On Saturday, April 17, 2004, my Patches, an 11 year old Greyhound who's been with me for over 6 years, was attacked and injured severely by her housemates, three other Greyhounds and a Whippet. She also lives with a Borzoi, but I have faith that Nadya was not involved for various reasons.
My daughter was home at the time while I was at work, but she was in the shower and didn't hear the fight break out in the yard. As soon as she discovered what had happened, she called me at work (which is 45 minutes away from home). I told her to call my friend and landlady, Carroll to help until I got home. I had forgotten that Carroll was at the home of our adoption group rep to help receive and clean the new adoptable dogs coming from the track. Eventually, Carroll came home, my daughter reached her and she arrived before I did. She called me on my cell phone as I was flying home in my van. I asked Carroll, "How bad is it?" I got the answer I expected, but didn't want to hear.....It's.......BAD!"
Carroll called the local veterinarian's who were not in on a Saturday afternoon, but they have a number for a vet's office in New York State 45 minutes away from us available on their machine. Carroll called them and made arrangements for our arrival their approximately and hour and a half later.
When I finally arrived at home, I saw Patches lying in a crate with a huge triangular flap torn into the back of her neck which extended nearly from jaw to jaw. She also had a large rip on her left buttock and I saw several smaller wounds on and near her ears.
We got her into the car and headed out to the Animal Care Hospital in Vestal NY where we saw Doctor Beaulieu, the vet on duty for emergency care. She examined Patches and determined that there were only about two wounds out of the fifteen or so that she would suture, leaving the less severe ones to air dry and drain on their own.
She was more worried about Paches age coupled with the obvious bacteria in the wounds causing infection and dehydration. She admitted her to the hospital and immediately placed her on pain killers and IV fluids and antibiotics.
I went home with my heart in my hands and waited for any news that might come. There were no phone calls that night or early the next morning, so I took that as "No news is good news". At 9:00 Sunday morning, I called the hospital and asked for a progress report. They told me that she was doing very well and could come home whenever I came to pick her up.
When they brought her out to me, I saw that there was a shunt for drainage installed in the neck wound and the muscle damage on the buttock was repaired and sutured, along with the front leg wound and the top of her head, all sutured. Apparently Dr. Beaulieu decided there was more stitching needed than she had first estimated.
The shunt will come out in a few days and maybe by then Patches will feel more like her old self.
The strangest thing about this whole thing is that it isn't the first time this same thing has happened to Patches! About five years ago, she was attacked and injured by one of my foster dogs. That episode resulted in 173 sutures over nine seperate wounds. Below there are pictures of her wounds after this surgery. Be warned...they are NOT pretty!
Head and ears from the right side. Both ears have extensive superficial wounds and teeth marks.
From the left side. Notice top of head is sutured while wound on top and behind ears are left open to drain.
Inside left front leg at the chest - This wound was also stitched and has caused a great deal of edema in her lower leg. There is also a long superficial wound on the inside of her right leg.
Right buttock - This wound was a superficial bite just right of her tail. There was another just about like it inside of her upper right thigh, near her belly.
Muscle damage in the left buttock - This one was deep and had partially detached the muscle inside her buttock. Dr. Beaulieu did an admirable job repairing this horrific damage.
The following are the wounds on her head, ears and neck.- Notice the ear tears and rips which were superficial enough to allow to air dry and heal on their own.
One on her shoulder, the neck wound with shunt and large and small wounds on and behind her ears.
I was trying to get a shot of the top of Patch's head when she looked up at me. I caught one eye, but noticed the tears falling from this poor old gal's eye and decided to include the shot here.
I call it, "Patchie Cries"
The awful horrible neck wound with shunt.
The awful horrible neck wound with shunt and the shoulder wound.
Left side with shunt.
Patchie' brand new bed. Sometimes it DOES pay to be very nearly killed by your sisters!
Close up of left shunt. Notice the open wound just behind her ear.
Close up of right shunt. More wounds inside and on the back of her ears and also another large one behind this ear like the one behind the left.
Here we are, one month later and I took some pix to show Patches' progress. All she needs now is to grow back some hair and quit that itchin'!! Poor thing is rubbing her neck on everything she can find. My fingers are near worn out from scratching her, but I don't mind a bit. Her recuperative powers are absolutely amazing!!!
Head and ears all fixed up!
Here's that awful, horrible neck wound without the shunt and sutures.
This healing is particularly impressive in that about three days after she came home, Patches licked or chewed the sutures out of her leg and this was a gaping, cavernous wound that was actually a long hole that disappeared down between the muscle and skin that I had to flush out with saline several times a day. She didn't like it, but it certainly did the trick!
For Pictures and the story of the first attack, click on Next