It all started a few days ago when we noticed a lump on Rudy's neck. It was very strange, about the size of a golf ball, and had just appeared in one day. We brought him in to the veterinarian that evening who checked him out. His analysis was simply a "fatty deposit" which we had not noticed before. He obviously had no idea of the amount of time we spend petting Rudy every day, or he would have known there was no way that growth could have sneaked up on us. However, he was the expert, so we acquiesced. Benign fatty deposits in Labs are pretty common. So the vet sent us on our way, free of charge, telling us to return if it got noticeably bigger.
The following day by the afternoon, the lump on his neck grew to the size of a banana and got very hard. While we were waiting for Patrick to get back from ferrying people around in our car, we watched Rudy sprout "moobs" (man-boobs) on his chest. His new breasts grew at an alarming rate. Within about an hour, he had "B cup" breasts hanging on his chest. I could only watch in envy. They felt like water-balloons.
Jack, Rudy and I went in to shore so we could get Rudy in to the vet as soon as Patrick got back to the marina. Finally at the vet's, Dr. Tomas instantly saw the difference (who couldn't notice the lush new look) and drained some fluid from both growths to analyze. It was clear liquid and his diagnosis was that Rudy had been bitten by some poisonous insect (A spider? Was it on the boat???) and had developed an allergy to it.
The doctor's recommended treatment was very interesting. We were sent all over La Paz gathering up the ingredients we needed. First we went to a beautiful, local nursery to buy a specific plant called Ruda. Then, we went off to a specific pharmacy that carried a hard-to-find medication.
For Rudy's treatment, I was told to boil up water, put some of the plant leaves in the water to steep for 30 minutes, and then apply hot compresses with this special liquid for no less than 20 minutes, constantly re-warming the compresses. Directly following the hot compresses, I was to massage his growths with a pungent, deep-green unguent that smells like Vick's Vapor Rub. I'm to continue the spa treatment FIVE times a day for eight days! In addition, Rudy will be taking prescribed medications, 3 times daily for the following 16 days.
After the late afternoon vet visit and gathering up the necessary items, we finally got back to the boat at 8:30 at night. I decided to start the treatment right away and got the compress ready. The amazing thing was, after the first hot compress application, his "moobs" had completely disappeared. It was truly incredible. Though I was skeptical at first, I am a believer now. I think it is so cool that the vet prescribes herbal medicines - how cutting edge is that?
Continuing the discussion about how life in Mexico is a more affordable, the following are the costs of treatment. First vet visit - no charge. Second vet visit - 300 pesos. Plants - 60 pesos. Diuretic medicine was 280 pesos for two bottles. Antibiotic Cephalixina - 50 pesos. The green unguent was 150 pesos. The grand total is 840 pesos, or $60.82 USD at today's exchange rate!
The bummer is we were all ready to leave for the islands the following morning (Saturday) but instead we are hanging around until the doctor can give us a pass to leave. Rudy has a follow-up visit scheduled for Monday afternoon, and if he passes, we get to leave Tuesday morning bright and early for the islands. Let the "vacation" begin!