Theda goes to the vet (Penny too)

Going into this trip, we knew we’d be visiting the vet in Costa Rica. These lovable dummies generally require a trip to the vet every six to eight weeks. Between Penny and Theda, Theda is the more accident-prone and tends to risk death once every six months or so.

Before we left Austin, we’d noticed that Theda had some worrisome growths on her ear and leg. She has cancer — thankfully, it seems to be slow-moving — and has had a few surgeries to remove mast (mastocytoma) cell tumors over the past few years. If you’ve met her, this is why she’s missing a chunk of her left ear. Our month-long stay in Atenas seemed like a good time to take her in to a vet. Our hosts suggested that we go to Dr. Solano in Atenas, an English-speaking vet right in town. We’re working on our Spanish by taking classes in town at Su Espacio (more on that later), but we’re not anywhere near being able to discuss Theda’s ailments. Heck, I can barely do it in English :-).

I took Theda to the vet, who is really nice did a great job on the surgery. All the techs there are also awesome. They took four samples to get tested by a lab in San Jose, and we should have some results back in a couple weeks. We’re not really worried, since the likely result is more of what we know. Theda is doing great and received care that, in my view, is on the level of what she gets in the U.S.

Total surgery bill, with lab work: $285. For those of you who have pets, you know how cheap that is. This surgery would have been in the $1000-1500 range at our usual vet (who we love and we’re not knocking at all). Since we make a lot of vet visits, we’re glad they’ll be affordable.

The "disembodied conehead" look

The “disembodied conehead” look

This post was supposed to end here.

We weren’t supposed to be going to the vet again for a couple weeks.

But we did.

We’re spending the weekend at Green Sanctuary Hotel in Guiones. It’s a great spot, and the beach is a short walk away. Yesterday, we all strolled down to the beach after breakfast. We had the dogs off leash for a bit, since they like tromping around and checking things out. Because Theda had just had surgery, we’re keeping her out of the water and she needs to wear a cone or her Kong donut collar to keep her from scratching her ear and licking at her stitches. On this day, she wore the donut. There weren’t many people on the beach, so they weren’t likely to get into trouble, we thought. We were wrong.

At about 10 a.m., a group of surfing instructors and students came out to the beach. A black and white dog, possibly theirs, followed them out. Our dogs trotted over to say hello and at first everything was going great. A few minutes later, the B&W dog flipped out and attacked Theda, maybe because she was wearing a weird collar and looked strange. The dog pinned Theda on her back and bit at the Kong collar, puncturing it and causing it to deflate. Penny rushed to Theda’s defense, and they started fighting. Soon it was a tangle of humans and dogs trying to stop the dog fight. Eventually we got them away and at first our dogs seemed ok, just a little fired up from the altercation. Our mistake here was not doing a more thorough examination of the dogs.

Later that afternoon, we discovered that Penny had sustained some injuries — a gash on her chin and a couple wounds above her eye and on her leg — that would need stitches. We tried going to the closest vet, but they were closed for the day. So was the next-closest vet in Sámara, so we ended up driving an hour out to Nicoya after calling ahead to to Dr. Delgado who kindly kept his clinic open and waited for us to get there.

Dr. Delgado anesthetized Penny, which we’d never actually seen before. It’s a little freaky when your dog gets a shot then instantly drops down onto the operating table. He sewed up her wounds and prescribed an antibiotic and sent us on our way about 20 minutes and $110 later (again, cheap!). We drove home with a pretty spaced-out Penny.

This is right before Penny got the shot and went down on the table.

Right before Penny got the shot and went down on the table.

Penny, down on the table. Yep, that's a reflection of me in the waiting room.

Penny, down on the table. Yeah, we can see her from the waiting room.

Now we have two dogs in cones, which is pretty ridiculous.

Conehead on the beach in Playa Guiones

Conehead on the beach, Playa Guiones

4 thoughts on “Theda goes to the vet (Penny too)

  1. How did you get your dogs to Atenas? We’d like to bring our dog next trip but three planes from Canada is too much to put her through.
    Thanks, Sharon G


    • Hi Sharon! We drove from Austin, TX to Atenas and had our dogs in the car with us. That presented its own challenges, but since our dogs can’t/shouldn’t fly (they’re boxers and would have trouble breathing) the decision was made for us.


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