15 November

Photo Journal, November 25, 2022: Zinnia’s Morning At The Vet

by Jon Katz

Today marked the first time I was permitted into the vet’s office since the Coronavirus. It was a joy to be able to take some photos. This is such a fundamental part of the human-dog experience.

For Zinnia, it was a different story. She almost lost her chill in there. She was poked and pinched within an inch of her life. We went there for a small thing, but it seemed to grow into bigger things.

Zinnia had a rough morning at the vet (it was a $471.oo visit). She jumped into a sordid pool out in the woods a day ago and came home, itching and scratching continuously and intensely.

She injured a nail and was bleeding from it; blood was all over the floor—some good reasons to go to the vet and see what was happening.

And as I held her head during Dr. Roosevelt’s examination (Dr. Fariello was off), I noticed a hot spot, an inflammation or infection she had picked up in the fetid water. They are common for Labs, but untreated can cause a lot of trouble.

Zinnia also needed her anal glands expressed and antihistamines for the itching, ointment for the hot spot, and a steroid shot. We had to ensure the itching wasn’t the result of an infection. That would require antibiotics.

She also needed a new flea and tick color, and we switched her food to a less fatty mix. I’d like her to lose a few pounds, although Dr. Roosevelt said some dogs are just genetically stocky, like Yellow Labs, and her breeder says she’s where she ought to be.

I ended up in the middle; I’d like to see her trim down a bit.

But the tick collar and the big bag of new food sent the bill shooting up. That’s life; I’ve retired from panicking about money; I think I’m close to breaking the spell. We will figure it all out.



Zinnia loves Nichole, but she went a little bonkers when they used an electric razor to cut the fur around the hot spot on her lower neck. She wasn’t crazy about the anal glad work either. (I skipped a photo of that.)

Nicole was unfazed; she knew how to handle dogs. Several times, Zinnia broke free and ran over to hide behind me, but there was no refuge, Nicole and Cassandra, the two vet techs, are more challenging than any dog or ten older men.


They put some medicine on the hot spot and trimmed the rest of her nails.

No antibiotics, new dog food to take home, pills, and a tube of ointment. The itching is quieting, Zinnia is gulping down water (the steroid shot), and the antihistamine pills seem to be working.

Zinnia is exhausted, but it was good we went. We got a lot of things done.

Dr. Roosevelt had no trouble getting down on the floor and into Zinnia’s ear. They don’t seem to put dogs up on tables any longer, they get right down onto the ground with them.


  1. You are right. They don’t put dogs on the table anymore, at least not big dogs like Zinnia or my Golden. One of my best friends is a vet and all that up and down catches up with them. My friend just had to have a knee replacement. (I feel for Zinnia with the anal gland thing. My Golden just had hers done last week and she cried. )

  2. Poor Zinnia. It’s my understanding that labs tend to skin allergies, although I’ve had Airedales with the same affliction. I hope that her vet visit solves the problems. Get well soon, Zinnia.

  3. This exam sounded similar to the ones my Golden Retrievers, Sunny and Oliver, get even down to expressing the anal gland. I don’t know what happened to the country vets and the low fees, but I will pay the price to keep my goldens healthy and alive. Thank you for sharing your life with Zinnia, Fate, and Bud as well as with the sheep, donkeys, cats, and imperious chickens. They have brightened my life.

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