The night before Bear’s ninth laser treatment was another rough one for him. His bout with diarrhea was getting worse, not better. We arrived early, only to wait patiently while Dr I tended to an emergency: a 137 lb dog with pancreatitis. Finally, he was taken care of and the vet tech came for Bear. I made sure to tell her the latest status on Bear, specifically his diarrhea. And that now, there was a bit of blood.
The thing about a small office is the walls are thin. I heard the exclamations when Bear had an accident during his therapy. His diarrhea had progressed to the point where he couldn’t hold it in.
Shortly after, Dr I came to talk to me. She wasn’t too alarmed by the accident. She gave me new meds, which she had already started him on, and instructed me that if he vomited to call and let her know. And then she warned it could take up to 36 hours to resolve itself.
I packed Bear in the car and we headed home. Today was not a day I’d be taking him to the office – he needed care.
A few hours later, he got sick. I gave the vet a call and was instructed to bring him in.
When we arrived, Dr I immediately saw us and we discussed various tests to run to rule out stuff. The good news: blood work was ok, not perfect, but not alarming. X-rays showed no blockage. Pancreatitis test was also negative. The bad news: While they were seeing to him, he had another incident. This one was bad. Both Dr I and Dr K said they had never seen anything like it. And both were very alarmed.
I knew it was bad when Dr I came back to talk to me. She is very technical – uses lots of technical terms. What she described was not technical. I believe her exact words were “the stuff coming out of his butt is not normal.”
Her recommendation was to having him start on IV fluids and spend the night at the emergency vet where they could monitor him closely. Her hope was that it was just a really bad case of GI upset. Her fear was that it could be something much worse.
The emergency vet didn’t open for awhile, and Dr I wanted to write everything up before I left. They kindly let me and Bear wait around. The vet techs and assistants were all wonderful taking care of him. They even wrapped his tail to prevent it from getting messy if he had more incidents. One assistant, as she left for the day, let me know she’d be working at the emergency vet the next day and would be sure to keep an eye on Bear. That was very comforting.
When it was time to leave, they asked if I needed anything to put down in the car in case he had another accident. I told them I was already prepared – a blanket was already down. My time taking care of Josie had prepared me well for unpredictable messes.
Bear and I arrived shortly after the emergency vet opened. We made it without incident. However, while checking in Bear managed to freak everyone out in the waiting room by having another incident. It reminded me of the time Josie’s nose bleed at the vet’s while we waited. This was much worse though. Thankfully, they took him back right away.
It was a long time before Dr C came to see me. After much discussion, he filled me in on his theory as to what is causing Bear’s problem: prednisone. I suspected just as much. The plan: Keep him off food, off prednisone, lots of fluids and healing meds and give his system time to calm down. I immediately questioned cutting the prednisone and he agreed, given he had been on a high dose for two weeks that we will just reduce it for now, with the ultimate goal of getting him off it.
Knowing Bear was in good hands, I left for the night. Last thing Dr C told me was he’d call in the morning, or if anything changed. And he said, “No news is good news.”
It was a long night. I woke up every couple hours to double check I hadn’t missed a phone call. But early morning arrived, and no phone call so I knew Bear must be doing okay.
Dr C was finally able to call around 10am. His report: Bear was doing well and had improved a lot. He hadn’t completely “dried up” (his term), but the number of incidents had dropped drastically. He still wanted to keep him for the day and he would call later with another report.
I dealt a lot with dog emergencies when Josie was sick. Her nose bleeds were enough to gross anyone out. But I always handled it without hesitating, and thankfully, she never ended up in the doggie hospital. But yesterday with Bear was a lot more than I could handle. It paled in comparison to Josie’s worst nose bleed. I’m grateful to live near an emergency vet that has a good reputation and so far, seems to be taking excellent care of my pup.
In the meantime, River is loving being an only dog.