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Matthew Sisk: Freedom from collar leads pup to a minor injury
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Lemmy’s last regularly scheduled check-in with me is Saturday morning.

He rumbles into the waiting room, banging his Elizabethan collar on the door frame, then a bench, then his owner’s shin on the way to the exam room. This is the human cost of avoiding a pet chewing stitches.

For Lemmy’s part, he’s still in a great mood. He’s just now a bit dangerous to knees.

I remove the stitches and ensure the incision has healed correctly. Then, I free Lemmy’s head from the restrictive collar. This warrants another paw sandwich handshake, followed up by a wet dog kiss.

I rub his big floppy ears and wish him well. I recommend he come in for a weight check in a few months to make sure he’s on the appropriate dose of his parasite prevention. Otherwise, I don’t expect to see him for a full year.

Well, expectations aren’t always met.

Just before the office closes, we receive a frantic call. After visiting us, Lemmy went to the park to celebrate the lack of E-collar. He was excited to put it mildly.

A young, 35-pound dog with newly discovered freedom after two weeks of imprisonment appreciates a good run. However, as with many dogs this age and size, Lemmy is not always graceful. He took a tumble and has been reluctant to put weight on a front leg. The owners are worried he’s broken it.

Of course, this is possible. I tell the owners to bring him in and I’ll try to determine what’s going on.

When they arrive, Lemmy’s owners are in tears. But the young dog is panting, smiling and hopping with his left front foot off the ground. He puts it down when he sits, leaving a little trace of blood on the floor.

As I approach him, he sandwiches my hand again. I immediately see the problem. He’s broken two of his nails, down to the quick. That smarts.

The rest of the leg is fine, so I trim back the nails and bandage the toes for a short time. He’ll be fine.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at