You know that phrase? Worried sick? Well, I always thought it was a phrase and nothing more. That is, until last week when my precious puppy got sick and I didn’t know what was wrong with him.
It started out with him having diarrhea, which is gross but something that comes up from time to time when he gets too much people food or what have you, so I wasn’t overly worried. This started last Sunday. When the diarrhea continued for another day, we decided to put him on the bland diet, which is a rice/chicken mixture that is supposed to help unhappy puppy bellies. We did this for two of his meals – the third he wouldn’t even touch. At this point his diarrhea was no longer icky brown, but dark red. My little puppy was pooping blood. In addition to this, he was throwing up. I was understandably freaked by this point and was planning on taking him to the vet if he didn’t seem better the next day. After all, we had taken him to the vet for his annual checkup the Friday before he got sick.
In order to keep an eye on the pup, we put his crate in our bedroom on Wednesday evening. We woke up around 3am to find that he had tore open his pillow and thrown up all over it and his crate. It was a mess. We pulled up the rugs in our bathroom and closed him in there while we figured out what we were going to do. It was 3am – obviously the vet wasn’t open. FH and I talked about taking him to the emergency room. I decided to give them a call and try to figure out if we could wait until the morning.
I called up the emergency room and told the woman that answered the phone what the situation was. She said that he definitely needed to be taken to see a doctor, but that as long as he was breathing okay and was still relatively responsive, that we could wait. I checked with her to find out how much it would be if we were to bring him in to the emergency room and her answer was $150 to get in the door. I told her I would talk it over with FH and make a decision.
We went to check on the pup and the bathroom was already covered in blood shit and foamy vomit. I felt so bad for the little guy, but he was breathing okay and still responded when we said his name or asked him to come over to us. We decided to wait for the morning, but I was still really nervous about leaving him, so I set our alarms to go off every hour in order to check on him. Every hour the bathroom became more and more covered with grossness, and I felt physically ill worrying about him, wondering if I was doing the right thing by waiting a few hours to take him to the vet.
The vet opened at 8:30am. We were there by 8:15am, sitting in the parking lot with a very unhappy puppy. When the doors opened, we had to wait since we did not have an appointment. A tech came out and did a quick examination of him, said that he wasn’t dehydrated and that they would try to get us in as soon as possible. (Side note: you can check to see if your dog is dehydrated by pulling up on his scruff, if it stays up or takes a long time to go back down, the dog is really dehydrated. You can also check their gums – as long as you can run your finger along them smoothly, they are good). Ranger mostly sat under my chair while we waited, but he got up once and did his I-gotta-poop dance, so we took him outside and he pooped some more blood. A little while later, he threw up on the floor of the waiting room. It seemed like forever, but we finally were shown to a room.
The techs checked his temperature – it was actually a little low, and they took some of his blood to run tests. They asked us to move to a smaller room since they needed to weigh a big dog and we were in the room with the big dog scale. Ranger was so exhausted he made no move to get down from my lap where he was sitting, so I carried him over. Mind you – Ranger does not like to be picked up and certainly does not enjoy being carried around. The doctor came to see us after another long wait and said most of his blood work was normal, there was a slight elevation in something (I can’t remember) that concerned her a bit. She gave us the option of trying medication to see if we could fight whatever was wrong with him that way, or we could get an x-ray to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with his insides. She advised us that the x-rays shouldn’t be our first choice because of the high cost and because there could be a million things causing his upset stomach. We took her advice and decided to try medicine first. She ordered fluids and some medication to be given to him subcutaneously (under the skin – it made him a hunchback for a few hours). She also wrote us a few prescriptions including antibiotics, something to coat his stomach before we fed him, and something else that I don’t remember what it does. We were instructed to give him a special diet for a few days and see how he does. If he was still having the same problems in two or three days, we were instructed to bring him back and we would do x-rays and further tests.
It was quite an ordeal, but I’m happy to report that Ranger is healthy again. He is still on his special diet for a few more days, and he has two more days on the amoxicillin, but he is back to his old self. What was frustrating was that the vet said we may never know what really happened, his issues could have been caused by so many different things. But we knew how to treat it anyway and the pup is better, so that is what counts. I had a horrible sick feeling in my stomach for days while trying to get the puppy better. I really get what ‘worried sick’ means now.