Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Spay Stitches FINALLY Removed!

These last two weeks have seemed like an eternity, first with Daisy’s post-spay suffering, then trying to restrict her movements so she wouldn’t tear her stitches out. Which proved to be an impossible task.

I'm back to my silly, happy self again! Boy, am I glad that's over!

Have you every tried to keep an energetic young puppy calm and subdued? It’s like trying to hold Jello in a clenched fist!

But on Saturday the vet removed those stitches in less than a minute, and now she can go back to her crazy little self. And she wasted NO time in doing so!

We were told to wait two more days before bathing her, so tonight’s the night we get our floral-fresh puppy back. Her full blood work-up showed that she has no genetic health problems, so we’re very relieved to know we have a happy, healthy dog.

Oh yes, and as to her post-spay misbehavior issues – my cousin had a great thought – Daisy could be going through a sort of induced menopause, the type women go through when they have hysterectomies well before menopause sets in. Women who have hysterectomies in their 20s, 30s, and 40s suffer escalated menopausal symptoms after surgery, so why not animals as well?

Our vet and online information say that dogs don’t go through menopause because they don’t have the whole estrogen issue, but we’ve already seen that Daisy experiences things very acutely, so how do we really know what they’re reallyfeeling inside? It’s not like anyone can ask them! Daisy’s behavior seemed to fit many of those same erratic, unpleasant symptoms, and half way through the second week, they lessened all by themselves…a little coincidental, and I’m not a great believer in coincidence. Once we saw the glimmer of her old self, we immediately brought back a full return to Jan Fennell’s discipline techniques, and it only took a couple of days before we got our sweet puppy back!

What do you think? Do you think it’s possible for dogs to feel some kind of symptoms after spaying that are similar to menopause?

Glad that’s all over with!

1 Comment »

No Puppy Bath For TWO WEEKS Now…..

Now that the worry has passed about Daisy’s spaying, I have to say that the next worst thing is the fact that we haven’t been allowed to bathe her for two weeks – until her stitches come out on Saturday.

How humiliating! I HATE baths!

Guess what’s happening Saturday afternoon?? LOL

We’ll have that sweet-smelling doggy shampoo ready and waiting when we get home from the vet! We’re SO looking forward to seeing her hair all fluffy and clean again. I just hope he gives us the “all clear” to bathe her right away. If not, you can bet that our Countdown to Bathtime will continue and she’ll be bathed the first minute of the first day it’s allowed!!

The strange thing is that she still feels silky-soft and, unless you put your nose right up against her, she doesn’t have that “doggy smell”. I guess it’s the cooler weather that’s helping – during the summer, we always knew when bath day was approaching because we could smell HER approaching! LOL

Daisy probably thinks she’s really getting away with something since she hasn’t had to tolerate a bath for so long. Boy, is she in for a rude awakening soon! 🙂


How Spaying Spoiled Our Havachon!

“Spoiled” as in “bratty” – not “spoiled” as in “ruined”! LOL

Daisy has now fully returned to her energetic, playful self, but with one extra unwanted facet – she’s acting like a spoiled brat. Queen of the castle, ruler of the house. Very self confident to the point of taking risks and trying new things that aren’t allowed.

This is not going over well with us. At all.

It seems that two solid days of cuddling her when she was really hurting, whining in pain, and unable to move around well, followed by another three days of attention and companionship served to spoil her just as much as they served to help heal her. During those days, she’d stare into my eyes with the sweetest, softest yet most pathetic expression that looked like a cross between “help me” and “thank you”.

But now it appears that her previous training has gone right out the window, along with her doggy “manners”. She’s demanding, bratty, aggressive, and seems full of herself – if she was a toddler, she’d be having LOTS of time outs.

How fast puppies can unlearn good behavior and limits when they’re catered to for just a short time!

In addition, she’s jumped up on the sofa twice and has, for the first time ever, jumped up on the raised brick hearth in the family room. This wouldn’t be a problem except, as you can see from the photo, we have some decorative items on the hearth, which we now may have to remove since there’s no way to keep her off the hearth.

Today we went back to basics and started retraining her from square one. No allowances for cuteness, no deviating from Jan Fennell’s original training  rules that worked so well the first time around. When we’re busy doing things or walking from room to room and Daisy starts jumping on us as well as leaping high in the air and lunging AT us hard (this is all the new aggressiveness), we tell her “no” firmly and ignore her, going about our business. After a few more futile attempts, she gives up – this is what’s supposed to happen; she’s learning that this behavior doesn’t get her what she wants.

When we’re sitting on the sofa and she stands up with her front paws on the sofa demanding attention or to be picked up, we tell her “down”. She listens, but grumbles and/or yaps a lot, eventually calming down. Still, we’re achieving the desired result, and it’s taking root faster than when we first trained her. Clearly she remembers the rules; she just chose to forget them for a while. Eventually the grumbling should stop and she should go back to behaving like she did pre-spay.

