Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bandaging 102

Well, most of you know how I feel about bandaging (scroll down to Bandaging 101 if you don't). I won't be modest. I do a fantastic job at bandaging, so I am somewhat of a bandage snob. I am tired of paying vets $20 or more for a mediocre bandaging job that I have to redo when I get home. To me, it seems that bandaging should be an easy skill for any vet or vet tech to master. If I am going to trust you to cut open my dog, lop off a toe, or stick needles into them, I would assume I can trust you to bandage. So here is my latest bandage gripe.

As you know, Stacker has a busted toe. Stephen and I felt it needed to be x-rayed. Our regular vet couldn't get us in quick enough, so we opted to go to a vet that could. If it was broken, there is a chance that enough calcification will occur to hold the toe in place. If it is dislocated, there is not much you can do to save it and amputation affords the dog the quickest recovery. The toe was not broken, but since it was a middle, weight bearing toe, Stephen wanted to approach it cautiously and get all the facts first. The vet also wanted to reduce swelling and take another x-ray a few days later.

In the meanwhile the vet put a splint on Stacker. I have never used a splint, so I left it to the expert and did not do any of the bandage changes myself.

Well, Stacker's second x-ray was completed and the splint was changed in the back room without giving Stephen the opportunity to see for himself. Lesson #1, ask to see the leg between bandage changes. You would not think this is necessary, but obviously it is. Vets love for you to drop your dog off for a bandage change. Don't. I would suggest making an appointment so you can witness the event.

The vet sought the opinion of a specialist who said if its not better in 2 weeks, it needs to be amputated. We were closing in on 2 weeks, so Stephen and I removed the splint ourselves for a look.

Not only was the toe not better, but his leg was swollen from toes to hock. Large patches of hair had been waxed off by the tape applied to his skin. AND he had a HORRIBLE rub spot. "Rub spot" is a complete understatement. The splint caused a wound so deep that we believe we can actually see the bone. Needless to say, we are upset about this. We paid $130 for expert bandaging/splinting and he was actually injured significantly from it. We will be asking for a refund.

The toe was removed Friday and I will be handling the bandages from here on out. His leg looks much better already. Kudos to Dr. Toby Carmichael who sent him home with a wrap after the amputation. I probably could have left his bandage for a couple of days, but my untrusting nature insisted that I redo it the next day. The wounds needed some air time anyway. So Dr. Toby gets a thumbs up for his wrap job.