The title is a phrase I hear all too often applied to Lexie… it means “clever dog”. It’s actually a euphemism for “devious, cunning, devilish dog”.
For those of you not on Facebook, about 3 days after Lexie first got her stitches, I awoke to a very unwelcome sight. Lexie, standing in her crate, wagging her tail… and a trail of bandages, cotton padding, and stitches. Despite showing no interest in the cast on her foot for the previous three days, she decided at some point during the night that it needed to be removed, as well as all of the stitches holding her paw together. She wasn’t wearing the collar of shame because I had realized just the night before that the one we had on hand was far too small. I called my friend Sophie in a panic, begging her to come pick us up and take us to the vet (because as of late, the taxis in Budapest have not been amenable to having an injured 20-kilo dog in their vehicles).
The face the vet made was, to say the least, discouraging. He explained that because she had ripped out her stitches completely, and because the healing process had already started, it would be very complicated. Basically, all the parts of her wound that had healed would have to be re-opened, because trying to close the wound with partially healed skin would lead to complications with the scar tissue. So, she once again got anesthesia, stitches, and a cast. I got a new cone in the largest size available and strict instructions to return every two to three days for laser therapy for the wound.
When we returned in two days, we saw a different vet, but that wasn’t a problem… as soon as we walked in, he said, “Oh, the poodle with the Metro injuries… I’ve heard about her.” With the same expression on his face that the first vet had. When medical personnel have been discussing your case when you’re not there, I think that generally means you’re in trouble, right? He confirmed that her injuries were very difficult to treat and that there was a possibility that she would lose her toe. I wasn’t expecting that at all.
Apparently there were two issues with the injury. First, the pad on the bottom of her toe had been ripped open by the escalator. (We learned that her injuries were almost certainly from the spot in the escalator where the moving stairs meet the ground. The vet said that they see these injuries weekly and he could almost guarantee that was where it happened.) The pad of the toe is the black part on the bottom of the foot, and it can’t be replaced from skin from other places in the body. It can regrow, in some cases, if held together properly while the skin is regenerating, but transplanted tissue won’t work there. So, if the stitches didn’t hold or the healing didn’t work properly, it would be impossible for her to walk on the toe, and it would have to be removed. The second problem area was much simpler – there was a lot of damage around her nail. Dogs can walk just fine with scars or missing nails, so they were less concerned about that part.
I left the vet completely convinced that Lexie was going to have to lose her toe, and I was devastated. She loves to run in crazy circles through the parks in the city, and while the vet assured me that if she did have to have it amputated, she could still walk just fine eventually, I was worried she wouldn’t be able to run like she loves.
To make it even worse, we went to dinner one evening for just a little over an hour and returned to find that Lexie had once again chewed through the foot covering. Yes, she was wearing her collar of shame. She’s just that bendy. The vet called her “Houdogni”. Luckily, she left her stitches intact, but this sealed my fate… for the next week, I wasn’t leaving her home alone.
That brings us to today. Tomorrow, Lexie’s stitches should come out, but she won’t be fully healed for several weeks. The pad of her toe still needs to regrow, and the area around the nail has actually gotten much worse. Apparently Lexie’s system has kicked into overdrive trying to heal her wound, to the point where it’s generating tissue where it shouldn’t be (on and around the nail). So, assuming her healing stays on track, within 2-3 weeks we’ll have to go back and have them surgically remove the excess tissue (and possibly the nail).
Long story short: It’s going to be over a month before Lexie is back to normal, under the best of circumstances.
Moral of the story: Don’t take your dogs on the Metro escalators.