Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday September 20th 2020
I am sorry this post was delayed. Yesterday, I was too stressed to write, to be honest. Isis had been behaving increasingly oddly, and I was very worried about her. I didn’t want to write ‘Isis is unwell’ and leave people to be concerned about her, so thought the briefer yesterday’s message, the better.
Towards the end of August, the RSPCA is still dealing only with emergencies. I note that Hairy One’s booster will soon be due, and her anal glands will need to be emptied again. I need to make an appointment with the temporary vet.
During the first week of September, said Hairy begins to worry her her right ‘stress leg’, making it raw. I put her into her Elizabethan collar and treat the leg with Sudocrem. When the collar is removed, she nibbles at the leg again.
When I groom her, I find several little scabs around the back of her neck, one or two on her back and two or three on her flank. I know that she’s not had fleas, and wonder if she could have been attacked by mites.
Unfortunately, we have to wait four days for an appointment, and, even though she has the collar on, she’s continuously diving at her coat, trying to pull out hair.
Our appointment’s on September 10th, and Isis behaves like the most saintly dog you could imagine. She stands sedately on the scales to be weighed, receives her booster and her anal gland treatment with equanimity and remains still and polite while the vet looks at the little scabs. In fact, the vet is so impressed that she tells her several times what an obedient, excellent, well-behaved dog she is!
The vet concludes that little Hairy has been bitten by some microbe or other, but not by mites, as there are too few bites. She prescribes Malaseb shampoo which I collect the next day.
The shampoo must be applied twice a week, on various areas of her skin, particularly around her lips, between her toes and under her tail.
She has her third shampoo on Friday. I had hoped that by now the treatment would be taking effect, and her skin would be calmer; instead, she becomes more and more irritated and irritable. She dives at her flanks and her tail, pulling out strands of hair. She growls and snarls. At home she refuses to do anything except eat, and lie on her bed. She barks frequently, for no apparent reason, snarls when I sit on the day bed with her, and growls when I touch her.
She becomes more and more distressed as the weekend progresses.
I keep hearing strange, raspy noises. Unable to lick her ‘stress leg’, poor little Isis is vigorously licking the inside of the plastic collar.
She has to be pushed into the garden to pee. She has no interest in her toys.
Twice a day I remove her Elizabethan collar so that she can eat. For days now, she has regressed to her old dining habits, ranting and raving while she attacks her food. Then she goes back to bed.
I take her to Highbury early on Sunday morning. She gets out of the car and walks with me. She plays a little, but she would really prefer to return home.
Back at home, she’s beside herself. I realise that even though she has the protective collar on, she has managed to attack the top side of her tail. She’s torn out hairs, and the skin around the root of her tail is very inflamed. I cover the patch with Sudocrem.
She’s very, very miserable. She will still come into the kitchen to eat, but other than that, she just wants to lie down.
She is ambivalent about contact with me. However careful I am, she snaps and growls when I sit beside her on the day bed. After a while, she’ll move until part of her is touching me, but after a few minutes finds this uncomfortable, growls and moves away.
When I move to another room, she drags herself up to lie by me. But when I touch her body, she snarls and squirms away. She will only let me stroke her forehead very, very lightly and kiss her muzzle!
After drinking from the stream in the park, she doesn’t drink again all day. She refuses to go into the garden.
At night, I carry her out and place her on the grass. She refuses to pee. She sits, then lies down. I carry her back to the kitchen door. She scurries in, tail between her legs. For the first time, she doesn’t stand waiting for me to get out her treats. Instead, she lies listlessly on the day bed.
She doesn’t follow our usual routine and search for the treats I’ve placed in her dog bed, or rush to ‘discover’ a Markie under my desk. She only participates in the final act when I sit beside her and she has to dislodge bits of gravy bones from under my hands, inside my fists or between my fingers. I make it easy for her.
This morning, when I wake her, she is utterly miserable. She doesn’t want to move, but she’s not peed or pooped since yesterday morning. I carry her into the porch, and chivvy her into the car.
When we reach the park, I lift her out of the car, place her on the grass, and wait for her to oblige.
She can’t be left to suffer until the shampoo takes effect.
I ring the vet.
I’m informed that I’m number 11 in the queue.
Isis pees. Thank goodness for that.
Then she lies down. I speak to Tara, a very compassionate and knowledgeable park mate and an excellent dog walker. She recommends two vets.
After Tara leaves, the phone continues to ring. I’m still only seventh in the queue when Te., another dog walker asks me if I’d like her to carry Isis to the car for me. I hold the lead of one of her two dogs, while she puts Isis in the car.
By the time we reach home, I’m fifth in the queue.
I phone another surgery. The receptionist takes our details and says Isis can be fitted in at 10.30 if we can make it, or ‘squeezed in’ later if we can’t.
We wait in the car until a veterinary nurse comes out and helps me to encourage Hairy in. Strangely, the non-ambulatory Isis now walks. She’s never been here before. It’s as if, scenting the surgery’s smell, she knows that’s where she should be!
The nurse asks me to muzzle Isis, which is reasonable, under the circumstances.
Before examining her, the vet asks lots of questions. She does a very thorough examination, after which she concludes that the severe dermatology could have been caused by an allergy, but not by insect bites.
She thinks that a course of steroids and of antibiotics will sort out the dermatitis.
I mention that Isis has problems with her anal glands which cause her to bite her legs and tail, but that the the glands had been emptied ten days previously. She expresses the glands. They are infected, she tells me, and have been for some time. The antibiotics will clear up the glands too.
Both of us walk back to the car.
She’s had her tablets and slept for three hours, woken for a few minutes and grunted a bit. Now she’s asleep again.
I’d like to sleep too.
Oh, Isis, Isis.
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact email@example.com or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For