Saturday, May 23, 2009

Flounder Goes To The Vet

On a rainy Wednesday afternoon last week, Flounder and I went to the Vet. Flounder is 94 years old ... about 13.5 in human years.
It was time for his annual check up, so I raced home from work, gave him a bath, and loaded him up for the ride into town.

He was a little worried, but I told him it would be okay. I asked him if there was anything new we should mention to the doctor, besides the dry eyes, new growths here and there, and the persistent yeast problem in his ears and skin.
Flounder sighed.

We were both a little bummed when the scale at the vet showed a 10 pound loss in weight compared to a year ago. I was worried that a new set of growths on his gums might be sensitive and be interfering with his eating. They were small, but it seemed plausible.
His sister Feather has a long history of interfering with his feeding after she wolfs down her own chow, but we had separated them at meal time, so I didn't think she was an issue this time.

We talked about it some while we were waiting for the vet to come see us in the little exam room.
He seemed worried.

I rubbed his big sweet head and told him not to worry. The vet would know what to do.
When the vet arrived, he gave Flounder a thorough exam. When he checked out the little growths on Flounder's lower, front gums, he found a bad tooth that was definitely sensitive as Flounder flinched when he touched it.
"It's not in there very good, I can jerk that right out and relieve his discomfort." said the vet.
"Okay, Doc, but I'm leaving the room if you are doing anything dental." I said. (Can I get an "Amen" fellow dentaphobes?)
As it turned out, Flounder took a short walk to a back room and came back missing the bad tooth, seemingly no worse for wear.
We left the vet with drops for his dry eye condition, heartworm tablets to keep him parasite free, and a powerful antifungal to battle his rampant skin/ear yeast infection. It's one of those drugs we have avoided using, as long term use can cause liver damage, but at this point in Flounder's travels, I think he should be as comfortable as possible.
Long term use of any medicine is probably not a concern of his now. That was hard to admit at the vet's and hard to write now.

Driving home, he let me know he was okay with my decision and that he still loved me.

Since the visit and tooth removal, he has been eating like a horse and we have been pulling him in to the kitchen for special high calorie spoiling sessions.
Feather is not amused, but being female, she has the opposite weight problem, and she is on stricter rations.
She goes to the vet next month. I'll keep you posted.
Other news:
I thought today's post would be about a ginormous grey ratsnake ... even bigger than the pump house snake I'm always posting here at PF!
When you are the science teacher and have a ... um, reputation ... label? ... like I do, kids will bring you all kinds of stuff.
Yesterday, after school, a bunch of boys brought me the biggest grey ratsnake I have ever seen. She might go a full 6 feet. We slipped her into an old book bag that someone had left in the classroom for months, and I took her home.
When I got home, I carried my camera, my laptop, and my snake book bag into the house and dumped it all on the kitchen table as is my habit. It was late, grey and overcast, so I decided to wait until the next day (today) to photograph her before releasing her in my woods.
The book bag con serpent sat on the table all through the evening. Around bedtime, I decided it might get dragged off by Bear, so I took it out and set it on a patio table on the front porch.
This morning, when I went to get her for photos, the bag was very light and she was gone. A slight gap on the zippered closure was all she had needed.
Not to worry, I'm sure she will turn up again and I will share her with y'all.
I'm wishing I had left the bag on the kitchen table now, ... at least then I'd know she was in the house somewhere and findable.


Anonymous said...

EEWWWWW! I bet that smelled good! A damp Flounder in close quarters! UGH!

Rurality said...

I love that pic of Flounder helping you drive. :)

So, is your wife glad you left the snake outside rather than inside?!

swamp4me said...

Glad to hear that Flounder is enjoying some extra spoiling. Our Hannah is 15 now and I experience many of the same worries as you do -- yet another lump or knot appears regularly now and the ears require a lot of work. Still, she's happy and eating well so I'm thankful. Tearing up now, gotta stop - I'm sure you understand!

Sandy said...

You are making me cry, I miss my dog SO much!

Lynn said...

Ok see I'm thinking it's a GOOD thing that the huge 6' snake escaped OUTSIDE instead of inside.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking your wife is probably happier that the bookbag was OUTSIDE when Miss Snake made her escape.

Flounder is such a sweet old guy --- I can see why you love him so much!

Sayre said...

That is always the peril of having beloved pets. Knowing that one day you will have to say goodbye. I'm glad you and Flounder talk... he'll let you know when he's ready. I talk to my dogs and they talk back. The two dogs I had before we moved back to town both told me when they were ready for dog heaven. My husband doesn't hear, though he loves them mightily, and questioned me relentlessly when I told him they were ready. Saying goodbye is so hard. I'm glad Flounder has decided to stick around for a bit longer.

I think leaving the snake outside was probably a good idea. You'll see her again - but not in your bed or curled up around the toilet base...

ImagineMel said...

that wasn't the Flounder/Feather post I wanted... :(

Pablo said...

Old dogs really are a bittersweet relationship.

Freste said...

Love is love. Age is just something that happens along the way. While you have your job, your students, your camera, your computer, your family, your activities, your errands, your parents, your responsibilities, your distractions... the most important thing he knows is you.

Miz S said...

There is nothing that chokes me up more than an old and faithful dog. They are so dignified and patient. It's such a worry when they lose weight. I know he will enjoy your efforts to fatten him back up.

robin andrea said...

