Thursday last I set out on a walk with CapMan, the FunDog. He was jauntily leading in his normal lateral two-beat gait, with a slight hitch right hind. I pulled him up with a “Heel!” and watched alongside and saw the gimp step again. “Back we go, dude.” We turned right around and ambled back up the hill toward home.
Inside Cappy offered his paws, one at a time, and I found the source of the limp; left hind pad had a quarter-sized hole in it. The flaming red epidermis looked angry at having to be exposed to the macadem, but there was no blood, no puncture, no oozing or sign of infection. With a calmness that only my middle-aged self could bring to an injury I ticked off a list of protocols: flush dirt and debris, cover with clean bandage, reduce activity to potty breaks.
No need for a vet trip while Doc K is around!
No need for a vet trip while Doc K is around! No, ma’am! After one hour I saw the glitch in my plan. Covering a dog’s paw to allow even reduced activity is not quite as simple as it sounds. The 4″ sterile gauze pad that served as the base cover shifted when I covered it with a plastic bag secured by vet wrap, aggravating the newly exposed pad. The second try at this homemade bootie fell right off when the FunDog disobeyed my “Go Potty” to run flat out after a squirrel.
Out came the betadine shampoo from Barnmom Days, and a swish in the orange water later the foot was clean, Cappy was grumpy, and I was wracking my brain for better bootie construction methods.
What would Cindy of Attiva Barn do? Yes! That is IT!
One trip to the grocery and pet stores got me dinner and bootie construction supplies–a bag of premie diapers and an armload of vet wrap. While dinner simmered I implemented Plan D, for Diaper-Covered-Dog-Paw. I placed Cappy’s clean, dry hind foot in the middle of the wee little diaper, pulled the front up and over his toes, untaped the right sticky tab and crossed it over and down the pastern. As I thought, “Wow, they have really improved these disposables!” I untaped the left sticky and crossed it up and over the pastern. Cappy gazed at me, then his foot; after sniffing the cotton-covered-club he looked back with a “And you are doing what now?” The vet wrap zipped and stuck like a charm as I wound a piece in a simple figure eight.
Cappy followed me outside, pausing every few steps to hitch up his hind leg and stare. The bootie survived his wish for its destruction and even survived the potty trip. Now I had to revise the activity reduction scheme, because even the improved bootie could not reduce the chafing to the raw skin as Cappy romped with Luci.
I went back to WWAD (What Would Attiva Do?) Next potty trip Cappy went alone, on leash. Not happy. Too bad. The next wound check revealed a dry foot, perspiration through the pad being absorbed by the little wee diap and damp ground kept out by secure vet wrap; and the injured pad was a much lighter shade of red. No infection, reduced irritation, dry foot=environment for healing!!
No, ma’am. No need for a vet when Doc K is around!
I used my bootie and leash for the remainder of the weekend, becoming quite skillful in applying a diaper to a moving target and wrapping the vet wrap–not too tight!– to end at the top of his pastern. (As one would think, having vet wrap end under his foot is an invitation to watch a bootie unravel. D’oh!)
After this morning’s potty trips in the rain, I removed the bootie to find a dry foot pad, with a definite extra layer of epidermis over the wounded skin. Life is amazing. A healthy body’s ability to regenerate skin and foot pad is amazing.
And I helped!