Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lexie's Dental

Wednesday, December 30, 2011 has been on our schedule for over a month. Lexie's dental cleaning is set for 7:30 a.m. and will take the better part of the day. Her periodontal disease includes gingivitis -- she will need to have her teeth cleaned and polished and her gums planed at a minimum. We arrived at Auburn University Small Animal Teaching Hospital a few minutes before appointment time. We've been dreading this morning as Lexie and Ozzie will not understand the change in schedule.  Lexie cannot eat before the procedure so we won't feed Ozzie either -- at least not until Lexie is admitted so she won't see him eat. 

A nice young woman named Ann Haggard came to the reception area to greet us. Lexie has already begun to tremble with fear -- the sixth sense a dog has about being in a vet clinic. Ann explained again what would be done today.  Heart and respiration monitors would be in place while she's under the anesthesia (Propofol) for the dental. A small area of her right front leg will be shaved for the intravenous fluids that will be given.  The back of her throat will be packed to keep the tarter and fluids from being swallowed.  I was a nervous wreck and Wayne wasn't much better. I think he was a little choked when he said "Take care of our little girl" when Ann finally took her from my arms. Ozzie was waiting in the car. To have both of them in our laps during this time of separation would be too much for us.

We returned home (Chewacla State Park Campground) to feed Ozzie and pace the floor. Before noon, Ann called to say that Lexie would need to have a total of 5 extractions -- this would include the already missing tooth, the broken one and three others.  We were not surprised but sad to think of the pain she would have afterward.  Wayne gave permission to proceed. Ann told him that she would call again  when Lexie came around.  Ozzie did very well considering he and Lexie have bonded so tightly and we managed the next two hours until Ann called again to tell us the dental work was complete and Lexie was coming out of the anesthesia.

At 2:30 we were back to retrieve our little girl.  Ozzie went in with us this time and he growled at a very old large dog with a huge growth on his abdomen.  We quieted Ozzie but he occasionally gave a muffled "buff" at the old dog who never even noticed us.  Finally Ann came to the lobby to escort us to the examining room where we would be reunited with Lexie. Ann spent a few minutes telling us all about the procedure and which teeth were removed.  Finally, they brought Lexie into the room and I could have cried. Her little eyes were glazed and looked almost bruised. This was from the blood that had splattered all over her face which had been wiped but the stain was still there. She was groggy and lethargic. It will take 36 hours for the effects of the anesthesia to go away but Lexie is able to take walks.  Wayne gave her a meal of all fresh beef Wilderness canned dog food and we saw a great improvement almost instantly.

Then we noticed during evening, throughout the night and all the next morning Lexie gurgled and coughed.  Around noon, I called the clinic to make an appointment for her to be checked. Wayne and I both feared she might be getting pneumonia.  She sounds like she is drowning.  We took her in just after lunch and as is so often the case, the gurgling stopped the moment we walked into the clinic.  Dr. Bellhorn and another of the fourth year students, Stacy, listened with stereoscopes but could not hear the gurgling.  To calm our fears, we were given prescriptions for antibiotics and inflammation. We planned to leave Auburn the next morning but would stay on if her condition didn't improve.

Friday morning, Lexie was much improved, the gurgling was still there, but less troublesome. We did not start her on the antibiotic but the anti-inflammatory was added to her food.  She continued to sound better but the gurgling and coughing did remain for a few days.

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