Not that he knew it was scary, and really, now that it’s over and he’s well, it is a rather rich source of amusement and tacky jokes.
See, day before yesterday, Itzl suffered from canine paraphimosis.
You can google it, but for those who want to hear the whole story: paraphimosis is when the penis gets stuck and can’t retract back into its sheath. It starts to dry out and swell, becomes inflamed and painful, and can lead to a slow and agonizing death if left untreated. The most common treatment for it is surgery to cut the sheath and slide the penis back inside.
It can be caused by several things, one of which is not trimming his “merkin”. Who knew? His groomer never warned me about this, and we never did anything about it. We trimmed his bloomers to prevent poop getting caught there, but never once his merkin. This is what caused Itzl’s problem and we can prevent it now that we know.
I was at work when I noticed the condition. He was lethargic, seemed to be hurting, and while he alerted, he was slow in doing so and not his usual happy self. That’s when I checked him out, thinking he might have developed a bleeding ulcer – one of the side effects from when his vet accidentally overdosed him on pain meds after his knee surgery. That’s when I saw his penis protruding and swollen. And I was thinking “hernia”. I’d never heard of paraphimosis.
So I immediately called his vet. This is an impossible week to get away from work, and the next 2 weeks, the place will be pretty empty with nearly everyone else taking vacation, so getting away to get him to the vet would be – difficult, at best.
The vet said it sounded like paraphimosis, described it and what it could do, then suggested a home remedy, one that had a good chance of working since I’d caught the condition early on.
I was kind of skeptical – I do rely a lot on home remedies, but this sounded unbelievable. The vet called it “The Mary Poppins Cure”.
The home remedy worked! Itzl didn’t need surgery after all, but if he had, the money was in his vet account. I wouldn’t have to freak out and beg money from family and friends to keep him alive.
The remedy? A 50/50 mix of sugar and warm water, poured onto his penis.
Apparently the sugar water gets absorbed by the delicate penile flesh, reducing inflammation and swelling and encouraging lubrication so the penis slides back into the sheath where it belongs. It encourages the dog to lick, which also increases lubrication,and voila! The dog lives! No surgery needed!
Mary Poppins was right, a spoonful of sugar helps cure you.
And Itzl is back to alerting with all his usual vim and vigor.