I am sorry to hear that your Border collie's recovery has been so hard on him and you.
I am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.
A young dog, especially a high energy dog like a Border collie can have more problems like this. The cone is limiting his drive to be active and working, so he focuses on the incision and licking it. I just saw a young Border collie doing exactly this just yesterday.
I would do everything you are doing as far as the anti inflammatory medication and tramadol and topical ointment. I would try to get him out for walks and exercise as much as possible. After 3 days, he should be OK for a good walk. He needs an outlet for his natural energy and to get his mind off the incision.
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I would try keeping him interested in other things, or distracted with some obedience work and his toys.
I wasn't sure about walking because he takes a few steps and then drops down really suddenly to try and lick himself. I can try though
OK we'll try that
I might look into a topical spray or cream that has some lidocaine in it, so he does not feel the incision bothering him. One brand is Derma Cool.
Then the incision might not bother him so much.
Do you think it's worth going back to our vet for a prescription of something else to keep him calm, since the "Calmex" doesn't seem to do anything? We thought maybe a small dose of something like Diazepam
That might be a good idea if the herbal calming agents don't help.
A tranquilizer like acepromazine, or some valium might be worth a try.
I would also ask about something like Derma Cool if they have it.
Is there anything else I can answer or help with?
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He is much better now! Back to his usual nonsense like wrecking our house.