It’s been more than two weeks since we had a visit to the emergency vet with Callie’s second bout of gastroenteritis. Of course, she got sick on Labor Day when no regular vet was open – that’s just the way of the world, right?
It was not as bad as the first time, partly because we caught it so much earlier and partly because, when I didn’t feed her, she kept throwing up and threw up blood. No horrific crime scene in the house or outside this time.
It’s been more than two weeks that she has been on a bland diet of strictly boiled ground beef, a small amount of rice, and (after the first day or two) pumpkin to keep everything settled.
During this time I haven’t been allowed to give her treats. Try not giving a Cavalier treats for two weeks, see how well that goes for you. Especially when you are still house-training a puppy, because, like any good older sister, Callie expects a treat everytime Charlie gets one for going outside. And like the well-trained owners we are, we give it to her.
Solution? Treats = small piece of boiled beef, for both of them.
The other day I thought perhaps now I can start giving her treats again to see how she does. She replied with diarrhea before I even got the chance.
Next week I have scheduled an acupuncture and holistic medicine appointment for Callie with a different local vet. I’m lucky – in a rural area, I found an even more rural vet prided on their knowledge of both Eastern and Western medicine for dogs, on their holistic care model, and on their ability to provide other services such as acupuncture.
A cavpack friend from Twitter got me thinking about acupuncture. She uses it for her dog who suffers from acute back pain and kidney issues, I believe. I’ve used acupuncture for my fibromyalgia, for stress and anxiety, and also for a strange period of time when I couldn’t stop sweating and getting red in the face as soon as I got warm.
In eliminating possible causes for her back-to-back cases of gastroenteritis, I feel like it’s probably not bacterial/parasitic as it has been hit by antibiotics so much. I don’t think something around here is making her sick, Charlie would be sick too, as the one who eats EVERYTHING. It could be an allergen, but, honestly, my best guess for Callie is stress and anxiety. She has gone through of significant changes to her rather quiet life a lot since we brought Charlie home.
She appears to have good days and less good days. She hasn’t had another spell, thank goodness, but it’s clear that her gastro system is not happy. I’m pumping her full of probiotics now to help, but I am mostly drumming my fingers, waiting for this upcoming appointment and hoping that this vet, by looking at her diet/lifestyle/charts, etc., will be able to help. Perhaps with some Eastern medicine and acupuncture, we can bring her stress levels down again.
Her first “gotcha day” is next month and I want to be able to feed her silly cake and know she might have slightly gross poop from it, but not worry because everything else will be alright.
I had many other topics in mind for my next blog post, I wanted to introduce the newest members of the pack, our two guinea pigs. I wanted to talk about, oh gee, a month ago when we went to New Jersey and had to have a friend dog-sit for the very first time. Maybe I was even thinking about just giving an update on Charlie, but none of my potential topics included a very frightening health experience with Callie.
Callie just experienced and is still recovering from, a bout of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.
You can read a general description here, but basically, it is an awful illness that can be caused by – ready for this list? – Stress, anxiety, eating something either non-food or drastically different food, immune-related disease, parasites, bacteria, toxins, pancreatitis, or possibly an allergic reaction to something either ingested or inhaled. The primary symptoms are vomiting and very bloody diarrhea. AND it’s a common problem in small dogs – FYI.
Wednesday Callie had diarrhea twice, both times inside the house, so it was clearly sudden and began throwing up in the afternoon. She only threw up once, so I wasn’t too worried. I was also exhausted and went to bed, so Jess was left to deal with everything. I didn’t want Callie to have dinner for obvious reasons, but I wasn’t as worried yet.
Then she continued to throw up throughout the night and went outside a few times. I called the vet first thing in the morning on Thursday for an emergency vet appointment. While I was waiting, and panicking – the only time I have ever seen a dog throw up everything including water immediately after drinking has been when they have something lodged in their stomach and require surgery – I tweeted to the cavpack. I couldn’t imagine Callie had ingested something large so I was desperate to hear that she would be ok.
