Elgin’s 5th birthday, persistent hygroma…padding necessary!

Elgin tolerated his 4th chemo treatment very well, with no resulting leg-swelling.  In my previous post, I bemoaned the infected callous (hygroma) Elgin had developed on his only rear leg.  We had him on antibiotics and were doing laser treatments to the infected site.  All seemed well.

We celebrated his 5th birthday, and while I am not a pet-party-thrower, I made him a special cake and made him wear a silly hat.  I felt compelled to mark this birthday, as it had special significance; this summer we were in doubt if he would see this day.

I’ve been watching his hygroma.  It was apparently healed, but has begun looking pink and shiny and feels hot again.  The reason I doubted it was completely healed was that Elgin is pretty hard on this particular limb now, when he gets up from a laying position.  He drags his weight forward until it is more centered over his front legs and then he pops that back leg up under him.  As he does this, he drags his back hock along the ground with force, grinding that callous into the ground.  There’s no way I can see that he could ever build up enough callous to withstand this.  Because it’s in such an awkward area, it’s difficult to bandage.  I looked online and saw options for hygromas on front legs, but the only thing I found for rear legs was instructions on how to put children’s sweatpants on him.  I’m sure that’s effective, but I don’t want to have to put pants on him again… he wore shorts when he had a fresh incision, and it was a rather high-maintenance solution, they frequently fell off, came off, and looking silly.

So when I saw that his infection was back, and oozing, two nights ago, I used vetwrap and wrapped the area to try and protect it until we could get to the vet’s on  Monday.  As he dragged that leg to get up throughout the day, the vetwrap scraped off.  I feared that if I wrapped it any tighter, it would become uncomfortable and hinder his movement or inhibit healing.  So, in desperation and frustration, last night I set to work to invent something sturdy that would pad his hygroma and not inhibit movement or air circulation, AND stay put.

I took some soft leather and some velcro and some fake sheepskin material, and made a …thing.  I’m not sure what to call it, but it seems to work, and it will be something I can forsee him having to wear for a long time. I take it off him when we go for walks, but it goes back on the rest of the time.  It’s loose enough so it doesn’t squeeze his leg or hinder his movement, but the sturdy leather protects that hygroma from the grinding, scraping dragging that he does when he stands up. We will see what the vet thinks when I take him in tomorrow to have that hygroma looked at again.

More about the laser, birthday celebration, a few chuckles…

I need to start this post by thanking all the Veterans, for the selfless committment to our country.   Veteran’s Day is not merely another bank/post-office holiday.  Thank you.

Elgin’s infected callous is doing well.  He is having laser treatments three times a week and is on antibiotics twice a day.

Here is some more information on the laser the vet is using to help accelerate healing:

It is called “The Companion Therapy Laser” by LiteCure. It is an FDA-cleared, deep-penetrating light, which allows relief of pain through the release of endorphins and stimulates the injured cells to heal at a faster rate. It is a type of cold laser, which promotes blood flow to the affected area.  Following treatment, swelling and pain is reduced to allow the medication to reach the affected area.

You can investigate for yourself at www.companiontherapy.com

This week we have Elgin’s 4th chemotherapy treatment on Wednesday, and on Thursday, I will bake a doggy cake and we will celebrate Elgin’s 5th birthday. I’ve never been quite that foofy about my pets’ birthdays (altho I have been known to put silly hats and things on Elgin for the holidays and share the pictures online), but this year has been a doozy, and we think it merits a special birthday celebration.

We are so thankful we made the decision to amputate, as we still have him with us to celebrate this year.  Had we not, in all probability he would be in heaven, or at the best, drugged up on pain meds and on restricted physical activity. Not what we consider good quality of life. Not for him, not for us.


On a funnier note, this morning when I brought Elgin to the vet for the laser treatment, I could hear the staff laughing in the back room, where the treatment was being done.  One by one the staff would go back there, look in the room, and start to chuckle.  The vet, a very quiet, no-nonsense, reserved man, came up to the front desk where I was waiting, and said “I know what to get Elgin for Christmas…”

“What?” I said.

“A cat.”

Evidently, a cat had just been neutered and was still out cold, in a cage in the back room, at eye-level with Elgin.  Elgin has a very high prey drive and he had fixated on the sleeping kitty and stood there frozen, oblivious to everything else going on.


Have a great week, everyone.


Watch those callouses!

This is a picture of a normal callous that formed on elgin’s elbow after he had his amputation.  What a spoilt doggie he was; who ever heard of a mastiff without callouses on his pressure points!?  But when he got his leg amputuated, he preferred to lie on cool, hard surfaces, and used those pressure points more heavily than ever, as his balance was compromised.

A very large callous developed on his back hock, and more quickly than the front elbow, because he drags it along the ground with force, to push up his back end to stand up.

Almost two weeks ago we noticed how big his callous was on his back leg.  Wow, we thought, that’s really one heavy-duty callous!  Well, this weekend it began to weep pus.  He’d gotten an infection in that callous and it had been festering.  He never licked it, never showed that he was in any pain at all.  Being that he only has this one back leg, we rushed him to our local vet.

Here’s a picture of that bad callous:

Infected callous.

Our vet proposed a laser treatment to kill the bacteria, as he didn’t want to wrap the limb, possibly causing more irritation.We are cleaning the site with peroxide and he’s getting antibiotics twice a day. The laser treatments happen every other day for two weeks.  I get to squeeze this in between carpool, work, and the general hecic schedule around here.  Thankfully the vet is only 2 miles away! This morning they allowed me to take a picture of the process.  Elgin is becoming more comfortable here at our local vet; he no longer stays in the vehicle until I drag him out, and he doesn’t tremble and pull against the leash to get away.   Someone must be spooning with him there!  (see previous blog post)Here are a couple of pictures of the laser treatment:  It’s painless and relatively inexpensive (for once!)So, in conclusion, watch those callouses!