Saturday, September 26
Sigmund's Horrible Adventure (graphic photos!)
Sigmund had his neuter surgery this week, and the day following the surgery, his foster mom noticed that his scrotum had filled with fluid and his legs seemed swollen. She took him in to the vet and was reassured that some dogs, usually big dogs, can have that reaction and to apply warm compresses.
The next day, Sigmund's legs were more swollen and his penis and scrotum were very red, so his foster mom returned to the vet and Sigmund was admitted.
this photo was taken by the surgeon just before Siggie's second surgery
After a number of tests and consultations, and surgery to release the fluid and infection from the scrotum, the vet's opinion was that in the 12-18 hours prior to his neuter surgery, Sigmund had been bitten on the lower abdomen or penis by a venomous spider: most likely a brown recluse.
He spent two days in ICU, receiving intravenous anti-biotic and care for the necrotizing tissue on his abdomen and penis. He is back with his foster mom now, and he is doing quite well. He will likely lose a good bit of tissue, whether only the skin or some deeper tissue or even the urinary tract remains to be seen.
We have all heard stories about brown recluse spiders--they live all across this continent--and there are horrifying images to be found all over the Internet with awful stories to go with them. We want to discuss two things as a consequence of this experience with Sigmund:
1. If you think there is something wrong with your dog, do not allow yourself to be brushed off. If your vet tries to brush you off, get a different vet. In this case, our foster mom relied on her instinct and experience and took Sigmund back in and insisted that they look at him again. Her insistence saved his life.
2. As much as we may trust that spiders are our friends and they are part of our home's micro-ecosystem, we plan to make our home inhospitable to brown recluse spiders. That means that we will use giant plastic bins to contain our keepsakes, rather than brown paper boxes. We will install small lights in the areas where we store things.
We'll be vacuuming more often under our beds and along the walls and corners. Much as we like the way bedskirts look, we are getting rid of them.
We are going to be looking for places that will allow the little nasties to get in, like cracks in the foundation, loose screens or unsealed doors and windows.
And we'll tidy up our garage and storage areas, sweeping out and around things that have been sitting for a long time, pitching those old boxes we haven't used, and organizing stuff that clutters up the foundation, like old cordwood, garden tools or hoses. One website suggests changing the outdoor lights on the house to yellow lights, since yellow lights repel the kinds of bugs brown recluses like to eat.
If your place is like the Frog Princess's place, you've got some dusty old dog crates piled up in the garage, maybe some boxes of magazines you've been meaning to take to the recycling place, some half-empty cans of paint and other kinds of detritus that has been awaiting the right weekend afternoon to get something done with it. The brown recluse likes to hide in all that stuff--it's a reclusive little critter--and getting rid of it, or making it less attractive by cleaning it and storing it somewhere tidy and cold will help discourage them from taking up residence in your house, garage, storage, or carport.
We'll keep you posted on poor Sigmund's progress, but let his predicament be a spur to your impulse to get rid of that junk in your garage. And be sure to wear long pants, good shoes and gloves while you are loading it up, advises
The Frog Princess