My fourth toe on my right back leg is sore again (Mum didn’t think it was the same toe until she checked my earlier blog entries — Feb 2013 & Mar 2014). Mum first noticed I had a problem about two weeks ago because I started limping one afternoon (maybe Wednesday 2nd Nov?) when bringing the ball back to her after I’d chased it lots of times in the backyard. When we went inside the people kennel I sat down for a rest and started licking my toe. Mum had a look but couldn’t see anything wrong. I stopped limping after a little while, and only licked it occasionally for the next day or so, and it seemed to get better.
Over the next 12 days or so my toe would hurt and I’d limp and lick for a short while, then it would get better again. Every time Mum looked she couldn’t see anything wrong, except for the colour change of my white hair to a pinkish brown because of all the licking. A couple of times I even let her put her fingers between my toes to feel for bindiis, round grass burs and other nasty grass seeds or anything else that might be causing a problem, but she couldn’t find anything.
Yesterday (15th Nov), after I’d been lying down for a while and licking my toe again, I limped rather badly after I got up off the floor. This has happened before but at those times Mum told me it was probably just because I’m getting older. This time when she looked at my toe she saw that it looked very wet from all my licking and rather red and inflamed, so she used the talking thing on the wall to talk to my vet and make an appointment for me to see him that night.
When it was time to go to the vet I had stopped limping, though I did have trouble jumping into the back of Mum’s car. I got my front legs in but she had to lift my butt in for me — so undignified!
We usually don’t have to wait very long to see my vet but this time he must have had lots of sick animals to see as we had to wait for a whole hour — which I didn’t mind at all because I got to sniff things and see other dogs and people. It was very exciting! I wanted to say hello to the cat in a cage but Mum wouldn’t let me. Even though I was wagging my tail like crazy and smiling at the cat, the cat didn’t seem interested in being friends — cats are strange!
When I finally went in to see the vet I sat on the wobbly-table-thing as usual, and Mum said I weighed 37.2kg. The vet seemed happy that I’d lost weight. I didn’t care, I was just hoping he’d give me some liver treats …but he didn’t. Then Mum told me to lie down, so I did, and she held my collar and cuddled me really tightly while the vet held my sore paw and tried to look at it. I didn’t like that so I struggled, but I couldn’t snap at the vet because Mum was hugging me so hard. Mum had even brought my muzzle, just in case, but she and the vet decided it would be OK to try without it. Eventually I won the struggle and was able to at least get upright so the vet couldn’t hold my paw easily. I got lots of pats from Mum and the vet before they told me to lie down again — which I did, because I’m such a good boy.
But I didn’t like having my paw touched, so I struggled up again and stood up. They told me to lie down again, so I did, but this time I was facing the wrong way. So, they told me to stand up …then lie down (but I was the wrong way again) …then stand up …then lie down (wrong way again) …then stand up …then lie down …I found the whole ordeal quite confusing — did they want me up or down?! Apparently I was finally facing the right way again as Mum and the vet were very pleased with me. Then he touched my paw again, so I struggled to get up and snap at him, but Mum was on top of me so I couldn’t, and all I could do was try to pull my paw away, but the vet wouldn’t let go! I eventually struggled hard enough that Mum couldn’t hold me down and I sat up again, pulling my paw underneath me so they couldn’t touch it.
Next, they told me to stand up and gave me lots of pats and praise when I did — I like being patted. Mum gave me another big cuddle while I was standing up. The vet touched my toe again so I sat down to stop him. They told me to stand up again, so I did, but this time the vet put his arm underneath me so I couldn’t sit down. He briefly touched my paw a bit more with his other arm, while Mum stopped me from turning to snap at him, then he felt all over my legs looking for any other possibly sore and injured bits — luckily he found none.
After all the struggling and the up and down confusion I was told I was a good boy and allowed to wander and sniff around the room while the vet talked to Mum. He said I have a nail-bed infection on my sore toe and that there was a little bit of pus (whatever that is) coming out of it and that it could definitely cause some lameness. He and Mum also agreed that the constant licking was bad as it keeps my toe wet so bacteria can grow there. I don’t know what that means but I do know that when something hurts I must lick it — it’s what dogs do! The vet said there were also some arthritic changes happening in my musculoskeletal system that could be making me feel uncomfortable. He was pleased when Mum told him that she was already giving me glucosamine, chondroitin and omega supplements to lessen the effects of these changes. I still don’t understand what all that means, but I do like the tasty, chewy round things she gives me with my breakfast.