She’s overly playful in an aggressive sort of way too, and that sweet expression in her eyes has been replaced by a look of dominance and demands. So far she hasn’t done anything threatening, but we’re not waiting around to see if it would get to that. She clearly sees that we’re in a power struggle now, and she’s starting to back down.

It’s a battle of wills and we’re not giving in. We want our puppy back.


Daisy’s Spay Recovery Update

I’m starting to see some signs of the “old Daisy” coming back again!


My crate feels particularly cozy these days....


This morning Daisy was more alert, with her ears up and her eyes brighter and more wide open. Slowly but surely, she’s getting her “zing” back!

She still has the weird jumping and running bursts, but I’m starting to think that the pain is lessening while itching is increasing. When she walks, she keeps trying to scratch her abdomen with her right hind leg.

She’s spending most of her time curled up in her crate this morning, so her usual activity level and interest in her toys and the outdoors haven’t returned yet. But she did get very excited and danced around happily when I came into the kitchen, which she wasn’t able to do for the past two days. These are good signs.

I’m keeping an eye on a rather large bluish area on the side of her abdomen; it looks like a subdermal bruise or blood accumulation. Hopefully it’s somewhat normal. Since my last dog was completely bandaged after her spaying, I have no frame of reference as to what dog bellies can look like after this type of surgery. From what I’ve read, it shouldn’t be a problem as long as no blood leaks from the incision and the area doesn’t feel hot.

Fingers crossed that it’s nothing unusual and Daisy continues her progress!

1 Comment »

Botched Spay Surgeries…Yes, They Do Happen

I never knew about this, but lately I’ve been hearing an awful lot about botched spay surgeries. What a scary concept.

DD’s coworker has a poodle whose neutering actually was botched – the vet neglected to reattach a critical vein. I also read about a dog whose ovaries weren’t completely removed; her owner only realized it when the dog went into heat the following year.

In fact, when we first brought Daisy to the new vet, he told us about several clients who came to him because of mistakes made by the Bad Vet we originally went to (on a friend’s recommendation), and one of the most common issues was botched spays. Wouldn’t you think that such a common surgical procedure would be part of Vet 101?

How do you know when a dog’s spay surgery has gone wrong? Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Bleeding.
  • Vomiting.
  • Bloody stools.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Won’t drink water.
  • Distended abdomen.

If a dog starts going into heat after being spayed, it means that a remnant of the ovary was accidentally left behind. A vet can do a blood test to check the dog’s hormone levels, which will definitively determine if a piece of ovary was left behind.

Besides the obvious risks of these poor animals having to undergo surgery yet again, there are other complications that can be caused by a botched spay or neutering. An ovarian remnant can become cancerous over time, just like it can in humans (this happened to an aunt of mine). There’s a clinical but thorough article on Ovarian Remnant Syndrome.

There’s also something called “stump pyometra”, which is an infection caused by ovarian remnants. A different issue,  “stump granuloma”, occurs when sutures become infected by remnant ovarian tissue – this isn’t a botched surgery, it’s just a post-spay surgical risk. Symptoms of both are similar to the symptoms listed above, but can also include a foul odor coming from vaginal discharge, fever, and weight loss. Both are corrected with additional surgery and antibiotics.

The best way to know if your pet’s surgery has gone well is to simply watch him/her and be aware of any abnormal behaviors or issues. Call your vet with any questions; he should also be willing to see your dog if you’re really concerned about issues during your dog’s recovery.

Leave a comment »

Small Dog Pain Reactions

At least I don’t hurt when I’m asleep….

Dogs instinctively hide their pain because it’s considered a sign of weakness in the wild. And if you’re weak, you’re prey. Period.

But it’s different when it comes to these small, fragile dogs that have become so domesticated that they’re like little children who look to us for comfort and reassurance when they’re in pain. My last dog was a Shepherd-Collie-Husky mix who never showed pain, regardless of how severe it was. But this new little pup of ours freaks out when she’s in pain, which I’ve only learned now that she’s going through her post-spay recovery period.

I expected her to sit and walk strangely, but I didn’t expect the trembling, constant whining, hanging head, and freaky jumping and racing around with her backside and hind legs all contorted as if they’d been broken and never set. Couple that with how scraggly her hair is because of the ointment the vet slathered liberally all over her tummy, legs, and ears, and this puppy looks like a spent street urchin.

It was odd that she was doing so well on Sunday, two days after her surgery, and then on Monday, all these awful things I mentioned started happening. She was a different puppy. It was like someone flipped a switch overnight that turned off her sunshine and made her whole world dark and gloomy.

As painful as her recovery is, it’s just as painful having to watch her go through it.

