I hope I’m done with veterinarians for the year

I mean, except chatting on the phone now and then. But, wow, yesterday was a little . . . a little more . . . well, just a little more than I was expecting (or hoping).

Pippa — yes, the one who had disc surgery — has had tooth issues for a while, but I didn’t want to put her through anything major if I didn’t have to because, see above, disc surgery. Well, my ordinary vet gave me a pretty firm, “This really isn’t great, here is the number of the dental specialist in St Louis, you could put this off but …”

So yesterday Pippa had dental surgery. She had nine teeth removed and six “retained roots” extracted — I’m not sure what that latter category encompasses, but maybe all those premolars that dogs generally lose young tend to have retained roots? — and an abscess cleaned up. Let me emphasize that Pippa has never shown any particular discomfort regarding her mouth. She’s lost lots of teeth before — she is now down to a grand total of three (3) teeth left in her whole mouth. Let me see, okay, dogs have 42 teeth. Yeah, so three is pretty pathetic.

She’s on pain meds, but she isn’t too uncomfortable. Certainly this is nothing like the TOTAL HELL of the disc problem, and she is just supposed to be restricted for 24 hours rather than 6 weeks, so . . . but still, I hated to do that to her. I am told she should, quote, start acting like a puppy again. Since she always acts like a puppy, I am not quite sure what to expect. I will say, she has gotten grouchier with the younger dogs in the last few months. Maybe she will lighten up and not be so cantankerous when the younger dogs try to get on her half of the couch. I gather being bumped the wrong way might have broken her jaw because of the abscess, and she will be in a lot less danger of that in a few weeks. I can see how that kind of fragility and (I guess, though she never showed it) chronic pain could make anybody grouchy.

As a side note, the boys — Ish and Conner — would not go outside this morning without checking first on Pippa. They are such good boys, and they are both attached to the older girls. They are by far Pippa’s favorites. She has always preferred male dogs. It’s the separate hierarchy thing, I’m sure. She doesn’t care if they strut around declaring they are HOT STUFF, and they don’t take it seriously if she growls at them, so they get along great.

Canned food for two weeks, and then I will ask Pippa whether she would like to eat dry food. She can’t chew it, obviously, but I’m pretty sure she hasn’t been chewing dry food for years. I think she swallows it whole.

No chew toys ever, poor baby. I will find special non-chew treats for her. She has always loved playing tug, too. I have been very gentle with that for some time. I wonder if toothless dogs can still play gentle tug games.

As a side note, I did not expect dental surgery to get within an order of magnitude of the cost of the disc surgery. But wow, it sure did. To be fair, she was in surgery for more than two hours.

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5 thoughts on “I hope I’m done with veterinarians for the year”

  1. I hope you’re done with the vet, too! And glad your vet would take care of Pippa. Locally ours are mostly shut down, doing only emergency care. And video visits, but that’s no help for a problem that needs hand on treatment – like dental stuff. I’ll be so glad when this is over!

  2. Yeeow. I didn’t know exactly how many teeth Pippa had left before this, but I knew it wasn’t very many. If I’d thought it was a possibility, I would instantly have said that losing another 3/4 would leave her with hardly any, but I don’t know that I would have put it quite that low.

    I am somewhat comforted by remembering that Pippa is well suited to bounce back from practically anything — e.g. her zest for life was not visibly affected by going completely deaf.

  3. Elaine, to be fair, I think I could have described this as “emergency” surgery, even though I did put it off just as long as possible. I would lay money that vets are defining “emergency” pretty broadly rather than leaving pets to suffer. However, thankfully, here every vet I know (five) has gone to a parking-lot appointment type of thing. They’re doing routine care, but they come out and collect your pet.

    The dental guy was good. They had no problem leaving Pippa with me every minute they could. Like they did the presurgical injection and brought her back to me for 15 minutes till the meds took effect and she was ready for the surgery. The surgeon talked to me in person, outside, standing about four feet from the car.

    And yes, she was pretty groggy yesterday still, but is pretty well back to normal now. She had a bad reaction to the Clavamox she was supposed to be on, but they have a different antibiotic I’m supposed to pick up in an hour or so that should work better.

  4. As a veterinary technician who works in specialties (mostly of dentistry and internal medicine) I’m really glad you got her dental done! It surprises a lot of people how much of a difference a healthy mouth can make a dog act. And we have lots of pups play with soft, soft toys once their mouths are completely healed! It just takes a little adjustment period but dogs are very good at adapting for the love of a good play haha! Wishing Pippa a good recovery!

  5. Jenny, thanks! I know dentals are important. I was just soooo reluctant to put Pippa through anything else after her awful disc surgery. Not that the surgery itself was terrible (I guess), but everything surrounding it was just awful.

    I’m glad to say that Pippa only had one obviously bad day. The Clavamox caused serious trouble, but Cerenia and Metronidazole were on hand and I got her switched to a different antibiotic as fast as I could. Now, five days post-dental, she’s acting pretty good. She certainly likes the canned food I’m giving her. I’ve never had to use a snood to keep ears out of food before, so I gave all my snoods away, which turns out to have been a mistake, but I have improvised one which should do the job.

    I’m really pleased that she may be able to play gentle tug with a soft toy in a few weeks. I’m sure she’s going to want to.

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