The Three-Toed Tess
|August 24, 2017||Posted by Melinda under Vet & Sports Medicine|
….or “In which another one of Mel’s animals has half its foot chopped off”.
I came home from my nine day vacation in Yellowstone to find this:
Did some poking and prodding and determined it was not a foxtail, not painful, not an abscess and promptly ignored it for a week hoping it would go away.
So I put her on antibiotics.
And it didn’t change.
So I poked it and put some cells on a slide. I was most suspicious of a type of skin cancer called a “mast cell tumor” and while the slide and cells weren’t completely characteristic of a mast cell tumor, it certainly was acting like one, and there were things on the slide that said “less likely infection”.
I cut off her toe.
Now’s the time to let you know that if you are squeamish about blood, you should stare at the following picture of cute dog completely drunk on pain meds after surgery and then go away and come again some other day. It was the least bloody toe amputation I’ve ever done….but there was still BLOOD.
Fortunately I work at a very generous non-profit surgery site who didn’t have a problem with me scheduling my own dog, also believes in excellent post-operative pain control, and has an AWESOME technical support staff who also think bloody surgeries are cool and take lots of pictures for me and don’t bat an eye when I tell them it’s for the blog.
I would really prefer that someone else does my equine medicine beyond the simple routine stuff, but the rest of the species in my house are fair game.
Because I was suspicious of a mast cell tumor I added benedryl to her antibiotic while I waited the 3 days until surgery.
Of course by this morning the tumor had finally shrunk and I found myself debating whether I should wait even longer before taking the toe off.
Nope nope nope!!!! That’s what mast cell tumors do!!!! TAKE IT OFF.
Worst case scenario it isn’t a mast cell tumor (I’m sending in to confirm) and she goes through the rest of her life with three toes on her left hind foot.
Ready for a whole bunch of gratuitous surgery pics thanks to my wonderful tech and assistant?
Post-surgery Tess is THE BOMB.
I can walk out of the room and she merely lifts her head.
I can eat cheesecake 10 feet away from her and she doesn’t even notice.
IT’S THE BEST.
On the flip side….I’m not riding my horses this afternoon because someone chopping her toe off and then leaving her completely out of her mind stoned alone at the house seems…..wrong. So there are definitely down-sides.
Maybe I should start an art gallery of “Art in Surgery”.
No? Too grim?
There are definitely days I love my job.
Oh sure, there’s that quarter of a million dollars in debt, being in a service industry with all the drama *that* entails, and an intimate personal knowledge that life is not fair….but even in the face of all that, it’s magic.
I’ll keep you guys posted on the histo/biopsy results.