Friday, October 12, 2012
The Things We Do for Our Pets
On Sunday, my Knight and I were out visiting his mentally ill daughter. Long story short- she has several serious mental illnesses and experiences total breaks with reality several times a year. She became consistently violent and we finally had to have her placed in therapeutic care for the safety of everyone involved. Kiddo is 10 and I love her to pieces. We visit her once a week, and do family therapy with her once a week. So... on Sunday we off visiting my Knight's daughter. I got a text message from my 17 yr old, "The dog just threw up a huge amount of black-purple stringy stuff. It smells horrible."
This dog is known for eating socks. We all have to be extra careful not to leave socks on the floor. My daughter and I talked about what the dog had eaten, and I decided it was probably yarn. So.. I went looking though my yarn stash to see what might be missing. Sure enough I found I was missing a skein of flat, brown yarn. The last time I saw that skein it was on a night table in our room, and now it was gone. My daughter said the dog vomited up a LOT of yarn, and it was a small skein, so we assumed it all came up and I kept a close eye on her. The dog was fine all night Sunday, and Monday, I made a new batch of dog food (yes.. I make all our dogs' food). The dog loved it.. no problems there. Then, on Tuesday she vomited once, then she was fine. Tuesday night she vomited every 20 -45 min all night long. I went into basic doggie first aid for vomiting. By sun up,(Weds morning, now) our dog had stopped vomiting, but was not eating or drinking much, but she was acting like her typical self. I called our regular vet and he took a "wait and see" attitude. But, around 8pm it became very obvious that something was seriously wrong with my dog. She was still not drinking or eating. She was shaking and just not acting like herself. Our regular vet was closed, so we took her to the emergency vet clinic in a neighboring town. X-rays revealed several pockets of air in the dog's intestines. The vet said that meant the yarn was bunched up inside her intestines, and that they would need to operate to remove the yarn. They quoted $2200 plus medications to do the surgery. The vet said we had about 12 hours to get the yarn out before it started cutting though dog's intestines. $2200 is way more than we could afford... especially when you consider they wanted 75% to start the surgery, and the balance when she was discharged. We weren't ready to consider the alternative, so we took her home and called around. Of course, it was 2am, so most places were closed. At 730 am we called a handful more vets and got about the same price quote. Finally, we thought to call the little, one-vet, office one mile from our house. Price quote - $500 plus meds and hospital time. We asked about breaking it up into payments and the vet assistant's answer was, "we're wasting time - get her in here and we'll work it out." So... off we went. They saw us right away. The vet looked at the x-rays from the night before, and told us the risks involved in the surgery, and what he thought was going on inside my dog. The vet was great. He was upfront and honest about what he could and could NOT do to save my dog. After all that he said.. "now.. this is the part I hate talking about. I only take payments if you've been here 3 times." I thought for a minute.. "wait..we've had three different cats spayed here. Does that count?" Doc didn't miss a beat, "Yep. that will work then. Let's get her in surgery." He didn't even have his staff check to see if we really had three cats spayed there. That was Thursday morning.
Dog went into surgery at 10 Thursday morning. The dr found the yarn had been wrapped around my dog's tongue. It went from her tongue down her esophagus, into her stomach in down into her intestines. Since the yarn was wrapped around her tongue, it could not go through her, and since it was already in the intestines, it could not come back up, either. It was a pretty serious surgery, and she's lucky to be alive. But.. she is!
After surgery the vet said my dog would be awake about 230pm and we could some visit her for a few minutes anytime after that. So, around 4 my Knight and I went over to the vet's office. My dog was still groggy from the anesthesia, but otherwise she seemed as okay as she could be. She was happy to see us, and didn't want to leave my side. The vet suggested we take her for a short walk around the yard, and so we did. He told us she could probably come home on Saturday.
This morning I called to check on her, and the the vet assistant said she was doing okay. She was on a special diet, and they had to give her small amounts of water every hour or two, but she as okay. I told the vet assistant that my Knight and I would be over to see her when he got home from work.. around 430 or so.
When my Knight got home I asked him to call the vet to see if the dog was well enough, and if wouldn't be too big a disruption to the office to bring our kids over to see her for a few minutes. The vet assistant told him that we could... but that our dog was ready to come home!!
So.. my girlie is home where she belongs. She's on a special gel food diet that I have to feed her from a syringe every hour, and she can have no more than 2 oz of water at a time. That's for the first 24 hrs after she comes home. Then she graduates to 3 oz of water at a time, the gel food, every hour, and 2 oz of special bland diet dog food thinned to a milkshake consistency twice a day. We keep this up for the next 5 days or so..then increase her food intake a little at time. This is all to give the esophagus, stomach and intestines time to heal from the yarn damage and the surgery. The dog is still not in the clear. We're not sure how much internal damage was done, and we have to feed her in tiny amounts to keep the stomach from expanding because of the stitches (he had to cut her stomach open to get the yarn out). There is still a chance she won't survive this.... but she has a MUCH better chance now than she did on Thursday night.
Yes, it was expensive, and yes the next couple weeks will be tough. But I love the little,dumb furball, and she's worth it.