Unfortunately, a new issue popped up (literally) so I took Bru to the vet on Monday. The good news is that this issue is normal.
Diagnosis: Bru has a tennis ball sized growth on her right elbow called a hygloma. It was caught early so it's not infected or ulcered or any other yucky things. The vet extracted a sample and verified that it's normal joint fluid. It is unrelated to last week's mystery issue; the timing is a fluke.
Cause: It's common in big dogs that strike their elbows on hard surfaces repeatedly. It usually occurs as they lay down. Bru tends to flop down hard and let out a big dramatic sigh. Such a diva.
Treatment: Brewster will stay on soft surfaces while the joint heals itself naturally. This will take weeks and the condition will most likely reappear in the future. Super.
Reality check: I'd be happy to let nature run it's course. However, have you ever tried to keep a 100+ pound dog on soft surfaces 24 hours? Ha! Yeah right. Every square foot of our flooring is hard with the exception of our bath mats. Area rugs don't work for us because I trip on them and Bru's hair piles up quickly.
Vet's alternative treatment: A custom rehabilitative product called DogLeggs. Am I the only one that hears a cash register ca-ching after 'custom rehabilitative product' or what? I planned to order one so I read every single syllable on the company's website. Once I realized that I'd need to send them all Bru's measurements my DIY instincts kicked in. Here are some other Saint Bernard's modeling the product.
My DIY version: Coming soon! I hope. I have several potential prototypes bouncing around in my head...
Bonus story from the vet's office: (please skip the remainder of this post if you are squeamish like me!) The vet extracted a sample and verified that the hygloma contains normal joint fluid. Yup. I wish that's all I knew. The sample extraction was done in the regular exam room. Aka I was there. My job was to distract Bru with treats while a vet tech held her, and the vet took the sample. I held the treats near Bru's mouth (she was not interested) and stood frozen in horror as I watched the syringe fill with orange fluid. Orange. Blazing freaking orange. I told myself to be brave for Bru and refrained from bolting for the door.
The vet opened a drawer, retrieved a glass slide, squirted some fluid onto it, and explained that she's going to look at the sample under a microscope. I flashed back to looking at slides under the microscope in Mr. Pierce's 8th grade biology class then to the frog dissections. Yuck. Apparently my attempts to be brave were too good because she set the joint fluid filled syringe on the counter before she left. I stayed on the other side of the room and texted Jake while I waited for the vet to return.
She came back and explained that it's normal joint fluid. Then, she continued talking and brought the slide over to me for a closer look. She slid the two glass slides against each other which squished the fluid around in between. Then, she showed me how when the slides were pulled apart it was got a little stringy like syrup and continued talking. I hit my limit. I blurted out "I work for a bank!" and immediately felt ridiculous. The vet smiled kindly, said she'd go print some material for me to read, and asked if a vet student she's mentoring could come examine Bru's hygloma for the learning experience. Of course, I said yes. The syringe filled with joint juice (ew!) remained on the counter so I remained on the other side of the room.
If you stuck around for this bonus story, thank you. :) Bru's vet really is a wonderful gal. She loves what she does and I know she meant well. Bodily fluids are just not my thing. Especially syrupy ones! I could never work in any type of medical field. I have nothing but respect, admiration, and appreciation for everyone that does. If that's what you do for a living, THANK YOU ever so much! :)