They say that greyhounds are accident prone. That their skin is sensitive and as a greyhound owner, you start to become accustomed to dealing with injuries. I guess you can say I’ve truly been initiated into the club, now!
I’ve dealt with a couple smaller injuries before. When we tore our deck out, Ron tore a chunk of skin off one of his legs and had to have a wrap for a couple weeks. Nothing major, nothing that required stiches or medication or frequent care. He’s had cuts and scrapes and little scabs from everyday life that we throw ointment on and forget about. But this time… this time he really did it.
We had a relatively warm winter here. It snowed early in the season and then kindly decided not to stick around too long. It was cold and windy and we sure missed the sun, but it’s been worse. When that sun did decide to start teasing us with warmer weather in mid-February the dogs were happy. It was a week day and I was still at work, but I got a text that after playing around in the yard, Ron was refusing to put pressure on his right paw. After finally getting home to check it out, the poor guy was hoping around on three legs, panting, and pretty clearly in some pain. I made an appointment for the next day.
Sure enough, his “pinky toe” was broken. My vet sent out for a consultation at a nearby orthopedic specialist and the verdict was ultimately to let it heal as naturally as possible (i.e. to avoid surgery and pinning the bone together and/or amputating the toe) The toe is non-weight bearing so they decided to splint it to reduce all movement and hope that it would fuse back together so we could move on with our lives. She prescribed carprofen and sent us home. I made the call to take him back once a week to get the wrapping changed since I knew greyhounds have that notorious sensitive skin. So it began! Once a week for 6 weeks, we were back in the vet’s office for rewraps, pain medicating refills, and follow up x-rays.
Around week 5, Ron was acting much different. Instead of acting like the bone was healing, instead of getting used to the whole thing, he was just done. Panting more than before, acting anxious, licking the cast nonstop, and its started to smell. Ugh, the smell. We started referring to him as Big Tuna and started lighting super strong scented candles to help us out. When I took him in that week for the rewrap, he was very clearly anxious and stressed out. The vet team decided to prescribe him tramadol for the remaining week as well as trazodone to help with his anxiety. They also decided that because he was so stressed, they’d try to hold out for one last week and not bother him with changing the wrap. And so we went home and tried our best to manage the pain (and smell). The next week, I was beyond excited. I was hopeful the bone was healed and I was ready to get that dang splint off for his sake and for my sanity. At this point, I was becoming increasingly stressed. I felt so bad for my poor Ron! I just wanted him to be happy and healthy and I was prepared to do whatever I needed to for that to happen. Well, naturally, that also meant that I was spending a lot of money. Stress galore.
Unfortunely, instead of relief and excitement at that visit, we only got more issues. See, during those last two weeks of the splint, Ron was developing ulcers on both sides of his paw. The skin was dying, the sores were deep, it was bad. Oh, but even better… the toe still wasn’t healed. So we switched gears. We had no choice but to start treating the ulcers. This was just a complication of having a cast they said. My vet specialized in wound care which was blessing, so the wounds were cleaned and wrapped in a wet to dry bandage for the night and I was asked to come in the next day for debridement. Lucky for me, I have an amazing supervisor that allowed me to take a last minute vacation day to deal with all of this. The amount of stress was off the charts at this point. So, the next day came and we got through the debridement, we got prescribed an antibiotic and the paw was wrapped up to keep the wounds damp (to allow for better healing and slow the development of scar tissue). Now, instead of coming in once a week, we got to come in twice a week! Imagine our excitement… /sarcasm.
The vet has three doors. One for going in, one for going out, and a kennel door around the side of the building. By now, Ron was refusing to go in the “in” door- so we had started bringing him in the kennel door. After the debridement, he wouldn’t go in the kennel door either. We were running out of doors! Luckily he went right in the “out” door so here’s hoping that lasts. Currently, we’re on week two of going in twice a week to check on the healing of the wounds. As of now, the vet is pleased with the progress. She said it’s healing faster than anticipated and if all goes well, we might only have 1-2 more weeks of this. However, after the skin is healed, we still have the issue of the broken bone. If the toe still isn’t healed, we have the option of splinting again, or amputating, or just leaving it alone and risk it not healing properly at all. I’m hoping that since the foot has still been wrapped and movement has still been restricted, that the toe healed during the wound treatment. I guess we’ll find out this week!
This whole ordeal has cost me close to $3000 at this point. We spent $1500 on the xrays, medication, and wraps for the broken bone. Now we’re approaching another $1500 in more wraps, sedations for debridement, and more medication. I’ve had to take time off work, including leaving to pick him up and drop him off at the vet and then hurry back to work again. I’ve started to wonder about pet insurance, I’ve realized how maybe I should have had a special savings account for pet emergencies. I guess that all comes with growing up and dealing with life, huh? If I had children I’m sure I’d learn the same lesson in a different form. Regardless, now all we can do is try to pay for this as best we can and continue to make sure he’s getting the treatment he needs. Coming up on week 9, I’m hoping to see that light at the end of the tunnel soon.
I have set up a gofundme for anyone interested in donating or sharing. I’ll attach the link here or it’s searchable with “Vet Expenses for Ron”.