Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Taking care of business (or the art of almost puking)

Today, I saw a raised black spot on my hound doggie’s inner leg. It was shaped like a watermelon seed and blackish. The raised, lumpy look of the dot caught my eye in the first place and upon initial inspection, it felt kind of hard and appeared firmly attached to her leg. My first thought: my pooch picked up a tick. Major EEWWW. I’ve never had the luxury of seeing a tick attached to anything, so after a vigorous hand-washing, I hopped online to get some information.

Not finding any photos of actual ticks attached to any being, I did find an abundance of information about what to look for when you suspect that watermelon seed attached to your dog might actually be a blood-sucking arachnid. 1) Resembles a watermelon seed—check. 2) Engorged—check. 3. Attached close to the skin—check. 4) Brownish or black in color—check. By this point, my skin was crawling. I hauled my oversized flashlight out from under the kitchen sink, donned some latex gloves and began examining the site further. I saw something right under the skin, attaching the seed to my dog. This fit with the information I read.

The concurring online opinions outlined taking a pair of tweezers and gently pulling the tick free. What if I was wrong? My dog is prone to skin tags, so concern about being wrong and pulling at a damaged skin tag flip-flopped in my belly, churning up sea foam. If I didn’t do anything, I might endanger her health further. This foreign object was fresh on the canine-parent radar screen; really, the quicker I dealt with it, the less likely my baby dog would contract any illnesses.

After a failed attempt at reaching my husband by phone ( he’s seen attached ticks before—closest thing to a resident expert I had at hand), I decided to act. I swabbed around the seedling with some rubbing alcohol, as the multiple online experts advised, being careful to not cover the black thingie. After swabbing, I let my hound doggie rest on the back porch while I gathered my supplies. Since she’s a wussie disguised as a 115-pound canine, it’s best to do any first aid in stages, or you’ll find yourself on the losing end of a greased hog wrestling match.

Tweezers, rubbing alcohol in a glass jar, latex gloves and flashlight in tow, I approached my de-ticking subject. To my horror, her leg was now covered with blood and missing the watermelon seed. I’ve dealt with wounds before—four kids insure that a mother will get the chance encounter with road rash, cuts and scraped knees. Never have I felt so alone and helpless as I did facing my dog’s leg covered in blood. I vacillated between wanting to puke and faint. Think—what do I do to make it better?

Stop the bleeding—I needed to stop the bleeding. I grabbed an old kitchen towel and tied a tourniquet around her leg. Okay, it was more like a loose bandage wrapped around an earthworm, because she wouldn’t stop wiggling, but it did the job.

Woozy, I phoned my husband again. I told him what I did, and he said to take it off and gently shave the area around the wound, so I could clean it up and apply a bandage with Neosporin on it. Duh—I know that, but couldn’t think clearly.

As I look at my slightly hairier pants, after trying to wrestle with my dog, disposable razor in hand, I’m feeling quite blue that I balked in this small emergency situation. Yeah, she’s fine now, all cleaned up and lounging on the back porch like all happy hound dogs like to do. The miniature crisis is over. I dealt with it, but I receive a failing grade for being unable to deal with it alone.


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