Monday, October 21, 2013

Just Nuts

No sooner did Scrappy recover from his food poisoning after opening a jar of trail mix and cleaning it out, and knocking over the trash can and feasting on bacterial laden leftovers, and Midge started taking an even deeper dive down on her roller coaster of health.  She stopped eating, started vomiting, and got diarrhea.  Scrappy never stopped eating, he just soiled the carpet.  But Midge is a special case.  She's on six different medications, none of which she can keep down.  One is pain medication and a sedative and another is anti-inflammatory pills for her ruptured ligament.  Without those, her injury and pain aren't being treated.  Then there's the case of her not eating and therefore not getting her insulin dose.

When her symptoms persisted and got worse, I knew I had to take her in to see the vet along with her plethora of medications.  I began collecting the medicines in a bag when one lid fell off a bottle and pills flew everywhere.  I was crawling around frantically searching for all the pills before Scrappy found them and overdosed.  When I couldn't find anymore on the floor, I looked around on the counter top because the bottle was definitely missing some.

Then I remembered where all things go that fly into the air.  I reached down the front of my shirt into my bra and pulled out a handful of pills.  Apparently, my cleavage moonlights as a coin slot.  But before I could retrieve all the pills, Midge started racing around the house with her injured knee making retching noises.  I raced after her, trying to stop her from running and carry her outside, or at least to the tile.  Half our house has tile floors and half has carpet, and the dogs always make a beeline for the carpet when they need to get sick.  And why do they always have to do it in a corner where I need a toothbrush to scrub?

I managed to get her outside while she was in the middle of barfing, and I stepped in it.  I shut her outside and ran through the house looking for shoes and a leash.  By the time I got outside, she took one look at me and headed for the hills.  She had puked on the porch, and I guess she thought she was going to get into trouble, but that's what I wanted her to do.  I can just hose off the porch -- way better than getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing.  That dog can run faster on three legs than I can on two.  I caught her and encouraged her to finish whatever business she's gotta do, and that's when the diarrhea kicked in, right in front of company that had just driven up.

When she finished I gave her a sponge bath, but not before she wiped her butt on our nice area rug.  Once she was cleaned up, I ran around the house scrubbing every pee, poo, and vomit stain I could find, and was shocked by the sheer number of them that just cropped up in the past 24 hours.  She almost vomited on a power strip.  That would have been bad for the electrical circuitry.  My house smells like a sewer.

All this time I'm just trying to make myself a cup of coffee so that I can wake up and take her to the vet.  At some point I decided it might be a good idea to take an anti-anxiety pill myself, because I always get totally stressed out dealing with these doctors.  We don't see eye-to-eye on things and sometimes I blurt out stuff I regret later.  A pill might calm me down so that I can make rational decisions.

One of the biggest struggles I have had since moving to Arizona is the cost of veterinary care.  It is between double and quadruple the amount I paid for the same type of work back in Nevada.  Also, my vets in Nevada never pushed unnecessary medications and procedures just to make a buck.  They always considered how their treatments would affect the pet owners as well as the pets.  If a surgery was necessary for survival, but not guaranteed to extend the animal's life, my old vets would suggest euthanasia as an option.  They didn't want to prolong suffering by cutting an old animal open and hoping for the best in its recovery.

When I went to get my pill bottle it looked like I had already taken an anti-anxiety pill, but I didn't remember.  If I didn't take one, I'll probably have a panic attack while driving, because that's what happens when I go over 45 mph.  The only way to get to this vet is to drive 65 mph and there are no shoulders or side streets for me to pull over if I do run into trouble.  If I take two pills, I'll fall asleep.  What did I do?  I took a pill (first or second, I didn't know) and drank two cups of coffee to counteract falling asleep just in case I took two.

You see what a mess I am?  I can't even keep track of my own pills, none-the-less the dog's pills.  When I am taking pills in the evening, I shut myself in the bathroom where no one can distract me, because all it takes is for someone to talk to me and I instantly forget which pills I did and didn't take.  When in doubt, check your bra.  We did correct the trash can problem, at least.  We found a heavier trash can that locks, so we basically bear-proofed our kitchen garbage to keep Scrappy out of it.  If he manages to knock it over, he probably won't be able to get the lid off.  That's the hope, anyway.

While drinking my second cup of coffee, Scrappy leaped off the couch, ran to the back door, then ran to the hallway, and I knew I had to get him outside fast.  I called him to the door, clipped a leash on real fast and cut him loose.  Now his diarrhea was starting up again.  One of our theories is that the dry dog food may be contaminated.  So, we took them off it for a few days and only fed wet dog food.  Scrappy got better.  Midge wasn't eating at all.  Then last night I started feeding Scrappy the dry dog food and this morning he has diarrhea again.  That's a pisser because this is half a bag of prescription dog food that costs $80 a bag.  I was hoping the vet could help me narrow down the cause of this insanity.  Was it something bad they ate out of the trash can or was it the dry dog food?  If it's the dry dog food, we have to report it to the dog food company so they can do a recall.

