Amber the Poodle has spent the last week sulking under our bed. The reason? She’s stuck in a big plastic Cone of Shame and isn’t allowed to lick or groom her back end, after surgery to fix her chronic UTI issue.
We have yet to figure out how she manages to get under the bed with the Cone of Shame on, but she does. Standard Poodles are smart and wily creatures.
If you’re new here, Amber is our Standard Poodle who has had a UTI every month since we adopted her last fall. We’d treat her for the UTI, and then about 10 days after the antibiotic had ended, she’d start having accidents in the house again. The vet would run new tests, and each time the UTI had returned.
We initially had a lot of frustration when Amber had accidents in the house, but we slowly learned that they coincided with the onset of each UTI. Fortunately, Amber has now learned to run up and nudge us when she needs to go out, and we’ve been accident free for at least 2 months.
Amber is less than 2 years old, so we wanted to identify and fix the root of the problem rather than constantly treating the symptoms with antibiotics. Chronic antibiotic use leads to resistance, which is both more expensive and harder on Amber in the long run.
A veterinary surgeon and an internal medicine specialist determined that Amber’s vulva was not shaped quite right, and bacteria could be getting trapped inside because of it. They also did an abdominal ultrasound and a scope in the urethra but found no internal issues.
Following this, Amber had episioplasty surgery, which is basically plastic surgery to fix the external shape of things. She’s got an ugly incision curving up one leg and down the other, but things seem to be in a better place now.
When pets recover from surgery it’s hard on the whole household. Amber is confused upset about the Cone of Shame, and she doesn’t understand why she isn’t allowed to run and play. We had to put her on an anti-anxiety / sedative drug to keep her calm.
When I worked for the veterinary surgeon, I saw so many pets come back for expensive fixes because they had torn their initial stitches out from licking and biting at them. That experience helps me stay strong when Amber is desperate to get the cone off her head and run around. Fortunately we only have 6 more days to go.
Amber may still have leaking from incontinence, but apparently injections of collagen can help with that. At least we’ve gotten the major surgery out of the way.
After the thousands we have spent on Amber in just 6 months, I’m really wishing we’d gotten pet insurance for her as soon as we adopted her. Lesson learned for next time!