Dawg was sick again over the weekend. Big surprise. Weekends are the only times he gets sick. But, as it does every time he gets sick, it brought up the old question: how do I decide when to take him for treatment? And I came up with the same old answer: I use the same criteria I do for any other member of my family. [Okay, maybe a little sooner than I would for myself, since I’ve been known to be literally at death’s door before agreeing to go to the emergency room.]
This time it started with his having diarrhea in the house before sunup on Friday, just a couple of hours after I’d walked him. That’s something that’s NEVER happened in the ten years he’s lived with us. Then he refused to eat breakfast, something that happens rarely, and only when he’s feeling very poorly. He did take a treat, however.
About noon Dawg threw up the treat I’d given him and refused to eat anything the rest of the day. I papered most of the living room with puppy pads and hoped for the best. All afternoon I walked him every few minutes because he was in obvious distress. Still he managed to miss the paper once while I was in the bathroom (how ironic!). So I papered the rest of the living room.
The diarrhea progressed throughout the day until Friday evening, when I noticed blood in his stool. I panicked, but Elle qui doit être obéie (a nurse) said it looked more like an irritation bleed than a rupture of any kind. So we bagged a sample (just in case) and waited. I continued to walk him as often as possible all through the night. The fact that he would go outside even though there was a thunderstorm in the area speaks to just how much he needed out.
By Saturday morning, Dawg was eating grass (always a good sign), but still cramping. However there was nothing left in his system to come out. So he’d go out into the yard, squat in that funny, kangaroo way dogs have, and repeatedly arch his belly. Nothing. After a few minutes of that he’d walk around the yard, stop and smell the air currents, then pick a spot and try again. A long 15 minutes later he’d give up and come back inside to get away from the continuing thunder and rain. I felt bad for him (we’ve all been there), but since he has diarrhea periodically and it fixes itself after about a day (and since every vet was closed except the emergency room), I decided to give him a little more time. At least the bleeding had stopped. I thought of a dozen things that would compel me to take Dawg to the emergency vet immediately, but mainly they centered around him collapsing, the bleeding coming back, him not eating for 48 hours, or if he stopped urinating (a sign that he’s dehydrating). But, fortunately, none of that happened.
Sure enough, by Saturday evening, Dawg was acting normal. The storms disappeared so She took him for a nice long walk. When they came back, he ran over to his bed and lay down, his back to the room. He only does that when he’s hiding something. She told me later that She heard a loud crunch and managed to catch him chewing an old rib bone he had picked up and successfully hid in his mouth during their walk together (we don’t give him real bones). Apparently Dawg was feeling good enough to be willing to fight her for possession of the rib, but She won. I could have told him that. She Who Must Be Obeyed does not lose!
I prepared him some chicken and fed him a few bites. He took it! Plus, he didn’t want to dash outside afterward. And he didn’t throw it up. So, a couple hours later I gave him a quarter cup of dry dog food mixed with more pieces of chicken. That didn’t set so well.
After I cleaned up the carpet, I decided to go a little slower on re-introducing his body to food. So for the next 12 hours, it was nibble on chicken pieces, then eat a piece or two of dog food. Sleep for three hours and recycle. In all that time, he never asked to go outside. I took him anyway, and he sniffed around the yard, but showed no sign of abdominal distress and no interest in having a bowel movement.
By Sunday evening, he was ready for a real meal. And was he ever happy to get it! He’s been fine ever since. He’s back on his regular meds and his usual probiotic. Thankfully his BMs are normal (no blood). In fact, Dawg seems happy as a pig in…well, let’s say happy as a clam, shall we?
Oh — and I decided to let my subscription to the local Theatre expire. I think I’m getting plenty of drama in my life, thank you very much Dawg!