Today was a difficult day for Orso and us. We have had Orso for almost 7 weeks and have struggled the entire time with his ears. We have taped them, we have DermaBonded Dr. Scholl’s mole foampad in them, we have rubbed them with vitamin E, we have prayed to the puppy ear gods, we have done it all!
Although at times he has gone several days with his ears standing, the majority of the time they have been flopped – the right one in particular. Over the last couple of weeks, his ears became progressively worse with both ears permanently flopped inward, spurring us to do tons of research on cropping Cane Corso ears. The first thing we learned is that the absolute latest that they should be cropped (or re-cropped) is 16 weeks – a benchmark that was quickly approaching for us. Orso is turning 15 weeks on Thursday, September 30th. The other observation we made is that his ears are somewhat longer than any other Cane Corso ears out there who have gone on to become conformation champions. There is no dispute that Orso has a lot of growing to do and would possibly “grow into” his ears, but we were not 100% convinced of this. The final issue we were having is that one ear was about ¾ of an inch longer than the other (it was actually measured by us), a detail that perhaps would be overlooked in relation to the size of his head when fully grown, but it was something that in the meantime was very obvious just by looking at him.
All of these different factors brought us to a fork in the road – do we wait it out and risk his ears not turning out OK or do we re-crop the ears to increase the likelihood of the ears standing correctly? This was a very difficult and emotional decision for us. Our biggest concern was Orso’s welfare. We were not comfortable with the idea of performing surgery on this young puppy, even though puppies his age go under general all the time for neutering and spaying. We obsessively debated over this matter for about 2 weeks, continued to do massive amounts research and spoke to several veterinarians who specialize in ear trimming, including Dr. Nunn, an extremely well-respected veterinarian in Arizona who was incredibly helpful and generously spent time looking at videos and photos of Orso before giving us his recommendations. We panicked about the effects of general anesthesia on an almost-15-week-old puppy and endured the criticism of people who are anti-cropping. In the end, we made the decision to re-crop Orso’s ears. We consulted with our veterinarian, Dr. Pane, over a period of several days. Although hesitant to perform the surgery, Dr. Pane knew that he is the only person I would trust to touch our puppy’s ears. He kindly agreed to do the procedure and went way, way beyond the call of veterinarian duty on this one.
When we dropped Orso off for all his pre-op tests, Dr. Pane told us to stay nearby because he wanted us to come back in an hour to help him mark where the ears would be trimmed. As promised, he called us an hour later and we rushed right back to the clinic. Orso was already under anesthesia and hooked up to all his monitors. Dr. Pane, Gus and I, along with the help of photos of Orso’s dad (Saggio) and other accomplished Canes, spent about 30 minutes measuring his ears and drawing lines on them with a permanent marker. When we finally agreed on where the cuts should be made, we were kicked out of the operating room so that Dr. Pane could work his magic. I gave him a extra tight bear hug for good luck before leaving the clinic. I fought back the nervous tears and left the clinic.
An hour later, Dr. Pane called to tell me that he was done and that he believed the ears had turned out beautifully. He told me that it was team effort and that several other members of his team, including Mimi, had helped make sure his ears were perfect. Nichelle was also working so she kept texting me with status updates. Orso was awake and doing well. We picked him up a couple of hours later and he looked gorgeous. He’s swollen and stitched up, but you can still tell what a detailed and careful job Dr. Pane did with our boy. Orso must have behaved pretty well because they even sent him home with a personalized Certificate of Bravery!
In the end, we are blessed that Orso made it through this procedure just fine and are very gracious to the team at South Kendall Animal Clinic for their efforts; specifically we are very appreciative to have such a wonderful man as Dr. Pane in our lives. Thank you, Dr. Pane, for everything you do for our precious four-legged family members. To visit Dr. Pane’s clinic online and meet his fantastic team, click here or go to http://southkendall.com/.
Below are some photos of Orso from this evening. Keep in mind that he is very swollen because the photos were taken mere hours post-surgery.
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