Gimpy was scheduled for neutering Wednesday morning. He climbed into the car at home without hesitation and climbed back out of it with the same sense of adventure in the parking lot of the animal hospital. He remained unruffled as we walked through the front door, then sat at my feet like a little gentleman while I filled out the consent form for anesthesia.
Everything went smoothly until a vet tech approached to change out his collar and leash for one of theirs, which sent him skittering to hide behind me. He and I turned around in circles several times as he attempted to keep my body between himself and the tech, so the tech suggested that he might be more cooperative if I would go ahead and leave. I walked out the door, closed it behind me, and glanced through the window over my shoulder. The tech was standing right where I'd left her, holding her end of the leash while Gimpy was leaping and bounding on his end. Heh. He's no pushover.
That all happened about seven-thirty in the morning. Shortly after eleven, the vet called to say the procedure was complete and Gimpy was awake and doing fine, although he was still "a little tipsy." (She also shared that his mood had improved dramatically prior to surgery when a female mixed-breed named Honey, occupying the next cage, was apparently struck by his awesomeness and boldly let him know it. That romance was nipped in the bud--literally--when it was time for the surgical procedure.) Knowing that Levi would be all over Gimpy when I brought him home, we decided to let Gimpy nap at the animal hospital until mid-afternoon.
Levi definitely noticed Gimpy's absence. He looked for him all over the house, then searched the backyard, finally stopping to wait at the gate and watch the driveway for any sign of him. He was better after Kim brought Lucy and Winston over, and all three of them were excited when I brought Gimpy home. They sniffed and inspected every inch of him.
The aftercare instructions from the vet said that for the next seven days I shouldn't let Gimpy run, jump, climb, get wet, or lick his incision. Leash walking would be okay. After reading that, it dawned on me that I was destined to become a canine activities director for the next week.
I moved Gimpy's crate into the living room, where he could be with the family and I could keep an eye on him, and he slept for most of the afternoon. Once he was good and awake, though, he wanted out of there. He seemed to be geared up for his usual nightly romp with Levi, and Levi clearly had similar ideas, but that rough play was out of the question. I put a ball in the crate with Gimpy and gave another one to Levi. Immediately, they each wanted the ball that the other one had.
Shortly before bedtime, I put Levi behind the indoor gate and let Gimpy out of the crate so I could give him some hands-on attention and affection, and that was when I got my first good look at his incision. At first I thought all the dark-red blood I was seeing was seeping out of his wound, but I quickly realized it was all under the skin. His now-empty scrotal sac, also blood-red, was swollen to about the size of a lemon. I'd been so careful to keep him quiet and lick-free that I almost panicked. Fortunately, I had checked with Dr. Google the night before to find out what to expect after the neutering procedure, and Gimpy's condition was one of the possibilities I'd read about. He didn't seem to be in any pain whatsoever, so I decided he didn't need to go to the emergency vet yet, and I switched my attention to making certain he didn't make the problem any worse.
I got out one of Butch's old E-collars, put it over Gimpy's head, and fastened it as tightly as I could. He bucked around the living room like a wild bronco ("No jumping, no jumping!!!") and scraped it off against the coffee table. I did it again and so did he. I went back to the cabinet and pulled out another, smaller E-collar. That one was tighter, and he wasn't able to get it off, though God knows he tried. It was also shorter, so I wasn't sure it would be effective, and Gimpy was miserable while it was on him. He wouldn't even eat his favorite liver treat.
After about twenty minutes, I gave up. I took the collar off of Gimpy and made him a bed in my room, the first time he'd been allowed to spend the night outside his crate since he's lived with us. And then I went to sleep--and woke up every ten minutes, all night long, to check on him.
The next morning, bright and early, we went back to the animal hospital, where the vet told me he that he has a hematoma ("a localized swelling that is filled with blood caused by a break in the wall of a blood vessel") and that she had turned around during surgery on another animal and caught Gimpy "going after it" hard enough to break blood vessels, so all my precautions were a little too late. She told me what to expect and gave me her cell phone number in case it got worse, and I felt considerably less anxious as I brought Gimpy home again.
Since then, everything seems to have been going well. The hematoma is gradually clearing up (blood is being absorbed by the surrounding tissues), and Gimpy hasn't appeared to have been in any pain at all. I've been putting him in the crate only to settle him down when he's gotten too rowdy and, yes, at bedtime, too. He hasn't been licking the incision during the daytime, so I've felt reasonably certain he wouldn't do it at night, either, and we've all been sleeping better.
I've had to break up Gimpy and Levi's wrestling matches a dozen times a day, jumping in as soon as one makes the first move on the other. When that happens, they both give me hurt, confused looks, as if they think I'm punishing them and don't understand why. We played ball for the first time today, limiting it to slow rolls across the patio, which bored them both after about a minute. Afterwards, Levi ran in the yard by himself while I kept Gimpy beside me on a leash.
If there are no more glitches in the healing process, we'll be back to normal activities in three more days. In the meantime, I sure wish Gimpy and Levi had opposable thumbs and a PlayStation or a Wii.