Another theory we have in Midge's case is that one of the medications she is taking for her ruptured ligament caused her to get a stomach ulcer, because it appears that she is vomiting and pooping blood.  But since both dogs have issues, it's more likely something they ingested.

I was trying to take care of my own business in the bathroom to get ready to take Midge to the vet, and Scrappy came racing up to me with that urgent look on his face, turned around, and ran for the carpeted hallway.  I called out to him, "You better hold it!  Don't go down that hallway!  Wait by the door."

I cut myself short and ran out to catch up with Scrappy and found only a pee stain on the carpet.  I took him and Midge both outside and neither did anything.  No sooner did we get inside and Scrappy started making those precursory sounds to vomiting.  It's just nuts trying to keep up with all the spewing orifices around here.

Back from the vet's office an hour and a half later with $500 less in my bank account and three more new pill prescriptions on top of the four pills she's supposed to take for the ruptured ligament, her insulin and her eye ointment.  That makes 9 medications I have to administer to my dog throughout the day, and if she doesn't show signs of improvement by tomorrow, I have to take her back in for blood tests.  X-rays showed a slightly enlarged liver and something else that is either a part of the stomach or a growth.  They couldn't really tell from the x-ray.  They are also looking at pancreatitis, which two other doctors have already told me she will most likely develop.

The vet did admit that two of the medications they gave her for her ruptured ligament do cause stomach upset.  So, my suspicions were correct with that.  She did x-rays just to make sure that she didn't swallow something from the garbage incident that was now obstructing her G.I. tract, and everything was clear and empty.  All she saw was gas.

I remembered this time to ask about blood-sugar testing, and the doctor told me what kind of monitor I need to get for dogs.  We have an AccuChek monitor, but because it is for humans it won't work for dogs.  It would have definitely been helpful to test her glucose levels ourselves during this past week that she's been sick and not eating regularly.

Of course, when I got home, Scrappy had left another accident on the carpet.  I need to be in two different places at once to keep up with these dogs.  Oh, and now I know I took two of my pills, because I laid down to rest, and woke up four hours later with all kinds of new accidents on the carpet.  Now the horses are screaming for their dinner and I have to be at a meeting in an hour.  I don't think it's going to happen, considering that I have to shove all those pills down Midge's throat, give her injections, and somehow get her to eat.  Oh well, I did warn them that I have a crazy, unpredictable life and can't always keep my commitments.


ellie k said...

I put my pills in a weekly container so I know when I have taken them. Maybe you could put some gates at the doors of the rooms to keep the dogs off the carpet.

fernvalley01 said...

OK I cannot help with much but here is my one gem. Rice pablum (yup baby food ) and low salt or home made chicken stock , easy on sensitive tummy , the rice tends to bind things and reduces diarrea, and they will usually eat it , low cost , mix it into a slurry and either mix with dog food canned or dry or in the case of Midge I would try feeding it alone till she feels a biut better , I know its another thing to go buy but its dirt cheap , and I have found it to be a gem to have in the cupboard . Oh and plain white vinegar on the "smelly" spots will reduce the odor
Hugs girl, somewhere in there remember to breath

Katharine Swan said...

That's cool that you can get a glucose monitor for her! I wonder why the human one doesn't work? I was looking it up for cats recently (I was worried my oldest cat had become diabetic, but she checked out fine) and there were lots of posts online talking about using human monitors for cats.

In any case, I hope the dogs start feeling better soon. Is it a new food? Maybe the food itself doesn't agree with them.

Fingers crossed for you that everything gets better soon!

ellie k said...

Yes the rice is a good thing, we had a dog with stomach problems and the vet told us to feed her rice with a little broth over it, even a few pixies of diced chicken to make it more tempting. It really did help her feel better and yes rice is cheap and if your dog don't like it you can cook it for yourself. I cook it is the micro wave so it is easy make.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The doctor did not figure out the cause. She's just treating the symptoms. Midge will not eat anything at all. The doctor does not want us to feed her anything other than her prescription dog food for diabetes in either dry or wet form. We've tried giving her people food that diabetics can eat to tempt her, but her stomach is so sore and she is in so much pain from her leg injury from not being able to keep down her pain killers, that she won't eat anything. The goal is to treat the sore stomach, stop the vomiting and diarrhea, start the pain killers again, and hopefully, her appetite will come back.

Sam said...

Take them completely off of dog food and do either boiled hamburger or chicken and rice for a couple of days. Mix in a spoon full of pumpkin - that will help with the runs. It could be their stomachs are so sensitive that the food is just too rich right now. We have days like that too, and pumpkin has been a real lifesaver.