I theorized in yesterday’s blog post that different dogs probably have different pain tolerance levels and possibly even metabolize the pain meds given by the vet at different rates. Now I’m sure this is the case; those pain meds probably lasted through Sunday for Daisy, but completely wore off sometime in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Thanks to fellow blogger Judy who writes Tiffy’s World, I now know my theory is right; her little Yorkie also has a low pain threshold and it’s something that not all vets discuss with their patients…ours sure didn’t. If our vet had told us that some dogs react more violently to pain, I wouldn’t have had such a high level of anxiety all day yesterday about these odd pain-generated behaviors Daisy was exhibiting. I thought something major was wrong, like a fever from an unseen infection or something worse that went wrong internally.

So for any small dog owners out there who are or will be having their dogs spayed or having any other surgery, here are some of the reactions our 9 pound Havachon displayed, your dog may not have all of them. I hope it will help put your mind at ease if you know what’s considered to be within “normal” parameters; however, just like people, every dog is different, and while ours needs cuddling and stroking during her recovery, other dogs just want to be left alone. The Golden Rule is: Know Your Dog.

1. Trembling. If it’s within the first 24 hours after surgery, trembling can be a result of the anesthesia. After that time period, it’s usually a sign of fear caused by recovery pain. I found that cuddling Daisy on my lap helped calm her to the point where the trembling stopped completely while I held her. Her first day of pain was the most important for this.

2. Hanging head. Remember that old phrase, “hang-dog expression”? Well, this is where it comes from.

3. Complete disinterest in toys, her favorite blanket, looking out the window, and normal activities in general.

4. Back hunching.

5. Sitting or lying in odd positions to relieve or lessen pain.

6. Whining. And more whining. Mostly on the first day of pain. No barking at all.

7. Racing and/or jumping in short bursts with the body contorted strangely. If you bring your dog onto a chair or sofa with you, watch him/her carefully, because the sudden onset of pain can cause them to lunge irrationally, and they can fall off the furniture. And be aware of how you’re picking the dog up, so you’re not putting pressure on the wound.

8. Agitated behavior. We all can get cranky if we’re in pain too long!

9. Snuggling close to their owners for comfort and reassurance. They need extra TLC right now, you can always retrain them after the crisis is over. Now’s not the time to enforce the “no sofa” command.

10. Slinking off to corners or underneath furniture if they prefer not to be touched or pet. Never force this issue. “Let sleeping dogs lie”, as the saying goes.

11. Sleep. LOTS of sleeping.

Little by little, every day you should see small improvements. Today Daisy isn’t whining and there’s a little less trembling, plus she’s wagging her tail now and then, which she wasn’t doing at all yesterday. She’s able to sleep for longer periods of time, which will help her heal, just like with humans.

If your dog’s pain is excessive, your vet can probably give her something to ease the pain. Some NSAIDs are supposed to be safe for dogs, but if it’s not necessary and you can devote the time to just “being there” for your dog, that may be all she needs.

Not Normal: Keep an eye on the incision; if you see redness, swelling, bleeding, or discharge, call your vet right away. Some dogs scratch or bite at the stitches when the itching gets intense – in that case, they need a collar cone or bandages. Our vet prefers not to put these on unless Daisy starts chewing or scratching.

The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management has a wonderful site with lots more information about pain symptoms, treatments, causes, and more. It’s worth a look if you’ve got any questions.


A Bum-Numbing Afternoon

I just may have a permanently numb bum.


You can see the difference in her from her happy pre-spay pictures. This is one pathetic puppy.


After making an appointment with the vet to find out why Daisy is trembling and clearly in pain after a day of near-normal post-spay behavior, I found out that dogs sometimes tremble from pain and the fear it generates. I think this is the problem because when I put her on my lap and cuddled her, as was recommended by another vet online, she immediately stopped trembling and fell asleep.

She slept comfortably on my lap with no trembling for almost 2 hours…ergo, my numb bum.

Then she suddenly jumped up and frantically circled around, clearly feeling pain or at least some pretty high level of discomfort, with that weird posture and movement that comes from pain. I think she’s feeling some intense itching as well, because her one hind leg keeps making scratching motions in mid-air.

But she looks at me with those soulful, “help me” eyes and it just kills me that I can’t ease her pain.

I’m thinking that maybe every dog’s sensitivity to pain is different, much like all people’s sensitivity to pain is different. We all have different levels of pain tolerance, so why shouldn’t animals? And maybe Daisy was acting more normally yesterday because the pain med he gave her took a little longer to wear off, just like it does with some people. It’s a possibility, anyway.

Now she’s curled up in the corner of the sofa, something we don’t usually allow. We will for now; whatever it takes to give her some relief. But the interesting thing is that there’s still no trembling – clearly, that online vet was right about it being fear-driven, and that fear is relieved when she’s being comforted by the people she trusts.

