As part of the regular procedure at Sherman’s annual check up this morning, the receptionist asked if I had any concern’s with the speckled one’s health or behavior. Distracted a little bit by Sherman’s apparent interest in Jester the rabbit, who was snuggled on the lap of the lady next to me, I answered that he had no issues at the moment. For the rabbit people out there who are worried about a big(ish) dog and sweet wee bunny interaction, Sherman’s way of showing interest in Jester was to inch forward on his belly a teeny bit at a time, maintaining the “down” I’d asked him for but slowly gaining proximity to the critter in question. While I highly doubt he would have harmed Jester, I was careful to not let him even get within licking distance.
Actually, Sherman has been chomping and licking at his hind feet lately, but he’s generally willing to give up on his toes when I ask him to leave them be. The Electrician and I thought poor Sherm might be suffering from mosquito bites on his pads, since the little biters prefer the soft parts like his feet and snout. Much to my surprise, Dr. Steele found that Sherman has a mild yeast infection between the pads of his feet. Cue the collective “Ick!” in the crowd.
I have heard of dogs having yeasty ears, but I didn’t know yeast can grow on a dog’s feet. Apparently, it has something to do with feet being moist for extended periods of time. I guess that him licking his feet all the time doesn’t help the problem, and now the poor guy has itchy, angry feet. He chews to deal with the inflammation caused by the yeast, which just causes more irritation in between his doggy toes. It’s a vicious cycle, and now I’ll be bathing his feet in epsom salts to cure the infection.
Do you remember being a kid and having someone tell you that a dog’s saliva is good, that it cleans their wounds and heals sores because it’s so clean? I have a clear memory of a dog, I don’t remember whose, licking my scuffed knee, and me being told to let it keep licking because it would heal my scrape. I think it’s a common misconception. Dog saliva is filthy, if the things dogs eat, lick, and sniff are any indicator, and in Sherman’s case, his saliva has aggravated the condition of his feet. If you don’t believe me, go read about dog mouths at snopes.com and get more facts than I provide.
Besides, if that old wives’ tale was true, you’d never see a dog wearing the dreaded cone following surgery or injury. I bet Sherm would have love to heal his own bo-bo after I had him neutered, but he too wore the plastic lampshade and felt like a tool for the first week. He got over it. I doubt he remembers the cone, and I’m certain he’s long since forgotten his testicles, too.
We’ll be bathing four pup feet around here for a while, but I’m looking forward to a pup who doesn’t gnaw his own toes. Maybe his breath will stop smelling like feet now.
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