Before we said goodbye to my vet he gave Mum some medicine to help my sore paw. I have to take Rilexine 600 Palatable (liver flavoured Cephalexin antibiotic tablets for dogs) twice a day for 7 days, and Previcox 227mg (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory tablets for dogs) once a day with food for 5 days. I don’t know what all that is either but I’m just writing down what Mum told me — she had to help me spell those names too. All I know is that Mum puts them in my dry food and I eat it all so quickly I don’t even notice which little crunchy bits are the tablets. Mum tells me I’m such a good boy for taking my medicine without any fuss! 😀
Until my toe gets better Mum says I can’t chase the ball anymore as that makes it bleed. I probably can’t go for walkies for a while longer either. 😦
P.S. Here’s some more pictures of me and my sore toe (click to enlarge if you reeeeally want to)…
Update: 28/11/2016 — I finished my anti-inflammatory and antibiotic tablets 6 days ago. I’ve stopped limping and I run up the stairs easily and chase balls ok, and I like going for walkies which is wonderful, but I keep licking my sore toe sometimes so my paw hair is getting really dark and yukky looking. Mum is not happy about this as it looks like blood even though it’s just brown hair, and it’s always wet from my licking which Mum says is bad because bacteria will grow there. This afternoon I got really angry with her because she tried to put my paw in a small bowl of warm salt water. I wouldn’t let her do it! So then she tried to tip the water over my foot instead, but I kept moving so she missed with most of it. She got more of this salt water and tried again (4 more times) so I snapped at her and wrinkled my nose in a snarl. She was not happy about that either and yelled and said bad words to me and made me stay outside while my foot dried. She had brought a towel outside to dry my foot for me but she didn’t even try that after I did the snarling thing. Ha ha! I won! …I think? Later when I was allowed to come back inside the big people-kennel Mum took another photo of my paw. There’s a lump of blackish yukky stuff stuck near the side of my toenail, which wasn’t there before (dried blood or dirt or both?), but I won’t let her clean it off.
04/12/2016 — I’ve been licking my paw a lot more. It might be just a habit now but maybe I’ve made it worse with all the licking. So today I was told to go outside to the backyard paved area under the clothesline and Dad held me while Mum put my sore paw in warm salt water. I only held it in the bowl for a short time so Mum tipped the rest of the water over my paw. I growled and snapped but Dad held me so I couldn’t bite Mum. Then I sat down and let Mum pat my paw gently with a clean towel so it wasn’t so soggy and we all went back into the big people-kennel. I think the salt water made my paw feel a bit better because I haven’t licked it as much since going back inside.
05/12/2016 — Mum and my youngest man-brother took me outside and did the warm salt water thing with my sore paw again this morning. This time Mum put my muzzle on me …I did not like that at all! Then my man-brother held me firmly while Mum lifted my leg and put my paw in the water. This time she was able to hold my paw in the water for at least a minute or maybe two before she let me lift it out. Then I ran off and pulled my muzzle off my nose, but the strap was still fastened around my neck. I growled and snapped at Mum when she got near me to undo it — I was very angry with her — but when she said I could go inside I let her undo the strap while I was distracted, waiting for the door to open. When we were all inside my man-brother gave me a big piece of dried chicken meat out of my treat jar …YUM!
06/12/2016 — My toe skin was still looking red and sore so I had another vet visit this afternoon. This time my old vet was there. He’s the dad of my new vet and I haven’t seen him for a long time because he only works there occasionally now. Today I laid down and did as I was told and let him look at my foot. Mum held me down too but this time I didn’t struggle like I did last time and it was all very calm. I was a very good boy so the vet gave me a liver treat! YUM! He and Mum then talked about stuff and now I have more yummy liver-flavoured tablets to take: 1 Rilexine 600 tablet in the morning and 1½ tablets at night, with food for 14 days. The vet said he wants my toe to be completely free from infection and with no signs of moisture and licking at the end of the 14 days, otherwise I’ll have to wear something called an Elizabethan collar. Mum explained that it’s another name for the dreaded “Cone of Shame” …I don’t want one of those!!!
22/12/2016 — I finished my 2 weeks of antibiotics on 20th but I’m still licking my toe, though not as much. Mum doesn’t want me to wear a cone of shame because she knows I’ll hate it, plus, I won’t fit through my kennel doorway easily and I might hurt myself when I’m outside at night on my own. Now my paw feels a lot better and I let Mum touch it she decided I should wear a sock so I can’t lick my paw. So far I’ve been a very good boy and haven’t tried to chew it off. Except for when it was first put on (and my man-brother had to hold me still so I couldn’t snap at Mum) it hasn’t bothered me at all. Mum put a piece of tape around it to stop it sliding off my leg as the sock is very big. I’ll probably only wear it inside the house where it’s nice and cool with the air-conditioning turned on, and where it can stay dry.