Many times we hear the plea, "You’ve gotta fix him, Doc." Man, only God can make a tree, and only the body does the actual healing. If things are pretty torn up, some surgery can speed up the healing by putting those pieces back next to each other where they belong. That won’t make them grow back,though. Dr. Erick Egger is an orthopedic surgeon at Colorado’s veterinary school. He says that the bone surgeon must be part carpenter, part gardener. You can help with medicines, as well, but if the animal’s body doesn’t participate, you’re kidding yourself. There are also times when the healing power of the body is just incredible.
"T.T." Jones got bitten all over his head by one of his house-mates around the end of February, not quite three months ago. In addition to all the swelling, abrasions, and obvious bite wounds, there was an additional complication. If you pressed on the side of his head, saliva would pour out of his ear…LOTS of saliva (and blood and stuff). This was a couple of days old and was very nastily infected and painful (and, this picture was made AFTER we cleaned things up). Apparently the mangling of his head had damaged and intermingled his parotid salivary gland and his ear canal. Sort of like "you got your chocolate in my peanut butter".
We cleaned up the wounds and sent him home on antibiotics and pain medicine (to start with). I posted the case on Veterinary Information Network for the hotshot surgeons to evaluate. They said, "I am afraid you may have to explore this area. I would be inclined to pursue some imaging (CT or even some contrast in the ear canal to identify where the leak is) or simply explore it. You may need to be prepared to remove the canal but if there are still areas of contamination/infection deep down, you can place a drain until it is "cleaned up" a bit and then go back in for definitive surgery…"
I was surprised when "T.T." didn’t come back for the scheduled recheck exam. I was even more surprised when he showed up today for his annual checkup. They didn’t bring him back because he had seemed to be okay after taking his medication.
Sure enough, he does seem to be okay. There’s a little funky raw spot where his ear canal used to open. A lot of his ear canal appears to have disappeared. He’s not sore, he feels good, it’s not draining.
He didn’t have a C-T scan, he didn’t have any surgery, he just healed. I wish I could say I healed him, but I didn’t… Maybe I helped a little; I think I did.