Monthly Archives: June 2015

Worried Sick

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.

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How to Give Your Cat A Pill: A Short Narrative

I know I just did a post about the cats, but I need to share. It’s been established before that my cats are jerks. The conflict between ZimKitty and DibKitty has been going on for what seems like forever. I discussed some of the things that we’ve tried to get them to get along, one of those things being medication. Now, giving medication to a cat is no easy feat. In fact, it is nearly impossible. Let me elaborate.

The first medication that we started Zim on was back in June I think. (Yep, this has been going on for over a year). How I gave it to him was, I would lock him in the bathroom with me and basically sit on him. Not all my weight – but I had my legs tucked around him with my feet connected so he couldn’t scoot out from under me. Then I would squeeze the sides of his mouth to make them open with my left hand and stick the pill as far back in his throat as possible with my right hand. More often than not, this failed and he would spit the pill out. So I would sit on him again, and shove the pill down his throat again, and watch him spit it out again, until it was so dissolved from his saliva that I would have to get a new pill. I tried holding his scruff with one hand and shoving the pill down his throat with the other, but more often than not he would scratch my arms up with his back claws and I would get all bloody and he still wouldn’t have had his pill. The fun thing was that the first medication didn’t even work. If anything, Zim became more aggressive.

The vet suggested a different medication and I requested it in a liquid form because I thought that would be easier. Just squirt it in the back of his mouth, right? Well it wasn’t quite that simple. I tried just holding his scruff with one hand and squirting it with the other. That didn’t work. Then I remembered that when he was a kitten we wrapped him in a blanket in order to give him antibiotics. So I gathered the same blanket that I used before and swaddled him in it. I wrapped him up nice and tight. Then I tried to squirt the liquid in his mouth and he kept moving enough that it got everywhere but in his mouth. It got on the couch, the towel, my pants, my hands, my arms, my face (once when he coughed it up seconds after I sprayed it in his mouth), and on the cat’s fur…it was a mess. I tried putting it in some wet food, but he didn’t like that at all. I didn’t notice any change in his behavior, so I gave that up as well.

Then on Friday we were at the vet for the animals’ annual checkups. That’s how I spent my Friday night – hauling three cats and a dog to the vet, so much fun! Anyway, after Zim had sliced my hand up pretty well with his back claws the vet asked about his aggression. (This was a different doctor than the one we have seen in the past). We told the whole story about the progression of his aggression problems. The vet suggested a stronger medication. She said that there was a small chance that he would have a negative reaction to the medication, but that it was unlikely, and at this point we’re kind of desperate for some harmony in our home so it’s worth the risk. So I asked if she had suggestions on how to give the pill to the cat since it has been so challenging in the past. And she mentions pill pockets. And OH MY GOD they work SO WELL!

The pill pocket is a treat that looks like a tiny volcano. You put the pill in the center and the pinch it at the top and it is completely surrounded by a treat that the cat just devours! I almost cried it was so easy. I don’t know why no one told me about this before, but I feel the need to tell the world. Maybe this time, Zim will react well to the drug, stop being a homicidal jerk, and my home will be at peace once again. Even if it doesn’t work, the world needs to know. Pill pockets – what an amazing creation. Tell everyone. THIS is how you give a cat a pill. So amazingly easy, I’m already feeling more peaceful.