A letter I sent to the Full Moon Farm volunteer crew today:
I just wanted to write in and say that I had actually finally set aside a day for the boys and me to make it out to the farm today to help with the fencing and whatever chores we could do, and lo and behold, just a few steps into our morning walk with the critter crew here, my Aleksie began to limp as though she had hurt her foot very badly, then proceeded to go into shock. I immediately began dosing her with rescue remedy and got on the phone to the vet.
I was unaware at the time, as I could not see the bite wounds, that she had been bitten by a snake, presumably a copperhead, but fortunately I knew well enough to rush her to the vet. On my way to the vet I got stopped in a "routine license check" by the state troopers. I handed them my license, made it clear that I had a very hurt dog in the car and was on my way to the vet in a hurry and they could call if they needed for confirmation, but that they needed to let me go quickly. Apparently that was their cue to single me out and make an example of me and those f'ing SOBs (excuse me) told me to pull over as they wanted to write me up for an out of date inspection sticker. Can you imagine? What if it had been one if my children in shock in the back of my car a half hour drive from the nearest hospital? There was no way I could make them understand that to me, this was the same thing. It was awful. And I WILL be lodging a complaint.
When we finally got there the good people at Charlotte Street Animal Hospital took us in immediately and provided excellent and compassionate care (unlike the people with whom I am very annoyed at Fairview Animal Hospital who told me that they could not see my dog even though I explained that she was going into shock and they are 20 minutes closer to me than the other vet. They won't be seeing any of my business in the future...). By the time we reached the vet it was very evident that Aleksie had been bitten, as her foot had swollen voluminously and the puncture wounds had begun to bleed and ooze. They got her on IV fluids and stabilized, but were about to close for the weekend, so they sent us on to REACH for continued care.
At REACH we concluded this was not a case in which anti-venom was required (thankfully as it is $561 per dose!) and they began by treating her for pain as she was now exhibiting an extreme level of discomfort (the vet there said that she finds huskies do not tolerate pain well. what do you all think?) and she would not allow them to do anything in terms of cleaning or assessing the wound. The vet then ordered an x-ray which showed there were actually 2 separate bite wounds and she felt the leg needed physio therapy in the form of alternating hot epsom salt soak and ice. Unfortunately Aleksie would not let them do anything involving touching the injured leg, so they had to fully anesthetize her in order to carry out the therapy.
After a total of 7 hours of treatment (and a grand total of $700 in vet bills and meds for the day) they sent her home with an anti-inflammatory (Rimadyl), antibiotics and pain meds. Since she has been home she has limped around the yard, as happy to see her Lucy and her Stanley as they were to see her, eaten and drunk a little, and now she is resting.
Tomorrow our instructions are to take off her bandages and if she will allow do hot and cold compresses. If her pain is too aggravated we may need to take her back in for an additional IV dose of pain meds tomorrow to continue treating her.
The REACH vet felt that this is a severe bite wound and warned me that the skin on her leg may slough off, which sounds atrocious (does anybody have any experience with THAT?), but that ultimately her prognosis is good. She is expected to be fine, thank all the gods and goddesses as I tear up with relief.
We got home, though, exhausted and stressed and, to the boys' horror, to find our mama chicken disemboweled in the yard. This is the second chicken we lost this month (the first was to Aleksie...oh well) and in the last month all three of my dogs now have been to the vet. It has been exhausting. And we will now need to postpone, if not cancel altogether our long planned trip to visit family and attend a festival in Pennysylvania for which we were leaving Monday. I am mostly just sharing now, though, because I seek the comfort of knowing there are other animal people out there who have been through this type of stress, and I know you will all be able to relate. So please send your healing thoughts to my precious Aleksie girl who turns 1 year this month and just a little peace to the boys and me. And kiss the wolfers for me and remind them that we haven't forgotten them and we'll be back as soon as the stars shift back into an alignment that makes my work as an animal mommy flow just a little tiny bit more smoothly. Thank you so much.
Lots of love to you all and all your animal babies, too.