4th Anniversary of Frankendog

(This post is not for the squeamish, but if you are a pet parent, you have probably seen something like this already and not so squeamish. Mom said she will put the most graphic photo at the end of the post, so the reader can prepare for it. ~Bella)

Have I got a tale for you! Woof!
These two photos were when we were on the way home following my procedure.
I was pretty alert!
April 16. 2019 marks the 4th anniversary of what mom and dad refer to as Frankendog Bella. In March of 2015, shortly after the majority of the partial home remodel was complete, mom and dad noticed a large cyst on my back. They were told to keep an eye out on it, but I'd had many cysts before, so they were not overly concerned. However, one day - a few days before I was to go to the vet to have the cyst aspirated - the cyst burst. The following day mom had dad take me to the emergency vet because I seemed lethargic and my back (where the cyst was located) was swollen.

The emergency vet determined that I had an infection and swelling from inflammation on my back, and made an assumption that it was likely from my microchip, as they could not find anything else that seemed to be the issue. They decided to do a quick surgery to remove the microchip, but then it was determined that I should have a tube inserted to create a drip for the inflammation. That was an unpleasant enough experience, for mom and dad at least, but the surgery went well, and recovery seemed to proceed nicely. I was doing so well, so quickly, in fact, that at one point I jumped up on the bed before I was supposed to and split a stitch. Mom had to bring me to our regular vet who put a few staples in to the main incision. After the drip tube was removed, the small incision on my side that had been created for that, seemed to be healing well also. The emergency vet had called with the results of the biopsy that they had done on the tissue they removed though, and it had come back suspicious. Mom and dad were referred a veterinary oncologist. I went to see the oncologist, but that was a bit of a waste (of time and money for mom and dad, but I always enjoy any extra attention and am not too bothered by vet stuff). The lab results were still suspicious enough, so it was determined that I should go back in for further surgery to make sure all of the margins were wide enough to remove any possible cancer.

I had been healing so well, and my bloodwork tested great for the additional surgery, so in I went on on this day in 2015. What a shock mom and dad - well, dad first - had when I was picked up following the procedure. I was doing great, but there were 44-45 stitches across my back! The emergency vet surgeon had called mom and dad to inform them that the surgery would be more extensive than at first realized, but mostly because they had to cut from one side of my back across to the other, to make sure they reopened the spot where the drainage tube had been. The surgeon had not been pleased that it had been inserted to begin with, and that a more extensive surgery had not been done at that time, but not much anyone could do about that now. They wanted to remove so much tissue with this surgery, that I would be losing an inch or so of neck ruff. What?! Actually, I had no idea what was going on, so I was still unbothered.

Mom and dad told me I was a trooper, and they took good care of me during my recovery. Up until this time (for my first five years with the family), I had been super healthy, with next to no issues, but things have changed a little bit since this surgery. The follow-up biopsy of the further tissue that was removed confirmed that I had a rare type of follicular cancer, but that all of the dangerous material had been removed. I would hope so, with a surgery that extensive! I healed relatively quickly, although mom did fret over my incision, and was a bit nervous about keeping it clean and me from popping any staples. Actually, I healed a little quickly, because the skin appeared to have healed over a couple of staples by the time it came to remove them. All of my hair eventually grew back, and though mom and dad know what the slight bump on one side of my back means, nobody seeing me now would know I had such an extensive surgery. My sisters were lucky it was not one of them! They both had such short fur, that a scar would have been much more noticeable.

So here is the Frankendog photo mom posted on social media. Well, the original post may have been in black & white, but she is showing full-color here. Hopefully this story has been long enough (though mom has decided she did not want to go in as much detail as she had originally planned, because it was much more difficult to reminisce over than she had imagined.) Mom thinks she'll come back and add some more detail and a bit more to the story, but she had already decided that the anniversary of this surgery would be the story for today, so she had nothing else prepared.

I was soooooo not bothered.
Showing off my battle wound to my sisters!
On the top of the photo is the point at which they started the stitches and
bumpy from gathering the skin together there. They had to go almost
all the way across and down to the other side to end up at the previous incision for the drainage tube.
I don't mind writing about my surgery, or showing off my photos. I even still loved the vet after this. I just love people - dog-loving people - giving me attention. In fact, today, mom let me hang out with the HVAC techs who were at the house doing some work, and I got some extra pets from them. Mom said I was very well-behaved.

Woof! 
Bella 


I was maybe feeling a little more tired and grumpy later, when the after-surgery pain meds
were winding down and before I got a new dose. Curled up in the crate with a t-shirt to cover
the staples, because a cone-of-shame was too tricky to wear.

The two photos above, are my sister Mocha, testing out the crate situation while
I was at the surgery. All three of us were crate-trained, so never minded going in,
but Mocha did not like being shut in the crate, and she made a big fuss if anyone tried
to close the crate door. 
 
I think mom was getting a bit teary-eyed sentimental, because she is including this photo.
They sent this blanket from home with me for my surgery, and this is how the vet
returned it to them. Banded with my name, and luckily not too filthy.




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