For those of us that have pets, we know that it is very likely we will outlive them; that we will see them through the stages of life, which will likely include illness and disease. You adopt an animal, you spay/neuter, you vaccinate, you feed her/him the healthiest food option available, you take her/him to the vet when something just doesn’t seem right. You do everything you’re supposed to do. Then one day, you find a lump and freak out.
The first time I notice a small bump on my dog, I assumed it was cancer and her life was over. I knew I couldn’t afford all of the extensive treatments that this would require. Fortunately, I have a friend who is a vet so I rushed her to him. The vet friend took a look and said it was “likely nothing to worry about” but I should monitor it and if it grows or changes, to let him know. I felt confident in his assessment; that it was no big deal. In the back on my mind I kept thinking, “I should probably take her to the vet and spend lots of money just to rule out everything, BUT I can’t really afford that and friend vet says it’s okay…” My background has educated me on “what to freak out about” and what matters I can “assess and then seek professional advice if things don’t improve,” so I went with that. Other friends suggested I get a biopsy, pay for a vet visit, really look in to it further. I trusted my vet friend’s advice and shut down the voices saying I should do more.
We continued through life and the bump continued to grow. “Ugh, crud. This might be more than I expected. Maybe the vet was wrong. Maybe it is cancer.” My anxiety increased and I would ask any animal person I knew, “What do you think this is?”; still not wanting to pay a few hundred dollars for an actual vet appointment, still trying to convince myself that the vet friend was right, it’s just a fatty cyst or something. I took her back to him again, for a free evaluation, and he insisted it wasn’t anything to worry about.
As I was packing to head to Vegas, I looked over at my dog’s back and saw that she had a huge HOLE in her back, where the bump used to be. There were white chunky things coming out of it. “OMG!!! She’s infested with maggots!!” I called my friend, “My dog is dying and being eaten by maggots, I don’t think I’m going to make the flight.” I lost my composure and immediately rushed her to the emergency vet. She seemed fine, looking at me like, “Um, why are you freaking out?” I looked back at her and was like, “Um, because you have HUGE GAPING HOLE in your back that is leaking white CHUNKS!” She didn’t get it and was annoyed at the fact that we were at the vet and not the park.
We arrived at the vet, where an RVT was like, “No worries, we’ve got this.” Turns out it was just an hugely impacted hair follicle. The white stuff? Just sebum, dead gross stuff, and pus. Not maggots, go figure. In hind-sight, I probably should have just taken her to the vet, spent some money, and known what exactly was happening.
Have you ever discovered something on your dog that ended up being a much more minor issue than you expected?