Saturday, February 27, 2016
Cone, Coned, Coning
The first weeks of 2016 have been busy, veterinarianly speaking. Lily was spayed. Clover was spayed. Lois got a mysterious booboo on her face. That specter called The Cone was upon us.
What was gleaned from these conical adventures? Well, putting a plastic cone on a dog's head is sometimes a good thing, sometimes a not so good thing, and sometimes it just can't be done.
Yes, a cone can keep a dog from aggravating a wounded area thus providing more efficient unmolested healing, all while allowing the dog to move about in her normal routine. Unless the dog involved is Lily.
Lily held still as the cone was pushed over her head and the tie tightened around her neck. Then she did a bucking broncho impersonation. Then she stopped. She stood like a statue. And stood like a statue some more. (You may be wondering why I didn't photograph Lily the Cone Wearing statue. All I can say is, it seemed too easy a shot. Instead, here's a picture of her under the kitchen table where she retreated after the cone removal. Note her inscrutable expression.)
Needless to say, we couldn't keep Lily coned long term. If the dog won't move, she can't rest, she can't eat, she can't go about her doggy business. Off came the cone.
When she licked at the incision, I yelled at her. In response, she would stop licking and give me that inscrutable look. Soon she didn't seem to notice the sutures at all and left the area alone. It appears that my yelling was as pointless as the cone.
Lily's cone-free recovery was a success.
Then there's Lois, Happy Cone Customer.
We'll never know what the heck happened to Lois's face. One day she was rubbing her face on the floor. The skin surrounding her right eye was swollen and a curious shade of lilac. (Lois has white hair on that side of her head, thus the skin is supposed to be pale pink.)
The vet offered some magic balm for the skin and a nice new cone. Cone clad, Lois went about her routine, remaining cheerful even while bumping into doorways and people's shins.
A week later, the skin was no better. Lois remained coned while taking a course of antibiotics. Another week marked the transformation of lilac colored skin to mauve, and finally to pretty pink.
Lois had a successful coned aided recovery.
Then there's a dog who can't be coned. I wouldn't have believed this- till it happened. Following Clover's spay, a vet tech told me with all the earnestness of someone who thinks they've seen it all, that they don't make cones that fit Clover. It's the long neck, you see. Naturally, incredulously, I said, "what?! Sight hounds aren't coned, ever? Nobody has ever coned a cone to fit them?"
The vet tech offered a resigned shrug. Then she suggested that if we have trouble with her licking the sutures we could do what some farmers do. Fashion a bucket for her head.
Let's see, take the Sawz-all to cut a hole in the bottom of a bucket then put it over the dog's head, then what? Tie a rope around it and affix it to her body somehow? Just hope it wouldn't come off, maybe? In the end, or rather the beginning, we did not attempt to bucket Clover over the head. The hope was that she'd be one of those easy going beasts that pays no mind to shaved tummy and incision discomfort.
Unfortunately, Clover was EXTREMELY determined in her attention to those sutures on her abdomen. So we covered the area with clothes. Our first attempt involved my tee shirt and The Handsome One's underwear. (The cool thing about boy's panties is there's an opening for a tail to poke through.) Alas, Clover found ways it get under and around the clothes, even with tape holding the outfit together and festively colored silk scarves cinched at the waist.
One the bright side, we didn't have to return to the vet two weeks post op for suture removal. Clover, the unconeable, proved to be a do-it-yourselfer.