The Dreaded Cone of Shame

Lyra was spayed last week, and I’ve had a hell of a job keeping her away from her stitches! She has a strong will, and it’s hard to make her do anything she doesn’t want to – like wearing the Elizabethan collar (or ‘Cone of Shame’) provided by the vet to prevent her getting at the wound. She went into a total frenzy in her attempts to remove it; she was thrashing about so much I was afraid she was going to burst her stitches. In which case the E-collar would have done its job, as there would have been no stitches left in for her to pull out.

This wasn’t just bratty behaviour; in my experience, sighthounds never cope well with the Cone of Shame. They need a large size because their long snouts and long tongues allow them to reach parts other dogs can’t. The trouble is, they have small heads on slender necks, and the sheer weight of a large E-collar drags their heads down and interferes with their balance.

Added to this is another problem that could easily be avoided if the manufacturers of these things gave it a little more thought. All the E-collars I’ve come across are either opaque or patterned, which must surely mess with a dog’s peripheral vision, confusing them even more – like they’re not confused enough after an anaesthetic! It would seem more sensible (and possibly cheaper) to make the collars with plain, clear plastic.

The E-collar provided for Lyra looks like this:

The pawprint pattern is clearly for the benefit of the dog’s owner; I don’t see how it can in any way comfort the dog. Lyra might know what a pawprint is by smell, but a visual pattern of pawprints would mean nothing to her, and on this device it would just appear as a busy pattern interfering with her vision. Add to that the weight of a cumbersome lampshade dragging on her neck and messing up her balance, and it’s understandable she panicked when I tried to make her wear it.

The whole process of spaying is brutal enough from a dog’s point of view: they’re taken into the vet feeling perfectly healthy, abandoned there without explanation and drugged insensible, to wake up later in considerable pain. To add the stress of an E-collar to this just feels wrong.

I gave up on Lyra’s Cone of Shame pretty quickly and tried an inflatable ‘doughnut’ collar, but her telescopic neck reached around it easily.

I ended up staying awake all night so I could prevent any attempt (and there were many!) to get at the stitches. The next day (thank God) I managed to borrow a post-surgical suit from a friend. Lyra doesn’t like wearing it (she’s not the sort of dog who likes wearing clothes, and I can’t say I blame her) but at least she tolerates it, and it seems a kinder way to protect her wound while it heals.

And it means we can both sleep at night.

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7 Responses to The Dreaded Cone of Shame

  1. Aww poor sweet Lyra! We never use the vet cones on our dogs and they have always worn a doughnut or a t-shirt after an operation, as it is so much kinder. We hope you’ll get some sleep and send lots of love your and Lyra’s way 🤗💕🐕 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. natswans says:

    So glad you found a solution , cones they not like indeed. Good luck hops all goes well for now. Sheila xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kkessler833 says:

    You certainly are good dog owner. Sorry you had to stay up all night. Hope all is well now.

    Liked by 1 person

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