I think I’ll cancel the vet appointment and see how she does from here on. If the pain doesn’t start lessening by Wednesday or Thursday, I’ll call again and make an appointment to find out if this level of pain is normal by that time. But I’m relieved that at least the trembling isn’t involuntary. I wonder if I’ll have to spend the night with her here on the sofa….

It’s amazing what lengths we’re willing to go to for a furry little creature who we only met and took into our home a few months ago! I guess it’s love…. 🙂


Back Home From Spay Surgery – Not a Happy Havachon

Well Daisy’s back in her own comfy home after her spaying on Friday. Thank you to everyone who expressed their concern and support!

You don’t know what I’ve been through!

I don’t remember my last dog having so much discomfort after her spay surgery, but then again, it was a long time ago and she was bandaged. Vets don’t like to bandage dogs anymore unless the incision starts bleeding, the dog starts chewing/biting at it, or it becomes infected.

We dropped Daisy off at 11 AM on Friday, and both DD and I were surprised at how teary we both got when we had to leave her behind. We followed our game plan of staying occupied – we went to one of our favorite local cozy lunch spots, then went to the mall and Starbucks (three cheers for Raspberry Mocha Lattes!!). That helped, though we did find ourselves checking our watches, waiting for 4:00, when we could call the vet and see how Daisy did.

The report we got was good, they said she did well and was coming out of the anesthesia. She was on a heating pad and covered in a blanket to keep her warm, which they said helps dogs come around faster and easier. Her favorite veterinary assistant was spending the night with her and a couple other dogs who’d been spayed that day, so we knew she was in good hands.

When we picked her up at noon Saturday, she looked pathetic. Her rash, which we still have no diagnosis for (the vet feels it’s either food related or fall related, but we won’t know until after her surgery has healed; I’m wondering if it’s the carpet cleaner from the last time we had the carpets done), got much worse because they had to shave the entire tummy area, which really irritated it. The spots are flaming red now. She also had a slight ear infection, caused by the rash (it’s common for dermatitis to affect the ears). So they took care of that, plucked more hair from inside her ears, and slathered her with an ointment that has her ear/neck area and tummy/leg areas disgustingly greasy.

And we can’t bathe her for 2 weeks. Ugh.

They also did a full blood work-up and removed 2 baby teeth that refused to come out on their own. She doesn’t seem to be feeling any after-effects from the tooth removals, yesterday she was chewing happily on a hard Nylabone.

She wasn’t as out of it as they thought she’d be on Saturday; in fact she was practically frantic when she got home and we could only get her to rest by sitting on the floor with her, which DH did most of the afternoon. Yesterday, Sunday, she was better and starting to move more freely.

But today she’s having a lot of discomfort and whining pathetically. She can’t walk normally – it looks like she’s trying to scratch with one hind leg while she walks. She also can’t lie down comfortably unless she’s curled on her side in her soft, cushioned bed, but I can’t get her to stay there. It seems to me that there must be some discomfort from the stitches and maybe itching from the skin and muscle starting to heal…? I’m watching for any signs of infection.

It’s pathetic though – she’s running weirdly in short bursts and whining, then trying to sit but can’t get comfortable, so it all repeats over and over again. She seems really agitated. She’s tired but ends up standing most of the time.

I hope this is normal for the second full day after surgery – any advice from fellow dog owners?

It’s so frustrating to see your puppy looking and feeling so awful and not be able to do anything to help!!


Spay Day Arriveth

Well the Day of Spay is here. We’re dropping Daisy off at the vet at 11:00; I feel like I’ll be turning my back on my youngest child! I hate the fact that she’s going into an unknown situation alone; at least she knows and likes the vet and his assistants, that’s a little relief.

You're taking me WHERE?? To do WHAT??!!??

DD took the day off from work so we could do this together. After we take Daisy to the vet, we’re going to lunch and then spending the day shopping to keep our minds off our little pup. Maybe even a Starbucks stop in the afternoon…gotta try those fall flavors while they last!

I scheduled the spay date for a Friday so we’d all be home over the weekend, especially for Daisy’s first day home on Saturday, when she’ll still be kind of “out if it”. I don’t remember what the post-spay situation was like with our previous dog, but I do remember that she was bandaged up like a mummy; now they don’t do that, and I’m worried that Daisy will lick and gnaw at the stitches enough to cause bleeding. The vet assured me that he quintuple-knot s them, but still….

On the down side, her rash is back full force now that we stopped all the meds. I hope this won’t cause a problem with the spay, or the other way around. Once everything’s settled down again, I’m going to take her for a second opinion to a vet who combines traditional and alternative therapies in his practice. No more cortisone poison for Daisy.

Wish us luck this weekend!


%d bloggers like this: