Unfortunately, my dog suffers from Haemophilia. He’s an Australian Cattle Dog/Red Heeler we named Cobar, from Australian Aboriginal of Red/Burned Earth. Of the worst kind of course. Haemophilia is a genetic disease which slows down the process significantly the ability for blood to clot and coagulate. This is an insidious disease that, if you do not have it or have to deal with, you just never think about. You cut yourself, put a band aid (if that) and go on your way. You never think about how or why your blood doesn’t just continue to run out and you bleed to death.
And then, I got a dog that suffers from this. We found out from getting him neutered which he barely survived. It took 3 months to recover from it with the incision growing to near softball size lump. You could see tendons and muscle tissue. I honestly thought that he would not survive this. With my wifes perseverance, using (Believe it or not) corn starch to thicken his hemorrhaging blood and pure Honey as an anti-biotic coating, it worked very well. Of course he was on heavy anti-biotic and sedation during this time. It was fortunate that we crate trained him earlier so he was at home in the crate for this time. He survived.
He is now 3 years old. He has only had a handful of other bad bleeding events so far. The worst was when he cut one of his paw pads. Again, you never think about bleeding, and within minutes there was blood everywhere. Quick thinking and our veterinarian is nearby that helped make that episode less that what we originally though. And yes, we all thought that this injury may have been permanent and a potential for limiting his mobility. At the time it appeared that he sliced one of his pads nearly in half. It took about a month and a half to heal.
We are now in an episode where he ate something he shouldn’t have and it’s been a pretty bad couple of days with vomiting. I think he is pulling through, but with this disease things can go bad very quickly. I suspect that the neutering wound may cause some issues with his bowel movements and if he isn’t hydrated or eats too much, this system stops working properly.
When we have all these episodes, especially the bleeding ones, people always try to help us. We appreciate it greatly, they are trying to help. But, again, I go back to. You never think about how blood clots and coagulates, so what works wonderful for the normal animals of the world doesn’t work for Haemophilia. One of the most common things that people suggest when he gets cut is to tape or seal the wound with New Skin or glue. They don’t think this thought out (and trust me I would think the same thing). The problem with this method is that. This doesn’t stop the bleeding, it just covers the wound for the blood to then pool beneath the wound and continue to bleed. We associate covering the wound with the blood clotting and coagulating and hence stopping. But we don’t think the why and how. And we don’t think how many times we have some minor scratch, or maybe a zit we pop that bleeds. Yet, we didn’t cover the wound then and it as usual stopped bleeding and we go on. I don’t want to get into the why and how our blood clots and coagulates, but it is an amazing process when you think about how and why it works. And it’s horrible when that process breaks down or doesn’t work at all.
It’s was a tough choice to keep our dog and not put him down during that first time. This is the usual choice, and I can completely understand it. He is definitely a one of a kind dog that I’ve never had before. It’s doubtful I will have a dog like this again too. I am sure that any pets that I get in the future will be just as unique though, but Cobar is definitely special. We let him be as much as a dog as we can let him, but attempt to protect him as much as possible. We’ve learned a lot. I’ve researched many things. From Kevlar vests to other ways to protect him. The vests ended up just a bad idea, mainly they are just for show for police dogs and have no applicable use. One of the best things we’ve found are the Rough Wear dog boots. Those are great things, but you’ll need to get your dog used to them early on. I would imagine it difficult to train an older dog to wear them. The company now even has winter boots for dogs which we will get eventually. It’s then just thinking ahead of where you are going with him and what you’ll be doing or expecting him to do. From how the ground is, how he will move around. You have to also keep in mind that, dogs aren’t aware of diseases like this. Clearly he has some confused idea that he gets sick. Obviously not the why. So, he will try to do what any normal dog would do and in turn he could severely injure himself. Even normal healthy dogs would do this. It’s in their nature it seems. Dogs take direction from humans and they want to please us so much that our own actions may put them in danger or hurt them. It’s trying to prevent ourselves for whatever reason to not lead him down a path that may be detrimental to him. It’s tough and a constant battle with ourselves. It brings out your own inner discipline for the better of the dog or animal. There also comes a time as I said, to let him be a dog. My wife works at a dog daycare, so he gets to play with other dogs. This is a good and bad thing. What about fights and such, and you have to just let the “what ifs” go. Otherwise you will be consumed. We also have to be prepared for him to die quickly. This is tough to deal with but it’s something that you have to come to. It will happen, it’s inevitable as much as we don’t like it.
Well, I’ve rambled on enough about my dog. I’ll eventually post some photos to the blog of him. We have a domain that I will eventually setup as well and probably use this blog software to create a blog more specific about him and his disease.