Monday, July 25, 2011

Skelly is not out of the woods yet :(

X-ray reveals no lung improvement. Coughing worse than ever. Details to follow...

Update: Well everything was going great for a while.

Skeletor went into the Vet for his vaccinations on Thursday. I mentioned when I dropped him off that we were out of Vetmedin (which was the only drug he was taking, aside from the occasional Viagra that I was able to administer.)

I wasn't sure if he was supposed to keep taking it or not at this point. I was hoping since he had been doing so well that he may be ready to start weening off. (It's over $80/bottle!)

Melanie picked him up that afternoon and I forgot to tell her anything about the Vetmedin.

Long story short, we were all out and the weekend was upon us. We would have to wait until Monday to get another bottle.

Now, it's unclear if the lack of medication was a factor or not, but Saturday night he just started coughing. Coughing, coughing and coughing. He has always had a little bit of a cough... but this was the worst Mel and I had ever seen it.

The fits were measured in minutes, not seconds. He would cough and cough until he hacked, and sometimes vomited... then cough some more.  I had some leftover Tussigon that was prescribed before when his coughing was really bad. I gave him a pill. He wretched it up a few minutes later along with his food :(

The next day, his condition had not improved. He was not lethargic. His appetite seemed normal. It's just that he could hardly stand up without inciting a coughing fit. We tried not to excite him. We did online research. We wondered what we could possibly do for him!

This morning, Melanie took him back to see Dr. Chick. They performed an x-ray and compared it to one from a year ago. His lungs and heart didn't look any better on the x-ray. :( Both organs are still functioning on an impaired level.

The vet has always been very clear about the fact that the damage to his cardiovascular system was most likely permanent. However, it was a sad truth that I had optimistically pushed to the back of my mind. It was easy to do when he was going months at a time without any bad symptoms or complications.

Now he's back on a whole host of medications! He's on antibiotics to clear up any possible infection in his lungs. We've got more Tussigon for his coughing. He's got another bottle of Vetmedin. He's on another pill called Furosemide which is prescribed to reduce water retention.

The poor guy has to take over 10 pills a day. I sure hope they work. He certainly doesn't mind as long as we don't run out of pill pockets!

It's not all doom and gloom of course! His appetite remains strong. He's not showing signs of lethargy (when he's not zonked out on cough suppressants that is!) And he's not showing any indication of the dreaded anemia that he's battled with so often in the past.

He's so strong and happy that it's easy to forget how close to death this dog has been. Every so often, he'll give us a scare and we're reminded just how fragile Skeletor's life really is.

As I write this, Skelly is snoring peacefully behind my chair on his comfy bed.
Hang in there, bud!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Local dog has owners worried sick over unexplained vomiting

The other day Skeletor was chomping gingerly on a giant butcher's bone that I picked up at the grocery store. He was one happy pup! He wasn't allowed to chew on the bone in the house, because of the mess it'd make, but that didn't bother him one bit. He was more than happy out on the back porch, just chewing to his heart's content.

Later on that day, Mel and I were minding our own business around the house, and heard a loud splash coming from the other room. Much to our horror, there was a HUGE pool of yellow liquid about 2-3 feet in diameter right in the middle of the wood floored living room. I had to use a towel to clean it up.

Apparently, Skeletor had just finished drinking a lot of water, and something in his stomach wasn't agreeing with him.

Thus began a horrible evening to say the least...

Something was definitely wrong with Skelly's tummy. He was puking constantly for the rest of the night. He was soooo very pathetic, and not feeling good at all. Mel and I were both ready to join him in puking after having cleaned up so much of it!

We were worried that he may have been poisoned or something. We spent the evening doing research online, investigating the house, cleaning up vomit, hypothesizing, worrying, cleaning up vomit, trying to get him to eat, cleaning up vomit, worrying... well you get the idea.

Finally around 1am, we decided to try and sleep. We left the bedroom door open so Skeletor could sleep on the floor beside the bed. The ice maker would make a noise, and we'd think it was poor Skeletor puking again. He would lick his lips and I'd say to myself... "better get the towel!"

Needless to say, it was a miserable night for all 3 of us. Very little sleep was had. The good news is that Skeletor made it through the night without puking. We sincerely hoped that he'd be back to normal the next day. If not, I was going to have to take him to an emergency vet that was open on saturday. Uh... gee I'm sure that would cost a pretty penny!

Skeletor was still very lethargic. He was not interested in food at all. Mel managed to get him to eat some bread soaked in water. His stomach rejected it just a few minutes later.

What could he have gotten into!? I think we have oak trees outside. I've seen him eat acorns in the past. I read that they are toxic to dogs... but how could he have eaten enough to make him so sick!?

His early payloads contained many small fragments of the bone he was chomping on. Was the bone to blame for making him sick? Was the marrow too rich?

Did he munch on a neighbor's grass that had been treated with chemicals?

Fortunately, I had recently had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Sophie O'Neill, owner of Molasses Junction Mobile Vet. I decided that I had better call her. Dr. Sophie asked me a few general questions about Skeletor. She said that if he had a bone or obstruction lodged in his throat, his vomiting would be constant as opposed to only when he eats or drinks.

She said that we should not worry about getting him to eat, but try and introduce a little bit of water over time. She said that it's likely that he ate something that he wasn't supposed to. His body's natural reaction is to empty his stomach. She said that when a dog is sick, he'll know better than to eat because he doesn't want to keep throwing up.

She also said that if his condition got any worse, to call her up and she'd come by our house and take a look at him.

We were so very grateful for Dr. Sophie's advice! She really put our minds at ease. We cancelled our plans to go kayaking that day, and we kicked back and watched a movie while keeping an eye on our sick friend.

That afternoon, Skeletor started feeling better. HIS APPETITE HAD RETURNED! He was wagging his tail and getting back to his chipper self!


Since his recovery, Skeletor has been doing very well. We never figured out exactly what he had eaten, but we sure hope he learned his lesson. We're so glad that he's better!

Thanks again to Dr. Sophie! She's an excellent Veterinarian! If you live in Jacksonville, I would highly recommend you count on her to care for your pet. Call Molasses Junction Mobile Veterinary Services at 904-315-5070.