I'm glad Flounder had his yearly exam and came away feeling better. I think that sweet pup should be spoiled with all of his favorite foods.

You brought a six-foot snake in the house? Okay, it was in a bag, but still... Are you sure it played Houdini outside and not in?

Dani said...

Sweet wonderful old dogs. They give our hearts so much pleasure.
I gotta go get a tissue now. :)

cndymkr / jean said...

Wait a minute. Having it loose in the house would have been a good thing? Oh boy, I don't think so.

Give Flounder a huge hug and an extra treat for me.

kathy a. said...

this was really a flounder post - and many scritches upon her sweet ears!

you were just teasing about wishing the snake was loose indoors, right?

Doug Taron said...

>I'm wishing I had left the bag on the kitchen table now, ... at least then I'd know she was in the house somewhere and findable.

I'm not snake-phobic, but this is one of those moments where I really feel for Mrs. FC. Glad to hear that Flounder is feeling better.

Floridacracker said...

Goodness, much ado about a grey ratsnake in the house.It's not like a coral snake got loose in the house ... not again at least, ... boy that was a long sleepless night.

A little tangy.

You should have seen me wrestling the camera out of the bag with one hand, steering with another, while not moving the Flounder hand for fear of him getting up ... wait a minute... 1,2,3 ...

I so understand and thought of you and your Hannah when I wrote this. I remember your comments on other old dog posts in the PF past.

Sorry for the tears, happy for the memories.

That seems to be the consensus! LOL!

Well, she really wanted to see it and had been waiting until I took it out this morn, only it was gone!

Very tough decisions we dog whisperers face. My old dogs have let me off easy in the past, taking the decision out of my hands, but I know someday I will have to be strong.
Yes, for all involved the snake outside was probably the best thing, but I sure wish I had photos to share.

It's not sad really, he's not at death's door or anything, just needed some maintenance work done. How lucky are we to still have F and F with us!

Very true, with the accent on sweet.

Damn son, that's wisdom right there. Very true, very, very true.
Thank you.

Miz S,
He looks dignified to me too, which just cracks me up because he was the biggest wacky nut head for most of his youth. A total goof!

Sure that it was an outside escape, because she was in the bag when I set it out last night. I just got careless with the bag zipper.
And yes, we are spoiling Flounder.

He's a sweetheart for sure. Pass the kleenex.

Well, it just would have upped the odds for a quick recapture. Hugs delivered to Flounder!

Kathy A,
That's right where he likes to be scritched. I was only kidding a little.

Floridacracker said...

Well, I just meant a 6 foot snake would probably be spotted pretty quick in the house ... probably by Bear!

amarkonmywall said...

Amen. AMEN! If only we could leave the room for all dental procedures...

Flounder is such a great dog. Makes me think about getting a lab. But then we would undoubtedly have more fleas and fungus and fur. For now I will be attached to your dogs here.

I am hugely disappointed that you don't have the biggest rat snake ever in your house.

Ericka said...

oh flounder. absolutely spoil him and keep him happy and comfortable as long as you can. it is bittersweet, isn't it? i imagine he thoroughly enjoyed the alone time with you.

poor snake. sounds like s/he had a rough day. i'm glad s/he escaped outside and not inside.

Aunty Belle said...

Can send ya' an anti fungal bath fer Flounder--safe, no meds, but it does the job. Lemme know via email if ya want it.

Nicely written post.

jojo said...

dentaphobe here!!!!

i love flounder. i love all old dogs. they are so "human" in their eyes, their expressions.

When did you mistakenly release a coral snake in the house? i must have missed that post. :)

Floridacracker said...

I feel I have failed you ... next time the snake gets loose inside! You will need a good dog at your country estate!

Yes, I think he did. We are spoiling him rotten.

I'll email you about that! Thanks.

I was just joshin' about the coral snake. I've only captured one of those babies and it was immediately released somewhere else.

Cathy S. said...

Amen to the dental phobe comment. Oh, those old dogs hold a dear place in our hearts. Glad he just needed some routine maintenance and a little TLC. As for the snake, so glad the bag was empty outside and not in.

SophieMae said...

Are you sure the snake wasn't a Florida pine snake? Did you check the rostral scute and anal scale? I came across one (pic here) last week that I swear must've been about 7-8'. Oddly, my Florida Snakes book says the grey rat isn't supposed to be down in your area. Reckon the snakes forgot to read the book. 8-}

Our Josie is about 10yo now and just starting to slow down. As bad as it'd hit me to tell her goodbye, Duller will be totally devastated. But for now, she's pretty dawgawn healthy and that time is far, far away.

Otherwise, ditto all the other comments and... AMEN!

Debris said...


I found your blog when researching Florida Stone Crabs. Every once in a while I will check the main blog just to see if the blog is still going and to my surprise, the post I read from 2005 belonged to a blog that is still going strong! I'm very happy to see someone committed to their blog! I have subrscribed to your blog as I'm in Florida as well and look forward to your posts! I wish the best to your dog, and have a great day!


Floridacracker said...

TLC for dogs is our specialty! :)

No, I know pine snakes well. This is a rat snake.
That's amusing that a snake book would say the greys aren't here, as they are the most common ratsnake around.

Thank you for the kind words and I appreciate you dropping in.