Russ had to lance an abscess today!
One doesn't often get to use that phrase. But Kris told me yesterday our vet, Russ, was coming over because of a calf's umbilical abscess.
We wanted to make sure it wasn't an umbilical hernia. No one would want to lance that on accident, because that would really injure the calf. Sometimes a calf has a half hernia, half abscess. Anyway, I got to go along because my mom generously offered to stay with my napping kids. My niece Caroline - a city girl - went with me.
Russ got out a shot to put the calf under. Caroline said, "You look like a doctor."
Kris got out a halter for the calf.
"How did you notice the abscess ..." I started to say, until I saw the calf. That's right. You see it too. Not a normal bellybutton at all.
Russ gave her the shot, put the halter on her, and tied her to the gate.
Yes, flip flops are what I wear to every minor calf operation.
He let Caroline feel it and told her what he was going to do.
He explained that abscesses commonly occur in bellybuttons because they're a vulnerable entry point for bacteria. The bacteria causes an inflammatory response, which triggers the immune system to form a cavity to contain the infection and prevent it from spreading. The interior liquefies and pus forms. The area expands, creating tension and inflammation.
He got a scalpel. If you're easily grossed out by bodily fluids, scroll down past these two pictures.
We all got out of the way as he lanced it.
Caroline was duly impressed. You can tell by her expression. Oh, you don't think that's what her face is saying?
Russ showed us the calf's response to the infection - its body had built up a thick interior wall.
Russ said, "The solution to pollution is dilution," as he used a syringe full of soapy water to wash out the cavity.
He used fly spray that's safe for wounds. He said you can't close the wound up, because it would just become infected again. He told Kris to continue spraying fly spray on it for the next few days.
Success! Just another day at work.
Waking up, feeling woozy, but much less self-conscious about her navel.