Friday, March 18, 2005

My Dogs are Smarter(Or how I dropped a cool grand on Puppy Love)

Veterinary care is expensive. And how...

I got home late on Wednesday night and my wife advised me that Cassie, the Rott-mix, had been sick. Doggy-diarrhea is never a fun thing. Thankfully there were no problems in-the-crate though and she just left a mess in the back-yard. Other than the tummy trouble, she appeared fine and was her usual self the rest of the night(translation: antagonized big-sister mercilessly).

When I let the girls out yesterday morning, she again ran straight for the door and once outside suffered from diarrhea. Again, she was fine otherwise and ate her breakfast with no protest and was drinking her water as well. Hopefully she'll be fine by the end of the day...

Soon as I opened the door from the garage, I knew we had a problem. The unmistakable stench of...well, you know...hit me like a sledge-hammer. We'd had an--many?--accident in the crate. And how...though she is a bit of a neatnik; she went on her blanket and the blanket was wrapped up neatly and shoved out of the way.

When let outside she made a bee-line for her favorite restroom spot and suffered another case of diarrhea. But this time it was bloody. BIG RED FLAG!

When my wife arrived home a few minutes later we got both dogs together and into the car and on the way to the Emergency Clinic as our regular vet had closed 20 minutes earlier. After about a 20 minute wait I was able to take her in to be looked at.

A cursory exam left the doctor assuming the cause was one of three things: a foreign body that was swallowed and causing an obstruction, a GI infection of some sort, or Parvo. Though she agreed with me that based on her behavior and her overall appearance that Parvo wasn't very likely. An X-ray and some blood-work would tell the story.

Over an hour later the word finally came; a slight GI infection, cause unknown. No obstruction visible though it couldn't be ruled out entirely based on the X-ray. Prognosis: overnight stay for observation and fluids to re-hydrate. We can pick her up in the AM and take her for treatment to our regular vet. All for the tidy sum of $760-and-change.

After a sleepless night, my wife went off to work and I returned to the clinic to pick Cassie up and take her over to our regular vet. After waiting 45 minutes for them to clean her up and contact the vet's office to say we were coming, they released her to me. And you've not seen a happier dog! She was not happy when I left her in the examining room the night before to be taken away for the night and was very happy to see daddy!

The observation notes indicated that she'd had a pretty good night, hadn't gotten sick again and responded well to the attendants affection. Things turned south after I put her in the car. I could hear her doing it but had to focus on driving so I could not stop her from tearing at the bandage on her fore-leg, pulling out the IV-catheter and bleeding all over the back-seat. Thankfully I was stopping at my wife's office and she was able to join me for the rest of the trip to keep an eye on Cassie. An easy 10-minute drive turned into a minor-emergency because she was bleeding a lot and we couldn't be certain how it was affecting her.

Once arrived and after we managed to convince the front desk that she really was bleeding a lot, she was seen by the Vet asst. and cleaned up. Finally, we started to relax again.

The doctor's assessment was similar to last night's diagnosis. As was the treatment: more fluids, some anti-nausea medication (neglected to mention the puking: last night on the way to the clinic and on the way to the vet this morning. May need to pull out the back-seat and put in a new one it's such a mess!) and observation. For only another $230...

That's pretty much a cool grand, and we're still not out of the woods; should she not improve over the course of today or overnight theres more blood-work and tests to be run, including for Parvo. Like I said, veterinary care is expensive but how at the same time do you not care for what amounts to a member of the family? I'm sure there's a limit and it's different for every owner but $1000 is, for us anyway, worth the love of a puppy.

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