When it comes to our animal companions, none of us ever want to be caught short of cash when they need health attention, but it happens. None of us have infinite resources and sometimes life just sends too many things our way all at once and our wallets just aren't deep enough! So, we must educate ourslelves and develop a degree of medical self sufficiency. This applies to the needs of our pets too. I know how to administer injections, but I don't like to. First I learned how to give shots to horses, because I had a deep passion for them and spent most of my life riding, training and caring for them. Dogs have always been in my life too. Incredible, loyal beautiful dogs. There is SO much that I still don't know how to do for my dogs, but I know a little. I can vaccinate them and give other injections in a pinch, but I don't like to. I can give manicures when I can reach their toe nails and when they cooperate. I'm sad to say that since this past July, my reach has been frustratingly limited. The girls nails have grown long and tough, so I'm going to get a file and let my daughter file them off a little each week so that the quicks recede. I can manage most wounds, do stitches if absolutely required, and remove stitches as well. I hate to do stitches without some sort of relatively safe anesthetic, and this can be hard to come by for a non professional.
I can sort out a number of bacterial and fungal infections, but once again-if you aren't a licensed professional, knowing and treating are two different things due to the restrictions placed on the cures. Years ago, I could get most anything at my local Co-Op. I have noticed a trend in people meds being prescribed by vets and given to their companion animals for such things as mood disorders and arthritis. Hmm. I'm dreadfully old fashioned in some of my thinking and I would never give my dog NSAIDs of any sort, or any kind of psychotropic drug. Behavioral therapy-yes, drugs for that-oh no. There are many minor health concerns that I can handle and many major ones that I certainly can't. Over the past year or so, Po has had some issues with growths. One lump was removed and although it was determined benign, I could really tell that it was making her sick. Another growth had popped up prior to the really scary lump that was somewhat distressing too. At first it looked like an extra nipple, since it was in that area behind her front leg and almost in line with her other nipples. Of course, I know dogs just don't spontaneously grow more nipples, and I decided to keep an eye on it. Well, it grew into a weird fleshy finger like dangler and I was horrified. Po didn't seem to mind it at all. The vet declared it to be a skin tag when I took her in for her lumpectomy and I was relieved. She also offered to remove it for around the same price as the other lump. Unfortunately, I had to save the skin tag for later since the lump surgery tapped me out for the next month or so. Well, my back got so bad that I had to stop my one job and there went the financing for removing the skin tag among other things I wanted to do for my good old girl. Many people commented on how awful it looked, dangling there like a boneless finger in the wrong place-most especially since dogs don't normally have fingers anywhere. Still, it seemed to give Po no trouble and we just put up with the comments, explaining that it was an ugly but harmless growth. Then, this past week, I noticed some alarming changes which set me to searching for a do-able solution. It was turning into more of a dangling ball rather than a finger! I could have let my oldest daughter cut it off and sew the small wound when she came to visit, but I was too chicken to make Po endure stitches sans anesthesia. Now, here we were a short time later and in the desperate zone! Great timing, I'm broke and crippled. I researched intensely and found a solution which has worked out extremely well, although if you consult your vet, you may be strongly advised against it. I disinfected a semi fat rubber band that had previously been on a bunch of broccolli and then I put that rubber band around the base of the disinfected tag as tightly a I could manage. All went according to plan, the blood supply was cut off from the tag which shriveled up and fell off after a week. Po showed no signs of discomfort during this process. She has a small wound that I treated with disinfectants. It hasn't even bled and if all goes well, it will be gone in another week. She also has what appears to be a lipoma that the vet said is also benign. I don't like it and am afraid that it will change into something dire, but I can do nothing about it. It will involve more and deeper cutting with far greater skill and sophisticated equipment that is beyond my reach or present hope of attainment.