I realize how far behind I am on my blog. Wow. Both of them, actually, and Leo had a birthday last week that all but got missed with all the chaos ensuing. Hopefully I can catch up everything in the next day or two.
The biggest thing that happened recently was last weekend. We were entered in an agility trial just south of us about 75 minutes. The show was four days, Friday through Monday; we were entered just Saturday and Sunday in Standard and JWW.
Friday night Vegas got me up at 1:45 am and then around an hour and a half later, finally getting up again when it was time to get up and get ready for the trial. Being dark in the outer reaches of the yard and a dark dog, I couldn't see what she was doing and was too tired to think much about it.
We arrived at the show site, unloaded and were walking to the building. All of a sudden she was practically dragging me to the grass patch. My hands were full and I was juggling three dog leashes so I wasn't very happy. But I soon learned why she was so persistent. She had pure liquid diarrhea. Uh oh! It all came together then. That must have been why she was up and down so much overnight.
We finished setting up, checked our maps, and settled in to wait until our walk. It was a couple hours still and during that time I took Vegas out a couple more times to the same result - walking around hunched and squatting trying to go and succeeding with only liquid drips. As the day progressed, the color became noticeably darker. Other than that she seemed okay.
That night she crashed out pretty hard, like normal. I didn't feed her other than pumpkin and some slippery elm capsules. Turns out she didn't eat the capsules so we dumped the contents of a few capsules in some ground turkey necks and she ate that. I took my son to the movies and we came home to a diarrhea mess on the entry (hard) floor and vomit on the throw rug at the back door. No good.
After taking care of that, we went to bed. Vegas was noticeably "off," but I had little for solution other than to try to get meds down her. I ran to the store after the cleanup and got Imodium and gave to her. She got me up another two or three times Saturday night, too. We went to the show not sure if we would run. I told her she needed to tell me and I just watched for signs that she was peppy. I hadn't fed her and she hadn't asked for anything either, the latter part something I didn't think about until later. Probably from lack of sleep is all I can figure cause that girl definitely knows how to ask for food and isn't shy about it.
As it got closer to our run time, she was peppy enough. I'd made sure she drank water and was just keeping her with me and petting her, then tried to see if I could get her to rev up like she normally does. She seemed okay, maybe tired, so I opted to run her in Standard. At that point I was thinking she possibly ate something she shouldn't have or we were dealing with something like giardia as we'd been to the park biking twice the week previous and I know she'd gotten a drink of puddle water on both occasions before I stopped her. My biggest concern at that point was really contagion for other dogs but wasn't sure what I could do about it; she'd been there the day previous, after all. As an aside for anyone thinking I wasn't being responsible with her at a dog show with something possibly contagious, I had no inkling of that all day Saturday. Diarrhea is somewhat common when showing dogs due to stress (positive or negative), anxiety, and excitement, plus the increased amount of treats they often get with training and working.
After her standard run she noticeably went downhill. She was tired and more than willing to just crash. In fact, I'd taken her self-inflating pad from her crate in front of the bleachers and she lay down then started shivering. Rachel was nice enough to loan us a spare blanket and we wrapped her up in it. She kept on shuddering and was fully laying down head on the ground. Her gums got a little tacky and her scruff didn't contract as quickly as normal indicating some dehydration. Great. I was completely torn with what to do. I wasn't sure if I should pack up then and take her to the vet or wait and see if I could run Leo in his JWW class first. I hemmed and hawed and really couldn't decide. I knew she wasn't critical but I hated how badly she felt. I also hated to throw away the money (sadly enough) and this weekend was supposed to have been a bright moment in an otherwise very stressful time of my life.
After talking with the doctor and determining Vegas was dehydrated some, she asked about something I hadn't thought of. She asked if Vegas had any bones recently. It reminded me, the first time she had diarrhea the only thing I was able to pick up had been a decide size chunk of bone. At best guess it looked like the head of the leg bone on the chicken quarter she'd eaten. The doctor was concerned about hemorragic gastroenteritis, possibly caused by the bones scraping up her intestinal tract. She wanted to run some blood work to get an idea what Vegas' RBC was. We went ahead and did that and the results came back high. She said normal was up to 55%; Vegas was 64% plus, confirming HGE. She recommended going to the emergency clinic for the night where they could administer IV fluids and antibiotics while monitoring her. The doctor said that was what she recommended as aggressive treatment, telling me that even with aggressive treatment 10% of dogs die from HGE. SCARY!!!!!
Except Vegas' anxiety alone would make leaving her difficult and I always worry about bloat. The other concern was cost. Being unemployed screws with a lot of things including high-cost veterinary care, despite having an insurance plan. Plus, in discussing Vegas' anxiety - as the doctor had seen just taking her back to the treatment room to draw blood - leaving her at the ER could be counterproductive to healing.
I opted to have them administer subcutaneous fluids at the clinic and send us home with meds. She was given two prescriptions, one for Metronidazole and the other for a latest generation of the antibiotic Baytril. We were then to come back daily for a recheck and more SQ fluids and possibly recheck bloodwork late in the week. Oh, and a bland diet for a while.
So long story summarized, I went home, got Vegas situated, ran to the store for chicken, rice, and broth, came back and started cooking up a couple pots. Once it was ready (she was very impatient for food at that point, a good sign), I fed her and gave her first dose of the meds. She went to rest until bedtime. Monday she got up, had diarrhea again, ate, and we went to the vet for another round of fluids. By Tuesday morning she wasn't having diarrhea as often but she'd started leaking urine the night before so I was having to keep wee-wee pads and a waterproof pad around and I'd had to change bedding multiple times. Tuesday she was doing well enough, no diarrhea and a stool that was starting to form so the doctor felt she didn't need more fluids. Instead I was to just keep adding liquid to her meals to ensure she was getting a lot of hydration. As long as things remained fairly status quo we didn't need to come back.
That brings me to today. This morning she had her last dose of the Metronidazole. Everything has been on the up and up since Tuesday. She stopped "leaking" (THANK GOD!) and kept firming up. She's remained on a bland diet until tonight as I wanted to make sure her colon had the time it needed to heal. I've also only allowed her to have her meals, no treats, all week. She kept getting better and better to the point that by Wednesday afternoon she was ready to have the zoomies again, playing, digging out toys, and annoying me when I tried to work. Thursday was worse and Friday I had to get her out. She'd been on a couple errands with me during the week but it wasn't enough so Friday she went to the dog park and today to the beach. So far so good.
My plan at this point is to wean her over to ground pork with some bone meal for the next few days (I have a three pound package to use.) and then work her back into her normal meals. I'm hopeful this won't happen again, but boy am I going to watch her eating habits and make her chew her food better instead of scarfing as she has a habit to do.
This was a very scary experience. The concern from the vet was over her going septic what with having an open pathway from her colon to her blood for bacteria. They apparently can go downhill very, very quickly. It scared the tar out of me and seeing her not playing, not interested in food, and just looking sick (It's in the eyes.) made it all the more serious. I'm glad my girl is back to normal now and hope this never happens again.