The cavpack rules, and someone I can’t remember who although I think it was Holly, suggested gastroenteritis. After researching basic gastroenteritis, I wasn’t as worried until I was driving her to the vet. Just looking at Callie put my heart in my throat. She was so lethargic and sad. The night before she slept by my face, all night. She never does that, she’s a foot of the bed dog. I don’t remember the last time I was so terrified for one of my animals. That drive to the vet was horrible, she kept readjusting in the seat, trying to get comfortable, and looking at me with “help me” written across her face.
When we arrived, we discovered Callie has gained 2 lbs… now that’s a different topic for discussion, but interesting because she looks thinner.
Callie didn’t have a fever. The vet also thought it was likely gastroenteritis but was surprised when Callie let her palpate everywhere in her stomach and intestinal region without tensing. I tried to explain that Callie is the opposite of Charlie, she is the most stoic dog unless something is in her paw.
Of course, we had just cleaned up her diarrhea originally, not thinking twice about it, so we didn’t have a fecal sample for the vet. She attempted to obtain one from poor Callie, but there was nothing but blood on her glove when she removed her finger. She did notice Callie’s anal glands were full (but not impacted or infected so not the cause) and expressed those for us. Always nice when someone else ends up doing that!
We decided the best course of action was to give Callie fluids there, put her on both an antibiotic as well as an anti-nausea/anti-diarrheal, and, of course, put her on a bland diet.
Callie came home and seemed a little perkier so later that afternoon I went out to run a quick errand, leaving Jess and our daughter at home.
While our daughter ran upstairs to ask a question, Jess heard Callie get off the couch and move around. G ran back downstairs and then came running back up to tell her that something red was all over the new rug.
Jess came downstairs and found what looked like a crime scene, blood in a trail leading to the living room where it was sprayed in a giant poop-like circle and smelled horrific. This was still Thursday.
I am going to post a picture of the rug at the bottom of the post so those who don’t want to see it don’t have to.
Jess called me in a panic, and thankfully I was on my way home, so I was there in a few minutes. We immediately called the vet even more terrified this time. The vet then told me that they had prepared for the possibility that the gastroenteritis would turn into hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and that the best move now was to add a second antibiotic to see if we could end it there. So Callie added penicillin to her list of medications.
It was hard to get her to eat that night. But the vet I spoke with gave me so much information including a list of various things I could try that would be bland enough, among them was hard boiled eggs. I love our two vets, they treat us like intelligent humans to work with, not like idiots and they talk to each other, so both know what’s going on.
Callie LOVES eggs. So for the first day and a half, she got eggs with her pills mushed in – and YAY she eats her pills in her food! Then we switched to cottage cheese, now boiled hamburger.
Callie rallied so fast. On Friday she was still very lethargic (funny to say about a dog who spends most of her time laying around and sleeping anyway, but this was different) and had a sick face.
My heart dog, right here:
By Saturday morning she was starting to look and act like her old self. We even saw froggy stretches and big wags when we first got up in the morning. Plus enthusiasm about food. But she lacked energy and slept in the way the sick do.
By Sunday, she was really rounding the corner into a healthy dog. She was starting to wrestle a little bit with Charlie, she definitely wanted treats – we are sticking with small Zukes treats that we know (are pretty sure) her stomach can handle – and food was very exciting. In fact, she was mad at me by 4 pm that dinner wasn’t ready and they don’t eat until 6ish!
Today, she woke up a happy dog. Still a little tired and very glad to lay in my lap rather than near me or across the sofa, something she doesn’t often do anymore. But she came downstairs, and after they went out, she stole one of the bones.
I say stole because Callie doesn’t play with the toys or chew on the bones actually. This was Charlie’s favorite thing in the world that she took; however, because she doesn’t ever grab toys, we defended her for a long while until distracted so she could have a turn. We were both stunned and thrilled to see her chewing on a bone.
She still hasn’t pooped since the bloody scene. I think she is a bit scared to do so and understandably! I would be. Any time we say the word when she is out in the yard she comes running to jump up on the deck. But my stomach is un-knotting, I feel like she’s on the safe side now. My baby, my love.
Stories from the life of a rescued puppy mill mama and the second rescue, a puppy Charlie, who arrived seven months later. Dedicated to other stories about rescues as well, particularly those from puppy mills.