Howdy ladies and gents, this post is going to go over our journey with Mickey and how we got to last Saturday, September 21st, 2019, with Mickey in surgery. While I was going through this whole process, the resources I found seemed so limited and it made everything more intimidating than I think it really needed to be. I also was running on fear, because most of the resources that exist seem to exist as a ‘worst case scenario’ example or they exist for medical purposes and that’s really just not what I needed to see.
I’m going to include some before and after photos here so that if all you wanted to see are the pictures, you can just see those.
Mickey is our almost three years old rescue, I’ll leave a link to the post where we got him here because I love seeing those puppy pictures. I’ve written about him before since he came to us with a myriad of health issues, a link to that post will be in here… and also in here… He’s had health issues since day 1 and it was actually enlightening for me to go back and read those posts because our vet didn’t believe me when I said, “These are problems he’s had since we got him.”
We also went ahead and had the dog’s DNA tested for their breed a few months after we got Mickey because we were concerned about genetic problems he could have and we discovered that he is 100% snugglebutt. Just kidding, he’s predominately Rottweiler and a bunch of other mixed breeds that equal a strong, but lazy, pup. Learning his breed didn’t really help with anything at the time but it’s helped us since then.
About a year after we got him we noticed that he was itching his eyes and squinting a lot. We asked our vet about it and he said that it was just ‘how some dogs are.’ He alluded to Mickey being predominately a pitbull (he’s not and this isn’t even a predominately pitbull problem) and when I tried to get some clarification, tried explaining the breed test we’d had done, the subject was changed. Fast forward about six months and we brought him back in (probably for another vaccination or something) and the same vet says, “Oh I think he has entropion, yeah he’ll need surgery for that.”
He told me I needed to wait for a follow-up to ask more questions and that they would call me in a few days. Needless to say, this particular doctor and I did not get along. I never got a follow-up from him and when I called the vet office back to ask questions they said there was no record of Mickey having this issue.
Hit the fast forward button again and we’re bringing them in, this was in June of this year, and we have a new doctor coming in the check on the dogs and she says, “Do you see that he has entropion?” I’d forgotten that it had ever been brought up before and I said, “Yeah, they told me that’s just how his eyes are…”
She explained what entropion actually is and here’s all I know about it: The muscles in the eyelids cause the skin to roll in. It’s usually a genetic issue but there can be other (more dangerous) reasons that this happens. If this issue is caught when the dog is very young they can usually tack down the skin against the muscle to prevent the entropion from developing at all. Once the puppies are older, they have to get surgery to correct the problem, this involves cutting away some of the eyelid and stitching it back in place so it is not rolled in towards the eye.
I’ll put in a picture here from VCA that illustrates what entropion is:
The reason that entropion is a problem: When the eyelid rolls in all those eyelashes and short little face furs are rubbing against the eye. When the puppy gets itchy, they will scratch their eyes, squint, or blink aggressively to reduce the uncomfortable feeling. If you scratched your eye multiple times a day, the chance that you’ll end up poking yourself in the eye increases. Same for the puppy. Also, those little furs (because not all dogs have hair) can be sharp and they can cause abrasions on the eye which can get infected. Your puppy can develop a host of other problems if the entropion is left untreated.
Obviously, we wanted to get Mickey taken care of as soon as possible. He squints a lot and scratches his face obnoxiously, we just believed what the vet had told us, that ‘it’s just how he is’ and looking back we should have taken him to another vet to get a second opinion. After some back and forth with the vet office they called and said they could get him in on Saturday, since they’d had a cancellation in their surgery schedule. This was on Wednesday. I still had no answers about the recovery time for this surgery, what to expect as far as the cost for this procedure, the pre-operation tests… And not knowing what to expect made me so incredibly uncomfortable.
