© 2014 Aaron Atkinson

Another Set-ter Back

My Llewellin Setter Indie is as beautiful and sweet as they come. I love her deeply. But she’s also the most injury prone dog I’ve ever known. If it wasn’t so awful, the exasperating comedy of errors would almost be laughable… almost.

When she was two months old, Indie developed an umbilical hernia. They fixed it when we had her spayed.

A few weeks later, her tear gland popped out from the corner of her eye, its fairly common, it’s called a cherry eye, and the vet fixed it too, leaving Indie just a little droopy eyed.

When she got her one year old vaccinations, she collapsed on the linoleum floor at the vet’s office, her gums were white, her eyes rolled back in her head and her bladder emptied. I thought she was going to die. They rushed her into the back, gave her an IV with steroids, Benadryl and other drugs and brought her back to life. Anaphylactic shock is a scary thing.

A year or so later, I came home from work to find a hundred bloody paw prints on the hardwood floor. It had been a hot summer day and Indie laid on the air conditioning vent to keep cool. At some point she’d stood up, but her toenail got caught in the grate and in a panic, she’d torn it free from her foot. It was messy and sore, but that one healed itself.

In the course of our hunting exploits she’s run into dozens of barbwire fences. Three have left gaping, bloody, deep-down-to-the-muscle cuts more than an inch long. We avoided stitches and patched those up ourselves.

Two years ago, she pulled a cocklebur from her fur, it lodged in between her rear molars, pushed all the way down to the bone and got infected. The vet got the cocklebur out and Indie was healing nicely until she chewed on a stick and got a piece lodged in the new space between her molars. We had that removed, and then we pulled four teeth to keep it from happening again.

While a little scary, a bit painful, and somewhat expensive, we’ve made it through my injury, surgery, accident prone dog’s life in fairly good shape. While given her track record, it’s not wholly unexpected, I was somewhat unprepared for the latest in the long saga of medical incidents. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving we were bird hunting. It was a day just like the hundred we’ve shared before, when Indie started to favor her hind leg just a bit. I ended our trip immediately and headed for home. When she still wasn’t walking on it a few days later, we went to the vet and she was quickly diagnosed as having torn what in humans is equivalent to her ACL. Before reaching a decision on what to do, we left for two weeks in Hawaii, then we celebrated Christmas in Des Moines, then I got wickedly sick and could barely make it through the day.

Now vacations and Christmas holidays are over, I’m healthy, and since Indie is still not, it’s time to write another chapter in the veterinary checkbook.

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