Monday, October 14, 2013

Double Trouble

I wasn't able to ride this past weekend, because I thrashed my body so thoroughly on that hike.  My calves felt like they were going to explode, and when I woke up each morning, I felt like a hard pretzel.  My attention was directed at the dogs, because they both had health problems this weekend.  When Midge tore her knee ligament, the vet put her on four different medications on top of the two I am already giving her for other health problems.

Things were easy at first.  I just hid the pills in a glob of wet dog food on top of her dry dog food and she gobbled it up.  Then the vet informed me that her fructose levels were too high and asked me to cut down on her insulin input.  He asked if she's been glassy eyed and lethargic.  Not at all, I said.  Just the opposite.  She's hyper and races around the house, which causes her to do things like tear knee ligaments.  That didn't make sense to him, but he told us to lower her insulin level anyway.

As soon as I cut back on the insulin, she started vomiting and having diarrhea, and stopped eating.  She became lethargic and glassy eyed.  Because the vet introduced all those medications and had me lower her insulin around the same time, I didn't know where to start in troubleshooting what caused this sudden collapse of her health.  I didn't want to take her back to the same vet, because he seems to be the cause of all of her problems.  I say, if it's not broke, don't fix it.  We adjust her insulin levels based on how healthy she looks and feels.  He does it based on scientific tests.  It's hard to say that he's right when we are the ones experiencing the repercussions of this vet's recommendations.  On the other hand, she was in a vet hospital filled with sick animals and could have picked up some virus.  I wished I had just kept her home and not sought medical care at all.  She was fine when I took her in, just limping, and I wanted a diagnosis for her injury and something for the pain.  I got that, but she got a whole lot more than that and not in a good way.

Since she couldn't keep the pills down even if we could get her to swallow them, we had to take her off some of the less necessary ones.  We gave her the two smaller pills, but the big ones were just not appropriate for a little dog with a little throat.  I've been giving dogs pills for years, so I don't need advice on how to do it.  I know all the tricks.  Midge is a special case.  If you give her the pills wrapped in food, she eats the food and spits out the pill.  If you stick the pill way down the back of her throat, she works it up with her tongue and spits it out.  The only way she can get these medications is intravenously or perhaps through an enema.  We put her insulin dose back up at what it was before, and she steadily improved, but is so traumatized by our efforts to get her to swallow the pills that she doesn't want to eat anything because she fears there will be pills in it.

One of the pills they gave her even says it is for medium and large dogs, and Midge is a small dog.  Some of the gel pills the doctor gave her are just herbal supplements that he gets a cut for selling.  I got suspicious when they had a whole display of these pills in the waiting area and they told me she would have to be on them for the rest of her life to the tune of $75 a month.  It's cheaper for me to keep four healthy horses than it is for me to keep one diabetic dog with arthritis and a torn ligament.

One night we went out to dinner and when we returned, the dogs didn't greet us at the door.  I said, "Uh oh," because I knew something was wrong for both dogs to be missing.  I ran around the corner to find Scrappy laying on the floor in front of the water bowl with his head stuck in a trail mix jar that was now empty.  He was probably running out of oxygen and extremely thirsty from ingesting all that salt.  I quickly freed him from his predicament and he slurped down a ton of water.

He somehow managed to knock a jar of trail mix off a table and unscrew the lid.  That dog never ceases to amaze me.  Unfortunately, it was a trail mix that contained chocolate, so we had to monitor his heart rate and watch for hyperactivity, fever and seizures for 24 hours.  Of course, this happened when all the vet offices were closed.  I'm sure some vet would have gladly met us a his office for an emergency call, but I didn't think the amount that he ingested and the type of chocolate he ingested would be life threatening.  If he showed severe poisoning symptoms, then I'd call for a vet.  Fortunately, he just had a tummy ache, gained a few pounds, vomited a few times, and started pooping peanuts.

Midge was passed out because of the sedatives the doctor put her on to prevent her from jumping around so that she wouldn't further damage the knee.  It did occur to me that if Scrappy spilled the trail mix, then Midge might have eaten some, and diabetic dogs are very restricted in what they can ingest, so perhaps that added to her near comatose state.  So, it was a crazy weekend, but the dogs survived and we survived.

The horses are bored, but I'm still trying to let my muscles rest.  I've also got a lot of carpet cleaning to do.  Yum.


Katharine Swan said...

Can you check dogs' blood sugars? I can't even imagine trying to determine how much insulin to give without knowing the blood sugars. I know -- being diabetic -- that sometimes you can feel fine and your blood sugar isn't fine at all.

Mary said...

Oh my god, this had me laughing out loud. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm really sorry, you're going through all this, but if you sit back from it, it's pretty funny. The peanut pooping put me over the top...My dear Daisy (RIP) got into the kids chocolate candy coins one Christmas, had seizures and was never the same after that, so there is reason for concern. I totally get what you said about the vet too. I don't dislike my vet, nor do I particularly like her either. I am pretty sure I've been conned into some things Fred never actually needed, allergy meds come to mind at the moment... Thankfully, I have really only needed to bring him in for vaccinations. I hope your back in the saddle soon.