An update for anyone who might be worried about our dog but isn’t on Facebook: Two weeks ago, Willow had surgery to repair his CCL, which means his back leg was all shaved and his knee covered in a neat row of staples. While he was under anesthesia for that, we also had them remove his rear dew claws that hadn’t got popped off when he was a puppy and drove him nuts because they would just grow into useless talons that he wouldn’t let anyone cut. He also had his teeth cleaned, and an infected molar removed. That seems like enough stuff, right? We brought him home with instructions to keep him strictly crated except to go to the bathroom and do mild physical therapy, then bring him back in two weeks (today) to have the staples out and the stitches on his dew claws removed.
Everything was going pretty well until about a week in, when Willow started licking his side like crazy, to the point that he licked a bald spot. And then another one. And a third one. And then started connecting them. We called the vet and she said he had likely given himself an addiction to licking out of boredom, because it releases endorphins. Rather than leave him in the giant cone collar 24/7, I took the advice of a friend and put a t-shirt on him to keep him away from the area. That seemed to work quite well for several days, so I assumed it was being allowed to heal. About two days ago, he started trying to lick it all the time, even through the shirt, so we resorted to the collar and constant vigilance to get us through to his vet appointment today.
This morning, I took off his t-shirt to see if I could clean him up a little, since I knew the hair around the edges was getting matted, and of course the first thing he did was scratch himself with his hind leg, tearing off a lot of the attempts to scab. It just looked so awful. I tried putting some gauze on him to get him to the vet’s office without horrifying people, but it didn’t stay very well. I was starting to worry the vet would be completely horrified and tell us we had been doing terrible things to our dog.
Turns out, despite having spent 99% of his time in his crate in the living room, Willow had been bitten by a spider.
The wound wasn’t healing because most of the tissue over it was necrotic. The vet had to shave him, cut off about half of it, and debride the wound. (Fortunately Willow was knocked out again for this. Watching them use the magic drugs to knock him out and them wake him back up again was pretty much the best part of the visit.) Now I get to look forward to washing the wound twice a day, giving him yet more antibiotics, and being freaked out that there’s a venomous spider somewhere in the house waiting to bite me, too.
I will not post a picture of the spider bite, because it is simply too gross (seriously, it takes up like a third of his side), but here is a picture of Willow wearing a shirt:
Oh, and on the plus side, the vet says his knee is healing very well, so at least maybe we won’t have to worry about that anymore.