Before Christmas, she developed a small, unsightly growth on her head - it kept getting knocked so it would often bleed and look red and sore. It wasn't helped by dh mentioning Cronenberg movies and tendrils growing out (bleugh). So I took her to the vet's to make sure it wasn't anything sinister. "Nah, that's just a wart" he tells me, but he was bored (quiet surgery) so proceeds to talk me into getting her spayed: Don't you know that 30-40% of unspayed bitches get pyometria, which can be life threatening? And, if an unspayed bitch gets a mammary tumour, it's more likely to be carcinogenic? And I'd rather do an elective operation now than an emergency op. in the middle of the night in three years time. What could I say? I booked her in the following week.
I think the vet regretted talking me into it: she fought the anaesthetic, taking double the normal dose to put her under (that's my gal!) - and then her consciousness fluctuated hugely during the op. which was quite tricky to manage. Then she bled when a ligament tore (he blamed this on her being slightly overweight!) - the entire operation took an hour and a half, instead of the usual 40 minutes. At least he removed the offending wart.
When I went to pick her up that evening, a more stressed dog you cannot imagine. She was panting so much she was covered in drool. She had a pressure bandage on which was red elastoplast with white cotton wool sticking out around the edges, kind of like a Santa costume. She had shaved areas on both forelegs and her head where the wart had been. She looked very sad. Feed her a light diet tonight, was the instructions, and I was given three weeks worth of pain killers. The whole lot came to three hundred quid or thereabouts (swoon - just before christmas!).
By that evening, she wasn't drooling anymore, but she still seemed very uncomfortable and her respiratory rate remained high. I tried tempting her with breast of chicken. Syd looked very interested, but Tilly rolled her eyes and turned up her nose. So, I tried smelly cheese of the stilton variety: nope, not a chance. This was unheard of - a labrador refusing food! I was very concerned and gave her lots of cuddles and strokes.
By the next morning, she was fully recovered, and looking for the chicken breast. The pain killers really helped her arthritis too. I took her bandage off after three days - some thoughtless vet nurse had stuck the elastoplast over two of her nipples (ouch). Taking her stitches out was a bit more difficult because it tickled. I'm pleased to report she's now completely recovered and back to her normal self - with a just few more grey hairs, no doubt. At least the hair has grown back on her head. Because the pain killers helped her stiffness, the vet has given her a course of cartrophen - so she's moving around a little better too. Walks aren't quite so sloooow and sniffy.