Firstly, my pick for Blog of the Week is Dig-it, Fetch-it, Herd-it!! Want another great blog that has fantastic pictures of some pretty awesome dogs? Then you gotta check it out! The stars of the show are Jane the terrier (OMG, freaking cute little dog with one heck of a personality that REALLY captures well in pictures!), Kaleb the flat coat (who just recovered from emergency bloat surgery), and Gyp, the crazy cute border collie. Their mom is very active with all three dogs in multiple performance events in various different venues. Most recently Gyp won her height division at their regional agility competition! Anyhow, it's a fun blog to read and the pictures are just fantastic!
Secondly, I'm contemplating changing the name of this blog to "Life With Big Dogs at the Vet's." Ug! Seriously! This time it's Heffner and thankfully it's a relatively minor ailment. Heffner started having some serious diarrhea yesterday afternoon. He had a couple of accidents in the house Sun. evening, but he had also gotten into the cat food twice last week and that ALWAYS gives him the runs. I assumed it was related to that. When he was constantly needing to go outside and was pooping and straining to poop every single time yesterday evening, I thought it was a bit odd, but was going to wait it out and see if it passed. We still had some canned pumpkin that I've just sort of kept around to help with the random loose stool that is usually a result of Heffner getting into something that he shouldn't have. I used up what we had and went out to buy more. Apparently last year's pumpkin crop was severely depleted due to a mold that rendered a lot of pumpkins unusable for consumption. Therefore, it is impossible to find canned pumpkin in any stores. And apparently it's a huge enough issue that the store clerks are all aware of it and have had to explain it to people. Sucky! In a nut shell, what pumpkin we had wasn't helping any, so I decided to wait it out through the night and see how he was in the morning.
I will preface this by saying that I am a pretty heavy sleeper. There are a ridiculous amount of things that I can sleep through. However, Heffner is VERY insistent when he needs to go outside for a diarrhea related incident. For whatever reason, his whining is pretty guaranteed to wake me up. It's not that it's particularly loud or obnoxious, it just triggers something in my unconscious that wakes me up. Last night, though, Adam was up twice to let him out. I felt bad thinking that I had managed to sleep through the poor thing's whining. Oddly for Heffner, he never made a peep. Adam is a light sleeper and actually heard Bess going up and down the stairs after Heffner. Unfortunately, it was a little too late for him to get to the door to let Heffner out before he had a couple of accidents in the house. I will say this though, the boy is thoughtful enough to have his accidents on the easily cleaned instead of the carpets!
I was up early this morning and cleaned up the mess. Adam was too tired to even deal with it and I was feeling so guilty that I didn't mind cleaning up dog diarrhea first thing in the morning. After feeding everyone their breakfast, all seemed well. Heffner wasn't acting particularly off, just pooping a whole heck of a lot and having diarrhea every time. Both dogs were settled seeming when I left early for work. Some time between when I left for work and when Adam got up, Heffner had another accident. Oy! When Adam emailed me about it, I just went ahead and called our vet to see when I could get him in today. Something was very obviously amiss and I wasn't about to let this go on. While Heffner was still eating and drinking like normal, he wasn't drinking enough to replace the amount of fluids that he was losing. He was also looking a bit skinnier already to me.
We got in to see our vet this afternoon and Heffner was diagnosed with colitis, which is essentially an inflamed colon. It's pretty broad and can be caused by any number of things. I honestly have NO IDEA what the hell brought this on. Other than our obviously bad string of luck lately, it just seems so random. The treatment won't be much fun for the boy. He is to be fasted for 24 hours from the last time that he ate, which was early this morning. He is going to HATE that tonight. He's a food whore to begin with, but to have to tolerate his sister getting food while he "starves to death" is going to be loads of fun. Then starting tomorrow morning he will be on a bland diet for a few days. He'll be get 6 smalls meals of white rice and fat free cottage cheese. It's going to be roughly 3 parts white rice and 1 part cottage cheese. Needless to say, we'll be making a boat load of white rice tonight! On Thur. he'll go down to four meals that are a bit larger of the same combo. Then on Fri. we'll start slowly adding back in the raw diet. The 24 hour fast is to let his colon rest. We don't want ANY food going through is system that could potentially irritate. He doesn't even get to have any treats. Which will make giving him his pills tonight a real joy!
In addition to the bland diet, he's on sulfasalazine for 10 days to help with the inflammation and irritation. We also need the period of fasting to allow the drug to really start to take hold.
While Heffner was acting totally normal this morning, by the afternoon he was getting really lethargic and was definitely dehydrated. His mouth was pretty dry and when you picked up his skin, it took a few seconds to go back to normal (I can't remember the name of this little hydration test). While at the vet's, they started him on some subcutaneous electrolyte fluids to help with this. I say started, because the goal was to get 1 liter of fluid into him, but we only managed ~500 mL between the technician and I. Heffner was NOT having it. It was seriously a struggle just to get that much into him. He did NOT like getting poked and was very twitching, which meant that he had to get poked multiple times. Finally we gave up. They had wanted to keep him there for another hour so that he could get the fluids, but I offered to give it to him at home. I figured that he would be a whole lot more relaxed at home and I was a lot more likely to get it into him there. I do have experience giving animals subcutaneous fluids, so I wasn't bothered by the idea. I waited until Adam got home to try. Adam heald and petted his head while I got the needle in and started the drip. Heffner wasn't a fan, but he pretty quickly lay down on his side and let us get the remaining 500 mL into him! Yay!!
So tonight, starving, but hydrated dog who will probably still have an accident or two during the night. Tomorrow, hopefully a much happier dog who is feeling a lot better! And Bess gets her sutures out tomorrow too!