Fun With Dog Vomit – Part III

I was given the choice of having Perrin undergo surgery to remove the remaining Kong toy pieces from his stomach and intestines or waiting to see if things became more clear about whether or not pieces remained and/or were passing successfully through the gi tract. The trade off was that waiting would cost more money as I would have to leave Perrin there hooked up to an iv and have more X-rays performed – while these hospitalization costs would get rolled into the cost of surgery. In other words, if it turned out that the wait and see approach failed, the overall costs would probably be higher than if I just decided to go ahead with surgery.

I decided though that I wanted to take that chance because it would be overall less risky for Perrin himself if we could avoid surgery.

I left him in the hands of my excellent vet and headed in to the office where I found myself feeling rather frazzled and unfocused as I waited impatiently for four hours to pass by and to hear word about what the next step would need to be. I grew more and more anxious that Perrin would have to undergo surgery and dreaded the two or three day period afterwards where the healing incisions into the intestines might open with failing stitches. I also did not look forward to the prospect of Perrin having to where the cone of shame for ten days.

Finally, after what seemed like all day, I received a call from the vet and she informed me that our fears seemed to have not come to pass. The gas pattern in the stomach that had suggested a foreign body was no longer there and the pattern in the intestines had changed locations and been reduced in size, suggesting that if there was a foreign body behind the gas pattern that it was moving through Perrin’s bowels successfully and that surgery would not be required.

We were able to pick up Perrin that evening and take him home for monitoring. He was on orders to receive bland food instead of his usual dog food, and we had to give him a tablet dissolved in water to line his gi tract and protect it  and aid in the passage of the possible foreign body. Thankfully, he did not throw up again that evening, and we were able to sleep through the entire night without any disturbance.

The next morning we brought Perrin back to the vet for another X-ray to make sure that things still seemed to be progressing. Thankfully, they were. Perrin’s behavior that morning was much better. He cheerfully greeted the vet when I brought him into the room and he seemed full of his normal energy.

It was a close call!

We have since this incident removed all Kong toys from the house and will think twice about picking up another “indestructible” toy. In fairness, the particular Kong toy may not have been for “powerful chewers” like Perrin. There was a classic Kong toy in our house that was made for “powerful chewers” and probably is fine, but it was old and we didn’t want to risk the possibility that it may have begun to wear down.

We really would like to avoid another trip to the vet for foreign body ingestion!

Fun With Dog Vomit – Part II

We took Perrin home Monday evening from the emergency vet with instructions to watch him for signs of abdominal pain or vomiting over night and then possibly follow up with our normal vet in the morning. He was sluggish and snoozy on the ride back home as the drug that they injected him with to induce vomiting apparently packs quite a wallop.

Our plan was for me to get up with Perrin at 7am and keep an eye on him for any signs of trouble while working from home until a disturbance or until I needed to go into the office for an 11am meeting. Melinda had to our for an errand that morning, so it was up to me to make sure Perrin was fine.

Things didn’t go as planned.

I woke up around 6am in absolutely darkness to the sound of Perrin gagging and the sinking feeling that I was about to have to clean up dog vomit. Before I could position him to anywhere more strategic (such a wooden portion of the floor), Perrin proceeded to vomit up more purple Kong toy pieces. Not pausing to access the damage, I tried to escort him downstairs quickly only to have him vomit again at the foot of the stairs. This time it was only a small bit, but I noticed in the light of the hall way that there was a little bit of bloody phlegm in the mess. I took concerned note of this and then shuffled him quickly downstairs where he once again threw up even more pieces of purple Kong toy. Every time, I kept thing how this surely had to be everything.

But no… the Kong toy was the gift that kept on giving.

After the third time, Perrin’s stomach seemed to settle. After cleaning up the mess, I cracked open my laptop, made myself breakfast and coffee and settled in for what was to be a long and tiring morning. I contacted the emergency vet by phone to make sure that the trace amounts of blood were nothing to be concerned over. She felt that it wasn’t serious in the amounts that I described. I decided I would continue to monitor the situation and call my vet when they opened to see if she felt that Perrin needed to be examined further.

Over the course of waiting for the vet to open, he vomited five more times each time bringing up yet more rubber pieces and the last time was somewhat unnerving as it was mostly bloody phlegm. With this turn of events, I called my vet and as I expected, she wanted us to bring Perrin in for X-rays.

