Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beauty is a Beast!

In order to get that fierce guard dog look that is so classic for a Doberman, tails and ears are trimmed while they are very young puppies.  Then, their naturally floppy ears, must be splinted until healed so they are erect.  In the past that splint has been external and required almost a full taping of the dogs head to keep it in place for 6 weeks.  More recently, a system was developed to use a stent internally which, after healing, is removed via a single tiny incision.

Our boys got stents before we ever picked them up from the breeder.

And I was pretty sold on this method.  It's clean, neat and only requires us to tape the very tips of their ears *if* they flopped.  Both of Lightning's, and one of Thunder's, ear tips flopped.  And keeping tape on them has been difficult.  I couldn't imagine having to do the whole external splint and tape the whole ear thing.

But now that's changed...

In their 'boys will be boys' rough housing, one of Lightning's stents broke through the skin on Sunday evening.  I think it bothered us more than it bothered him but we dutifully made the appointment to have the vet remove it.  They couldn't take him until Thursday morning so we've had to just watch him and feel bad about it for a couple of days now.  When we got out of bed for the first potty run Tuesday morning, I noticed it wasn't just broken skin but an inch or so of stent poking out.  By the time I got him back in the house and cornered only about an inch and a half of the stent were left inside his ear.  I bit the bullet and pulled it out.

This is what it looks like.  The stent is a piece of semi-flexible plastic much like fishing line, or what you use in a string trimmer for the lawn, but it's heavier.

Now we've got about 3 weeks of externally taping his ear so it will hold its shape.  And he's a royal pain in the backside about it.  He fights about holding still to get the tape put on and then thrashes about trying to find a way to get it off.  And then his brother helps him with his predicament...  Thunder bites his ear and pulls the tape off sending me running to pull it out of his mouth before he swallows.

And I don't really know what I'm doing when I try to tape it so I'm finding it to be a real ordeal.

I wish there wouldn't have been issues with the stent.  If that had gone smoothly I'd have no hesitations about it.  But one of Thunder's twisted so he has an ear that sits at a bit of a wonky angle (we hope it will straighten when the stent is removed) and then all this mess with Lightning's ear...it gives me doubts.  I'm truly not sure what I'd choose to do if I could get a do-over!

And this is the sad way he comes out looking.

For the 10 minutes the tape lasts...


Julie Newman said...

I guess them worst that could happen is they have cute floppy ears!

Unknown said...

fantastic post. i love it.
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