Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Emergency Surgery

Poor little Harley dog. 

He is recuperating nicely, flying high on pain pills and antibiotics. 

My wonderful loving playful puppy who has shared my wheel estate for three years this May suddenly became wildly aggressive, snapping and snarling. 

Out of the wild blue yonder. 

It was scary. What's even worse, I couldn't figure out what was wrong with him.  It was as if the devil had suddenly possessed him. 

Sadly this strange erratic behavior has randomly happened over the past few weeks of travel. We would be playing or cuddling or putting his sweater on when suddenly he would turn on me (or my friend) as if we were stabbing him with a hot red poker. It made me feel awful. 

Repeated checks of his body revealed nothing. Then yesterday, he woke up shivering. I went to put his sweater on, sliding it over his head,  when he snapped at me. It freaked me out. His eyes glazed over.  He snapped and snarled at both me and my visiting friend. We were puzzled, insulted and hurt. 

Harley sort of calmed down long enough for me to give him a treat, then I put his tiny muzzle on. I bought this for emergencies, in case he was ever injured or needed medical care. While he didn't seem to mind the muzzle much, one touch of him sent him into snarls and growls. 

Frightened by his actions, we unhooked the umbilical cords from the RV, driving into town. I wanted to see and chat with a potential new veterinarian before I trusted my little buddy to their ministrations. 

By now Harley was happy go lucky as if nothing in the world bothered him at all. That is until the vet looked in his right ear. 

He snarled and snapped as if he planned to take her arm off.  Out came my tiny muzzle. Back on it went. He continued to snarl and growl working himself into a tizzy.

The vet found "something" in his ear that required immediate surgery.  Harley needed to be anesthetized.  They left us alone for a few minutes.  I murmured sweet nothings  to my pooch, gently stroking his fur.  He calmed down. I took a deep breath, fighting back tears, as the vet's assistant returned to cart my poor little puppy off.  

We left the animal hospital. Many long hours later, the vet called. Harley was recuperating nicely. The vet had found a horrible little plant deep in Harley's ear. It had several razor blade sharp prickly needles.  This was buried deep in his ear, puncturing his ear drum and the sides of his ear too.  The pain must have been excruciating whenever we unwittingly touched near the area. 

It's a huge mystery how or when he picked up this plant. Based on his erratic behavior it may have been weeks ago. He only occasionally snarled and snapped, it was certainly not a routine event. But as the plant worked it's way deeper into his ear it must have made his life painful.  I am so sad and embarrassed that I didn't rush him to a vet sooner. I just had no idea. 

The doc saved the tiny offending plant for me to see. I will try to photograph it when I get organized again. There are many prickly plants, wildflowers, cacti and so on. It may be hard to identify. 

I would have never noticed it buried so deep in his ear. It was tiny too, but powerful enough to do some damage. 

She gave us pain pills and antibiotics for two weeks.  Harley was thrilled to see me come pick him up. The assistant happened to be walking him outside when I arrived.  

We got back to camp. I fed him chicken and cheese laced with his meds. For about twenty minutes he danced and played then the pain meds took over. Now he is resting comfortably, wrapped in his blanket, tucked into his little puppy bed.

I don't have the heart to snap his cute wittle picture while he is resting. Poor little fellow has had a rough time. 


  1. oh, little Harley and oh, you! that was a nightmare! so glad you found what was bothering him and got it fixed ... little guy... sniff

  2. oh my! poor little thing. Glad he is on the road to recovery :)

  3. You couldn't have known. He knows how lucky he is to have you. So glad he is fine and on the mend.

  4. so very sorry....please don't be too hard on yourself. Think of it as a learning experience. I become ill when one of my dogs is. I am a nurse and imagine all sorts of horrible things. Sometimes I am right....25 years of having the same breed....I am so blessed for their love.

  5. Poor Monkey. Hope he heals quick and forgets the pain and suffering he must have experienced.

    The Troutman

  6. Awe, it had to be really hard with his disposition, but at least now you have an answer to what the problem was. I doubt you could have located this thing yourself. Even as a dog groomer, I'd might not have noticed it if it wasn't visible, which it sounds like it had gone pretty far down the ear canal. He'll be feeling great in a day or two with the antibiotics doing their thing. He's a lucky little guy to have you! As are you to have him :-)

  7. That was probably a sand spur in his ear. They grow every where here in Florida. Usually they get them in their footpads. With Harley's fur they will stick about any where. If he has been running around in the grass a nightly inspection would be in order. Glad to know that he is on the mend.


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