A few weeks ago, I was getting ready to take the dogs for our pre-work walk and went upstairs to get a sweater. Soth was slumped against the wall with an anal prolapse--his second in two months--and he'd vomited twice already that morning. We went in for x-rays that afternoon and a mineral mass was found in his bladder.
After talking to our vet, we had a few different options: we could stick to an exclusively prescription diet and hope that the mass dissolved, we could do an ultrasound to see if that gave us a better picture of what was happening in his bladder, or we could do a cystotomy and cut into his bladder to remove the mass.
The ultrasound seemed like a waste of money since no matter what it told us, he definitely had a stone inside his bladder. Since Soth doesn't always consistently eat his prescription diet and the diet could take 6-8 weeks to work if the stone was something that could be dissolved by a prescription diet, we opted for the surgery and it was scheduled for Halloween.
Soth was not pleased about not being able to eat after 8 p.m. the night before. He spent several hours going back and forth to his dining table and hoping that he'd look cute enough to get fed. I locked him in the bathroom when we went to bed so that he was easy to get in his carrier the next morning and when I woke up, he'd pushed everything from the bathroom counter into the sink.
We left the house at 7:30 to get him to the vet by 8:00 for his surgery. The office told me they'd call when he was out of surgery to give an update and I could call back around 3:00 to see what time I could pick him up. By the time I'd finished teaching my first class, the vet had called and he was out of surgery and waking up from his anesthesia.
At 4:00, I got to pick him up. The vet showed me the stone that they'd taken out of his bladder--it was smooth, black, and about the size of a pumpkin seed. The vet also said Soth has the smallest bladder she's ever seen, which explains why he constantly has to pee.
I'd set up one of our spare rooms as his recovery room. I wanted to make sure the girls couldn't get to him because even though they love him, sometimes they play a little rough together. He had three different beds, plus the human bed, his custom tower that's the perfect height for looking out the window, a litter box, and his food, so he was set.
My poor little guy was very confused when I let him out of his carrier. He walked from one bed to the next and back over and over again. He had to wait two hours after getting home to get his first meal and his first dose of pain medicine and he was so excited to have a full bowl.
The girls were very confused about why their brother wasn't accessible. Especially Rye. Thankfully, I'd blocked off the hallway to make sure they couldn't slip into his room when I went in (and to keep Barley from opening the door because she's figured that one out).
Looking at my little dude was heartbreaking. His belly was really bruised because he had a little layer of fat on his belly that they'd had to go through to get to the bladder. His little swisher was kind of cute when it was covered in fur, but once it was shaved, it looked like he had an udder every time he'd move. That was not cute.
The first couple days, he left his stitches alone, but then he started messing with them. I'd ordered two different cones in hopes that one would work for him. We tried a donut inflatable cone, but he quickly figured out how to get that one off. I came home from work 2 hours after putting it on and it was in the middle of the floor.
The girls weren't sure what to think about his cone, but they were excited that he was feeling good enough to come to the door so they could get a glimpse of him.
At his checkup three days after surgery, he was healing well and the stitches looked good, but when we got home, he yanked a couple out, so he went into his lion cone. I'd decided if he was going to need a cone, I was picking the one that made me smile.
He did not like the cone and once I didn't get it on tight enough and he got it off, but after some adjustments, he left it on.
Rye has not handled the separation well. She's spent a lot of time standing outside of Soth's room and howling. She's spent a lot of time curling up in the bed and moping. For several days, she wouldn't even play with me. Eventually, we did some leashed visits, and she licked his face all over, and then life was okay again.
Soth's healing well. He's using his litter box almost all the time. He's eating well.
But he's lonely. I've been trying to alternate spending time with him and the girls, but he's not used to being alone so much of the day and although sometimes he gets shut out of the bedroom in the middle of the night, he's never alone all night long.
He's been an excellent lesson planning buddy, though, and we've spent lots of time reading for my U.S. Lit class. He was an excellent listener when I read some Whitman poetry aloud to him.
He's figured out how to flip the cone, so it looks like a poncho instead of a lion's mane--but he still can't reach his belly, so I don't mind.
The girls are ready for their bother to be with them all of the time and I think the feeling is mutual.
If all goes well, Soth will be getting his stitches out this morning and then whenever he wants to he can spend time with his sisters.
The stone that was removed was sent off for testing so we can see if there's a way to prevent another from forming, but that will take about a month to get results back. We're hoping this isn't something we ever have to go through again!