Dog diseases aren’t funny — except when they are. I worry a great deal about Frankie’s diabetes but I also know that collecting pee samples in public can make for some pretty amusing situations; see The Pee Strip Chronicles, San Diego.
And anyone who has made a frantic drive to the emergency room with a dog that’s ingested something indigestible knows how scary it is while it’s happening — and what a good story it makes if everything works out ok.
I say this because I don’t want anyone to think I’m not taking my latest assignment for Your Dog (the newsletter of Tufts University’s veterinary school), which focuses on diseases of the anal area, seriously. I am. In fact, it was the desire to find case studies to use in my article — I’ll get to that — that inspired me to write this post.
But let’s face it. By definition, dog butts are funny. Nothin’ Butt Dogs ran several contests to find the cutest dog rears, including the one featured here.
In my pre-Frankie days, if anyone had told me how many hours of my future would be spent contemplating dog poo — much less that I would spend additional time contemplating diseases of other dogs’ anuses — I would have been incredulous. And appalled.
Life is like that.
As an aside, this has gotten me thinking about common fecal terminology. I’ve come up with a short lexicon. Feel free to refine/add your own suggestions:
- If it belongs to a baby, to your own dog, or to a dog you know and like, it’s poop or poo.
- If you’re describing it to a doctor and it emerged from an adult human, it’s a stool. If it emerged from a baby — or if you don’t know the word stool — it’s poop or poo.
- If you step in it and it emerged from a dog or (yech) from a human, it’s shit.
- If it is on a trail but did not emerge from a dog or a human, it’s scat (even if you step in it).
- If it comes from a cat, it’s shit* or “the contents of the litter box” (correct me if I’m wrong about this; I’ve just never heard anyone allude to cat poop. But then again, most of the people I know are dog owners).
But back to my article for Your Dog. For my last disease-related article, about diabetes, I enlisted the help of the lovely Miss Jasmine, whom I met on Twitter. Her owner Susanne can attest — I hope — that it was a reasonably painless experience, a way to talk to someone who is actually interested in the details of your dog’s disease. Jasmine also got her picture in the newsletter, which pleased her no end. So did Frankie. Ditto.
For this story on anal diseases I am looking for someone willing to talk to me about:
— a dog that has had a perianal fistula (these are generally German Shepherds, but a few other breeds are subject to them too)
— a dog that has had a perineal hernia (usually intact males)
— anyone who has had a dog’s anal sacs removed because of constant infections/impactions.
Please contact me with the subject line “Your Dog” at writest at mac dot com. I will have put on my serious writer’s hat when I get back to you, I promise.
Comments about fecal terminology, in contrast, can be deposited below.
*Catshit is not to be confused with batshit — the correct term for which, incidentally, is ‘guano’ — in the sense of referring to someone who is crazy.