One of my dogs got super sick, and needed a trip to the emergency room. She’s doing well now, but it was pretty touch and go for a couple of weeks. The worst thing was that she just was not interested in eating, and she lost a lot of weight.
As other pet owners know, the doggie cone of shame sucks. Fortunately we didn’t have to use it this time, but we did need to get her the inflatable neck brace to keep her from losing stitches. I was concerned she was going to hate it, but apparently having a portable pillow around your neck at all times is nice because she found the strangest places to get comfortable and go to sleep.
What happened? She was throwing up excessively for two and a half days, to the point I knew that is wasn’t some kind of flu, but something was seriously wrong. I took the poor girl to our local vet, and she did some MRI scans, but besides seeing a weird ring, there wasn’t anything obvious that they could see as a blockage. The local vet told me to take her as soon as possible to another vet to get ultrasounds done. Fortunately she was still drinking water, and able to keep that down, so for me, while this was a severe problem, it didn’t feel dire yet.
I scheduled the ultrasounds for the next day, and got her down. All they could see was a mass, which usually means a tumor in these cases. The vet was super emotional as he told me this, and asked if it was okay to do an aspiration. I figured it was worth doing it to see if there was anything obvious that could be done, but she is really young to be having a tumor at this point. So the vet took her to do the aspiration, and when he came back he said he had good news, but also bad news. The growth was not a tumor, but it was instead fecal matter. He then explained that the ring they saw from the MRI was possibly an inverted intestine, ad I would need to go to a 24×7 vet clinic to get the surgery done. He suggested I take her immediately, but she was still very energetic and I asked if it was okay to have them check one more time the next day.
For those of you that don’t know, and inverted intestine is when the lining rolls in on itself, effectively creating a pouch. The problem with this, is especially when there is a mass involved, it will keep pushing that pouch into a larger mass, effectively blocking your whole intestine. Which, would explain the vomiting, because the poor girl couldn’t pass anything through her digestive system.
The next day I did bring her down, and with some luck, the vet was able to determine from another ultrasound that she did not have an inverted intestine, and he believed that he could do the surgery at his office. This sounded good, because the 24×7 veterinary office was likely to be three to four times more expensive.
The surgery went well, but we learned that the blockage was some kind of absorbent material and strangely, fecal matter. The vet kept asking me if she had been around babies or diapers lately, because it was all stuck in her small intestines. Apparently they had to remove about eight to fifteen inches of her small intestines, because whatever the material was, it had torn her insides up pretty badly, to the point she was about to, if she had not already, gone septic.
I was able to pick her up from surgery the next day, and she really was out of it from all the medication. She heard my voice, and did half a tail wag. The next few days she ate nearly nothing, and I was having to force feed her medication just to help her get probiotics, antibiotics, and pain medication down.
On the fourth day post surgery, we were desperate to get her to eat anything. We found that she was interested in eating baby food. My daughter got her to eat two small containers of baby food. We were all pretty excited that she was finally eating. Unfortunately in the evening while she was sleeping, the poor dog had explosive diarrhea. I won’t go into describing it, but suffice it to say, we definitely fed her too much, and it was a pretty traumatic experience.
It took a few more days for her appetite to really come back, and start putting her weight back on. She’s back to eating solid food, her stomach is all healed up from the surgery, and she’s running and jumping again. She’s not pushing herself like she used to, and she hasn’t been going out to grab her balls for us to toss, but I’m just happy that she’s healthy.