It was the worst of times...
With apologies to Charles Dickens, but that is how I feel today. I am so physically drained, I can't even do some household cleaning.
Around 5 or 5:30 this morning I was awakened by Devon the Dog. He was heaving and retching. My dog vomited some bile and lay back down. I had seen him do this before when he ate something bad, so I wasn't too concerned. But I noticed that he seemed unusually lethargic. He wouldn't even get up to walk outside. He just kept trying to stand up and ending up back down on the floor. And he was breathing funny, so I called his regular vet office and got voicemail, referring me to a 24-hour clinic for emergencies.
At the 24-hour clinic, the intake nurse was concerned enough by the pallor in Devon's gums and tongue to put an oxygen mask on him. The on-duty vet checked his pulse, discussed his history with me, palpated his abdomen, and checked his temperature. She told me it was just a case of gastritis. She gave him subcutaneous hydration fluids, an injection of Pepcid for his stomach, and told me to take him home and start him on a bland diet to stabilize his GI tract.
On the way home we stopped at a grassy park, and Devon pooped. Normal consistency. But he still seemed very weak. As soon as we got home he vomited again, this time with a little blood. I called Bill and let him know what was going on, then I called the regular vet, whose office had opened by this time. I described the dog's symptoms and they told me to bring him right in. In the middle of all of this, the poor dog had a serious bout of projectile diarrhea. Yes, inside the house.
By this time I was starting to panic, so I cleaned up the poop as best I could and rushed Devon to his regular vet. When we got there they took him in right away, ahead of everybody else who was waiting. The vet examined him and said that he was going into shock. He was severely dehydrated and his heart was racing. So they catheterized him so they could hydrate him intravenously to stabilize him. They then sent me home and told me that their first order of business was to stabilize him, after which they could run diagnostics to figure out what was wrong. They were most concerned about possible bowel obstruction, which would require surgery.
After I left the vet office I called Bill again to update him. Sweet guy that he is, he offered to send some money to help defray the expenses, which were mounting rapidly. He loves that dog, too! Then I started to get really angry at the 24-hour clinic vet. How the fuck could she send us home like that, when the dog was obviously in great distress? His regular vet took one look at him and knew right away that he was very sick. Me the layman could see that he was either very weak or in pain. I'm still angry right now.
If I hadn't been a paranoid pet owner, if I had believed that dumb vet that it was no big deal, I would have left Devon at home to go to a dental appointment. And I would have come home to a dead dog!
Anyway, to make a long story short, the regular vet had Devon transferred to a top-notch emergency pet hospital in Santa Cruz. I had to call my mom to come meet me so she could drive over the mountain to Santa Cruz while I kept Devon company in the backseat. They did their thing... exams, x-rays, bloodwork... the diagnosis is that Devon has hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. We are still unsure about the cause... could be a foreign object (highly unlikely based on their tests), could be an infection.
They said he had to stay at the "petpital" at least overnight for close monitoring and IV support. Mom and I saw him for a little bit to say goodbye and so that I could tell him I will see him tomorrow. The poor dog was crying as we left the room, and my mom said it was breaking her heart to see him like that. As Mom and I were walking to the car to go back home, the day's stress and all my fears finally caught up with me and I broke down in tears. I told Mom that I was really scared. It was the first time I cried in front of my mother in over 20 years. Gah, I just made myself feel really old by saying that.
The poor dog is in the ICU, on IV drips for hydration and antibiotics. I just spoke to the hospital staff a short while ago. He is stable and his diarrhea has stopped. They are still watching him very closely to make sure he doesn't take a turn for the worse. We will know more as the night progresses. I told them that they should call me ANYTIME should his condition change. Meanwhile, here I sit in my room, physically and emotionally exhausted.
Oh, yeah. So that was the worst of times. What was the best of times? Well, Devon's in the San Jose Mercury News! Doggie is famous! :)
Not only that, he is actually on the front page of the actual newspaper! Not online... ON PAPER! I told my grandma to save her copy. My aunt called me to say that she, too, saw his picture, so I told her to save her copy as well. And I stopped at a newsrack on the way home to buy 3 more copies. Famous Dogmous. That's his new nickname. :)