Thursday, April 16, 2015

Koira's Eyelid Surgery, and a General Update

Last week on Wednesday, Koira went into the vet to have a small tumor removed from her eyelid. It was tiny, and eyelid tumors are almost always benign, but due to placement, the tumor had to be removed before it damaged her eye. I'm really bummed I didn't notice the eyelid tumor before she had her dental last month, since it would have been nice to have both things taken care of at once, rather than having Koira put under anesthesia twice in such a short period. But things happen, and it needed to be taken care of.

Koira went in for surgery at 7:45, I was called at 9 by the vet saying she was out of surgery and doing good, and picked her up at 11:30. Overall, a really quick procedure that went smoothly. Koira has some stitches in her eyelid, and is going to have them removed after ten days (which is this upcoming Saturday). In the mean time, it is antibiotics in her eye twice a day, and a cone to keep her from scratching or rubbing the eye and ripping her stitches out.

I spent this past weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, at Barn Hunt Regionals in St. Helens, OR as the official photographer.


This meant a really busy, but fun, weekend of dog sports and dog sport people. The dogs came along and stayed in the car while I photographed the event, since the drive and hours were long enough that they couldn't stay at home, and I didn't feel comfortable having someone else, even my mom, take care of Koira with her eyelid stitches and antibiotic requirements twice a day. Koira ended up wearing a combination of a classic cone and a device called a "bite-not collar" that is basically a cervical collar that prevents the dog from bending their neck very much. The combination was needed to keep Koira from rubbing her face on things, which she could do with the cone alone, or from scratching her face, which should could with the bite not collar alone. It was cumbersome and annoying to both of us, and she kept managing to pop her cone off by getting stuck up against things. Overall, though, she did just fine waiting in the car.

One of the cute little ratties at Barn Hunt. Of course, this picture was taken in the Rat Pit area, away from the rings and away from the dogs. 

Since getting home on Sunday, I've been busy editing the photos from Regionals, trying to get everything up and available for people to purchase. Along with the normal wanting good sales because I spent a lot of time and effort to get the pictures, and believe they are good, I am hoping for good purchases from this event to help pay for Koira's back-to-back surgeries, since it wasn't cheap. But we do what we have to for our dogs.

On Friday, I got fed up with Koira's cone situation, which was horrible for both of us, and I thought that there must be a better way. I perused Google Image Search some and came across something that looked perfect, basically a face sheild for dogs. So I spent some more time locating the name of the product, finding somewhere in the US that sells them, and then debating if it was really worth it. But I took the plunge and purchased Koira an Optivisor for dogs, with the hope that this single product would be able to replace the cone and bite-not collar, and would be more comfortable for Koira to wear while her eye heals. She will need the eye protected still for at least 2-3 days after the stitches come out, to give time for the places the stitches were to heal.

Koira chewing on a toy in the yard, wearing the Optivisor to protect her eyelid stitches

I got the Optivisor in the mail on Wednesday and put it on Koira right away. We had some initial problems with her wanting to rub her face and paw at it, so I set out for our walk with both the optivisor and her cone (but not the bite-not collar) to keep her from messing with it. By the time we got to our friend's house to pick her up for our walk, I felt comfortable taking the cone off, and Koira spent the next hour with just the optivisor on. Even on a leashed walk, I don't feel comfortable letting her have no cone or something to protect the stitches, because even just one swipe with a front foot could be enough to catch and pull out a stitch, which could cause some pretty serious issues, now and potentially long term given the placement we're talking about.

Now that Koira has been wearing the optivisor for 24 hours, I feel comfortable saying that it is so worth it. It is so much better than a cone, because she isn't running into things, she can go out the door without hitting the doorway, curl up in her round bed, get into and out of her crate, or even come up on my bed with me, all things that she couldn't do with the cone on, at least, not easily. She is still attempting to rub her face on things like the beds some, but stopped pawing to get the optivisor off. And, while I do my best to keep her from rubbing her face on things with verbal corrections and treats for leaving it alone, and physically preventing her from doing so if those don't get her to stop, I feel that it is less likely to hurt her eye or pull stitches. The inside of the optivisor is smooth plastic, afterall, so there isn't anything to catch a stitch on. As long as she isn't allowed to rub and rub and rub on it, I feel like it is not going to cause problems. The optivisor will certainly be staying in our medical supplies for future use after this. Eyelid tumors are known to recur, and who knows when I might want this thing in the future for other issues.

Plus, dogs in visors are immensely amusing, are they not?


  1. Poor Koira! I hope her eyelid feels better soon! That optivisor thing is neat!

    That's a really pretty rat! I really want to get to a barn hunt soon!

  2. So hard to keep dogs from sabotaging their own recovery isn't it? The visor looks like a good solution. No one ever wants to use a cone, but sometimes you gotta do it!

  3. That optivisor is hilarious! What a brilliant idea someone had and a great medical tool though! :-)
    We can't do barn hunts, our dogs already have a high prey drive and it would ruin all our threshold training to encourage them. But it has always looked like a fun sport!

  4. Hope she's doing better - that visor is pretty ingenious - I hate putting cones on our dogs - they are so awkward for them and for me too because Jack tends to follow me around the house and kept bumping into me last time he had one.

  5. Hope Koira is feeling betterW

    The visor looks like a good alternative to a cone. Thunder had to wear a cone after he bloated until his staples came out and it was a pain. He had to wear the cone again when he had a cast on his front leg after an injury. Again a pain. The cone is also very warm for the dogs. Can the dog breath easily in the visor?

    Thanks for joining the hop.

  6. Ouch, the eye lid surgery doesn't sound like fun, but glad the eye is on the mend. Enjoy your barn hunts. We do nose work and tracking so can't do barn hunts as they would teach us to follow distractions which we can't do.

  7. Never seen a dog visor, that's pretty cool. Hope she makes a fast recovery.