But it was closer than I would have liked. She had a puncture wound that abscessed in her left elbow and I failed to notice it until the abscess began to drain. The joint itself was involved and the wound had to be opened surgically and a drain placed so that the liquid does not pocket up again. I saw that she was limping a little, a few days before the abscess made itself unmistakable but I managed to miss the fact that she had a nasty infection because my little girl pup did everything in her power to hide the fact she was hurting. Dogs are big proponents of the “fake it ’til you make it” school of behavior. A dog who isn’t feeling good will hide that from the rest of the pack until they either are better or so sick that they can no longer hide it.
Pohka didn’t just hide it from the other dogs, she managed to hide it from me too and I am kicking myself for not seeing it. Part of my problem was I was watching the wrong dog. Tango came home last Saturday looking like he’d stuck his head in a mincer. My sharpei mix has a history of eating things that disagree with him about being eaten. I don’t know if this was a raccoon or a very reluctant squirrel but it gave almost as good as it got to my HKU-1. (His sister, the mole catcher, is my HKU-2)
I counted 17 bleeds on his head, his lip swelled so much that I was not entirely sure he had not argued with a snake, since even the non-toxic ones can inject a fair whack of bacteria. When the swelling was mostly gone the next morning I kept an eye on his wounds so that if they infected they could be dealt with and I while I was doing that, I missed the fact that something bit or jabbed Pohka in the elbow, a small hole that sealed over and left little external evidence of the damage. She was limping a bit, which could have been a strain or sprain, and I didn’t think much of it.
She ended up needing to be operated on, and if I had caught it early we’d have probably gotten away with just antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Oh, and a drain that has to be flushed twice a day for 10 days.
Still, two days out from the operation and she is walking on all four feet easily and (if I’m not paying attention) jumping up on the bed, because the people bed is the best place to sleep. I wish she had been less stoic about the sore leg and I wish that I had been more observant, but I’m happy that she has a good canine immune system. I think she’ll heal just fine.