With barely time for a quick shower and change of clothes, I rushed off to take Perrin to the vet where they proceeded to take X-rays. While I was worried about him, I thought at this point that he was probably over the worst of it and that I would soon be headed back home with maybe some medicine to settle his gi tract. While Perrin was being X-rayed, I was using my cell phone as a hotspot so that I could check my work email on my laptop and make sure that my meeting got delayed so that I didn’t have to worry about missing it while at the vet’s office.

I was absentmindedly typing away when the vet returned and her demeanor caught me off guard. It seemed that things weren’t going to be so simple after all. The X-rays showed some troubling things, and I would need to make a decision.

To be continued…

Fun With Dog Vomit – Part I

So we had some friends over for dinner yesterday evening for dinner and games. As has been the case for several months now, we had a few dog toys laying around that my dog Perrin enjoys chewing and playing with from time to time.

One such toy is a Kong’s Genius Leo Treat Dispenser.

Perrin has had this toy for several months, and it showed now signs of wear or tear. At the first such sign that one of the chew toys is going the way of the dodo, we pick it up and throw it in the trash and then make a mental note to stop by the pet store at our earliest convenience and pick him up a new toy.

This toy is large. It’s roughly a foot in length, and at it’s widest point it is a little wider than my fist.

That why we and our guests were quite surprised to find that at some point in the evening between nine and eleven, Perrin had somehow managed to devour three quarters of the Kong toy while laying innocently under our dining room table (which also serves as our gaming table). We were rather alarmed.

We had had an earlier scare on Saturday as when we came home from our dinner outing, we found that Perrin had stolen a small picture frame from a book shelf and shredded it – cork back, wood frame, glass, and all – across our living room floor. We hastily tried to reassemble the glass shards and convinced ourselves that we had managed to account for 98% of the glass. Also, as we were handling the glass pieces we found that they were not that sharp and upon examining Perrin’s mouth we saw no signs of cuts. In addition, some online research suggested that we could afford to wait and see how he was. As it turned out, he was completely fine.

But we seem to have underestimated just how much Perrin wanted to go visit our vet Dr. Miller and even get reacquainted with the fine folks at the Cobb Veterinary Emergency Clinic.

So there we were as the clock hands approached eleven and our guests were calling it a night. Melinda had read some disturbing information online about the possibilities of consumed rubber getting blocked inside Perrin’s innards, and we determined that this time we couldn’t afford to wait until our vet opened in the morning, but instead we needed to rush off to the emergency vet. We packed up the tiny remains of the partially consumed Kong toy (now a pitiful thing the size of my fist instead of the grand source of hours of amusement that Perrin had known for months), and we each brought an eReader with us in anticipation of a long, unpleasant wait at the emergency clinic.

We arrived and mercifully there was only one other dog in the waiting room, and he wasn’t gravely injured – there were no severed limbs, no badly misplaced eyeballs dangling from their sockets, or similar horrors from the Kafkaesque treasures that sometimes await poor souls at odd hours of the night in either emergency clinics for pets or ones for  humans. Perrin was quickly ushered in and then we proceeded to wait by ourselves with Jimmy Kimmel on the tube and our smartphones in our hands. I immediately decided that my mind was too frazzled with worry to focus on anything like Anna Karenina. Instead, I browsed through my Google Reader and found an article on the economy of Vietnam to keep my mind occupied while we waited. I would occasionally glance at the TV in glazed amusement mixed with hopeful and fearful anticipation of the nurse coming at some point to invite us back to meet the vet.

When the time came, they led us to what seems to be the clinic’s only patient room. It’s the same room where over half a decade ago, we were given the grim news that our dog Bodie would need to be euthanized. It’s not a place with pleasant memories for us.

Presently, the doctor came in to tell us about Perrin’s condition. She was very friendly and not a note of gloom or doom dotted her eyes or streaked her kind face. She told us that they had given Perrin an injection and induced vomiting. In no time, he had vomited up a shocking amount of purple rubber toy chunks. Struck by a morbid curiosity, we agreed to allow the staff to show us the tray where they had collected the vomit and toy pieces. Like stunned characters in a murder mystery, we calmly identified the missing Kong carcass. I told myself silently that surely that was all of the toy…

To be continued…