I tried doing research but people seem to be in one of two camps, either “my dog didn’t have any issues!” with no details regarding the surgery, or “look how terrifying my dog looks now that they’ve had surgery!” again, with no details other than they’d been botched. I was absolutely sick to my stomach thinking about what would happen to Mickey if I didn’t take him to a doggy optometrist.
I’ve taken all of my pets to this one particular vet office, they have all of his records there, I wanted to at least get more information. So I went in on Friday to do his pre-surgery tests and get some more information. The tests were relatively simple. As a matter of fact, they were the same exact eye tests that I do when I go to the eye doctor. They tested his tear production, eye pressure, and then they dyed his eyes and checked for any kind of tears in his corneas, ulcers, other growths, etc. The vet was very confident and she assured me that this is a common procedure they do quite often and she didn’t forsee any issues with him. The total for those tests was about $90.
While the vet was in the room, I asked about his paws, they get very dry and cracked and then he licks and chews them raw. I’ve used coconut oil in the past but it never seems to really work. She poked around a little bit and told me that she thinks he has a skin infection because of some bumps he has on his chest and inner thighs. I told her that those bumps have been around his entire life and one doctor told us they were allergies after we did a round of antibiotics when he was a puppy. I don’t think she believed me but I read one of those old posts and we definitely had issues with his skin a few weeks after we got him. She also noticed that he was limping. This is a huge issue that I’ll discuss in a later post but basically, we think he ruptured his ACL, or CCL in a dog, and he needs orthopedic surgery. We’re trying to bump up the closing of our house so that we can move a few weeks early and get that surgery done in Texas.
The vet clinic originally quoted me around $700 for the entropion surgery, not counting the $90 for the tests. And every time I asked about recovery, I was given a completely different time frame. One girl said maybe a week, another girl said they’re fine the next day, the vet didn’t say anything. In hindsight, I should have thought, this is surgery, he isn’t going to be okay in one day. But I really didn’t know what to think and I assumed that in maybe a week, he would be okay.
After the surgery I came to pick him up and he was acting kind of normal. They told me that they suspect he has a bacterial infection so he got antibiotics, he also had radiographs done on his back legs and they referred me to an orthopedic surgeon for that. And yeah. It was a lot to take in right then.
Then they said that he has to wear a cone for at least 10 days, he’s on full cage rest, and that he has to go back to get his sutures removed (they didn’t tell me how much that will be). I ended up paying almost $1100 when I picked him up. Honestly, his health and happiness, comfort and well-being come before anything. Same goes for Lucy. I love them so much and I would do anything to make sure they’re going to live as long as possible.
Mickey weighs just about 80 pounds so him going under anesthesia was very nerve-wracking for me. The only pet that I’ve had (that was my pet, that I loved as much as I love my dogs) lived to practically 100 years and she never had surgery. My mom has had to put her dog under a few times recently so I knew that he would be okay but I just couldn’t stop worrying. It took about four days for him to really start acting like himself, around day three I was getting concerned but I figured it was just the cone making him act funny… But today we’re on day six post surgery and he’s definitely back to himself.
The sutures near his eyes don’t look ANYTHING like the pictures I’d seen in my initial research, those photos were scary. He has six stitches, three on each side, and they did shave around his eyes a bit for the surgery so it’s not like they’re hidden in his dark fur. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect out of this surgery and every dog is going to be different, but I think we really had a best case scenario with him and I’m so excited to wake up to see his bright, happy eyes, staring at me every morning!
He’s still on antibiotics and painkillers and now he’s on a joint supplement, and we have to get more information from an orthopedic surgeon and there are so many question marks that still exist but at least this is taken care of. It’s certainly been a lot this month and it just seems to keep on coming, but we’re trying to stay positive and make the best of every situation.
Have you had a dog get entropion surgery? Is there a question about the surgery you want answered, I’d be happy to answer as best I can!
Until next time – Xx
PS. I’m going to put a Lucy picture here too because she’s just so cute. I was trying to get a picture of her but she just sat on my foot.