For Koda, Love Bites, Love Bleeds…

There’s a Def Leppard song that goes “Love bites, love bleeds.” While Def Leppard was writing the sentiments of a spurned ex-lover, the song feels strangely appropriate to our poor old dog. When my daughter woke up yesterday, Koda was waiting at the bottom of the stairs. There were blood drops on the floor. Not splatter like in a horror movie, but just lots of drops. It was obvious he was bleeding from his penis at one point in the night, but he was no longer bleeding.

My wife let me sleep. God bless that amazing woman. I didn’t have the best night’s sleep, so waking up early to a minor incident probably wouldn’t’ve been in everybody’s best interest. And this wasn’t an emergency. Koda wasn’t still bleeding, and he wasn’t anxious or in pain.

After I woke up and was briefed, we rerouted our daily activities and took Koda to the vet.

This is the part where I should mention that we’ve sold our house and we’re moving into an apartment for the time being. So saying the Goodman household is crazy busy is the biggest understatement since somebody first declared the Galveston beach water “kinda brown.” (YOU CAN’T SEE THROUGH THE WATER.)

Koda was overjoyed to get in the back of the Jeep and go for a ride. I think it’s his favorite activity. That dog LOVES to ride. And when we got to the vet, he was ecstatic. He’s meeting new people, smelling new smells, getting his doggie nose on. Koda is all smiles. Then the vet tech takes him back for his exam.

When Koda returns to us, he’s no longer happy. He is ready to go.

He’s turning around in the room, seeking support and pets from me and Mrs. Badass, and his face is full of anxiety. Dude is ready to go, and we’re not getting the point. In fact, we sit around for another half hour, if not longer. Stupid humans! But in our defense, we still needed to hear the verdict from the vet. I suspected he’d been probed for a fecal ’cause we’re all thinking some kind of UTI thing is going on.

We weren’t just wrong. We were Aaron Burr wrong.

When the vet came in, we expected her to talk about prostates and white blood cells and an infection. We expected antibiotics. Instead, the vet asked the most out-of-left field question.

“Where did you get Koda?”

Um, okay…

“We don’t know. We adopted him from my brother.”

“Do you know where he got the dog?”

“No. It’s never come up, and we’ve never asked. We’ve owned Koda for about four and a half years now.”

“Do you know if he came from a breeder? Do you know if the breeder was in Mexico or South America?”

What the f?

I don’t know how many times I can give her the same answer, but I’m trying. My wife and I are really curious as to why we’re getting this line of questioning. No diagnosis, no verdict, just where did we get the dog? For some reason I’m thinking of puppy mills, and I know that’s a bad thing, but I’ve got no idea how that connects to Koda’s UTI. And the dog’s so old, when he’d been born nobody knew what an Instagram or a Lady Gaga is. So where are we going with this?

“Koda has Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor, or TVT.”

Four words there made no sense to me. I latch on to the last one.

“Tumors”

The vet explains that Koda had lesions on his penis. She collected some cells and examined them under the microscope. (No wonder the big klutz was ready to go – he’d had his penis scraped AND his prostrate checked!) She saw a lot of white blood cells, so there’s a secondary infection party going on, but she also saw some other oblong cells with nuclei, and that’s likely cancer.

Cancer?

“TVT is usually transmitted through a lineage, and it’s uncommon in the United States. You usually find it south of the border, in Mexico or South America.”

She explains that Koda will be given antibiotics and Carprofen (doggie pain killer), and that in 10 to 14 days we should follow up with his regular vet to have him tested for TVT and begin chemotherapy.

In my head I’m thinking “Can we get back to a UTI?” We brought him in because of blood dripping from his penis. It was probably due to a lesion breaking.

She explains the main symptom is redness on the penis and the lesions. Sometimes the lesions can get on the nose or in the mouth, but that’s not the main mode of transmission. It’s an STD.

This is all very confusing, and even though we’re all wearing masks I’m sure she can see the confusion all over my face, so she asks if we have any questions. I really want to go through the story with her to make sure I understand, so I say, “Let me get this straight. Koda has an STD, a sexually transmitted disease. He likely has had it since birth because it was probably passed on from his parents, but he could have picked it up having sex with another dog. This STD can cause cancerous tumors to appear on his penis, and it’s likely only exhibiting now because he’s an old GSD with a reduced immune system. Is that correct.”

Yes.

YOU DOG! You picked up an STD!

So Koda, a.k.a. I Am The Brute Squad, a.k.a. The Fireman, a.k.a. Slutty Brute Fireman, is currently enjoying chicken wafers twice a day with Enrofloxacin and Carprofen included. The antibiotics he will take for 30 days because the infection could be in his prostrate (he didn’t have a prostrate problem but just to be sure), and that takes longer to soak into. Canine TVT is a very treatable form of cancer.

In our family, one of the mantras for the past two to three months has been “one day at a time” or as my wife started saying after reading Charlaine Harris, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil within.” In my life, it seems this aphorism should be modified: “Sufficient unto the day is the dog within.”


Hey, thank you for reading and I hope you’re enjoying my posts. I write the Zombie Dog books, which you can find here both digitally and paperback. I also have a Patreon account here. Supporters get perks like reading my short stories for free.

10 thoughts on “For Koda, Love Bites, Love Bleeds…

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  1. Oh my goodness! You did not need this, especially right after the loss of your older dog. I do hope he recovers and is again a healthy STD-free dog. Just curious – did you ever ask your brother where he got the dog from? It might be worthwhile to trace his lineage incase there are other dogs unintentionally spreading STDs.

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    1. That’s so interesting about your time travel choice. I’ve always thought that going too far into the past or future would be scary. We are made for the present.

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