completely comfortable with the whole ordeal.

Obviously, that vet was the first number I called, and by the time he returned my call, thanks to Google (I had typed in "swollen ear golden retriever"), I knew exactly what to tell the vet. He concurred, Torrie had an aurel hematoma, but because of the nature of the surgery that could be required to treat this condition, he referred us to our local veterinary hospital.

Fortunately, the Whatcom Veterinary Hospital was able to get Torrie in right away for an apointment. That same afternoon, they performed the surgery and Torrie spent one night in the hospital. It was amazing how oddly empty a home can feel when the eleven year old dog is not there laying on the floor, always somewhere just about under your feet.

Torrie was still pretty groggy that first day back at home, and it was pretty obvious that his ear wasn't feeling so good.
Torrie's been back home now for four days, and we can tell he's feeling much better. His ear isn't so swollen or weepy and his personality is much closer to normal. It looks like he's healing very well.
Unfortunately though, Torrie needs to continue to wear that goofy collar - at least until the sutures come out (two more weeks!). Torrie has a pleasantly sweet personality, rarely ever barks or even complains, so is not putting up too much of a fuss about having to wear that collar. I do believe he's letting out a lot more sighs than usual though, and maybe trying to tell us something like, "Look at me! I'm wearing this stupid plastic collar that is bigger than any lampshade in this entire house. Don't you see it too?  Maybe you can un-snap it for me. I just want to scratch my ear a little and this stupid lamp shade thing is in my way. Can't you please help me out a little?"

I'll certainly be glad when Torrie has completely recovered.

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