Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Do Your Ears Hang Low?

Today as I was getting ready for work I saw a piece about a black and tan coonhound on Good Morning America. They were talking about a coonhound in Colorado who was the Guinness Book World Record Title holder for the longest ears on a living dog.

His left ear is 12.25 inches and his right ear is 13.5 inches long. For fun I measured - well tried to measure - one of Chopper's ears this morning. I couldn't get an exact measurement because he was very wiggly and kept trying to eat the tape measure but his right ear appears to be just over five inches.

Chopper's ears are the source for quite a bit of amusement and giggles. Just this weekend Chopper was in the bedroom while a friend was visiting and he must have fallen asleep right in front of the door and one of those ears was sticking out under the door - I guess he didn't want to miss out on the conversation.

Chopper's ears have also been the cause for numerous trips to the vet. Just last year he had an ear infection in one ear that required several trips to the vet. The reason it was several and not one is that Chopper was not a very good patient when it came to getting ear drops - he would wiggle away, he would bark, he hide his head and any other antic that would cause the drops to not get in his ear. Finally I was reduced to putting the drops in while he was relieving himself outside. Inevitably if you did get the drops in the ear there would be a giant shake of the head and the drops would come flying out all over you. After a few visits the vet gave us a pill.

One of Chopper's most infamous ear incidents was several years ago and involved a lot of clean up and a lot of MacGyvering on my part. We had just returned from our walk and he was barking at something on the porch. I hustled him inside to get him to be quiet and all of sudden there were blood drops on the floor. I checked his feet for any scrapes but this was quickly ruled out as Chopper is very sensitive about his feet (he will stop and lift his foot and refuse to walk if he has anything foreign on his foot) so it seemed unlikely that he would not have thrown himself on the floor in screaming agony if his foot was bleeding. After a quick body check I found the culprit - his ear.

He had somehow cut a tiny little nick in his right ear. I applied pressure and figured that would stop the bleeding and we would be on our way. Every time I took the towel off he would give his head a big vigorous shake and the bleeding would start again. Not only that but the head shake and bleeding ear resulted in blood splatter all over everything. EVERYTHING. Tiny drops of coonhound blood were on the kitchen table, the walls, the closet door, the hardwood floors.

I tried wrapping the tip of his ear in multiple layers of band-aids and gauze. He would shake it off. I tried that blood clotting dog first aid stuff. He would shake it off. After a few hours of the tiny drop bleeding I decided that we needed to go to the vet. I wasn't sure if I couldn't get it to stop if he could lose a lot of blood or if he required stitches or not.

Once at the vet they sedated him and got a look at the ear. Turns out the ear had scabbed up by this time and the vet said she couldn't even get it to start bleeding again. She also said no stitches were required. I got a drowsy dog and a bill. Of course as soon as the drugs wore off he started shaking his head and the bleeding started again. I was able to get it to stop this time and the vet assured me that stitches were not necessary. After that we were able to keep it from opening up again but Chopper had a little nick in his ear for some time (one day I looked and it has just disappeared).

Clean up continued for a few weeks. You would all of a sudden see tiny drops of blood on the wall where you thought you had cleaned it up already. I'm sure if you brought in one of those black light blood finder things you see on television that you would still be able to see the spots all over the walls.

A few months later I was at a doggy first aid presentation and thought I would stump the person and asked how she would have kept the ear from bleeding. She thought a moment and said to fold the ear over on top of his head and tie it up with a gauze around his head. Where was she during the blood spattering? Now I know for next time.

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