Lucas always has been our healthiest dog. (Since he has the most behavioral problems, we think it’s a fair trade!)
The other day, he started to behave strangely, not his usual self. When he doesn’t feel well, he follows us around like a little piece of Velcro on our pant leg. He paws at our legs and cries.
Now, as an aside, Lucas is a barfer. He’s seen three vets over the years, and none found a reason for it… he just barfs, usually when he’s hungry.
All day, Lucas tried to “go” but just couldn’t. He’d get in position, but nothing would happen. Then he threw up, and it wasn’t his normal barf. (Sigh. Typing that sentence just now made me realize that, yes, I can identify my dog’s “normal” barf. Please tell me I’m not the only one?!)
That afternoon, he kept pacing. He wouldn’t settle. When he started doing laps around our living room, I went from worried to panicked.
I worry about bloat with him. He’s a big, active guy. Logically, I should have realized that it couldn’t be bloat because his symptoms weren’t particularly acute and didn’t coincide with eating any food or drinking any water. Plus, Cooper was at doggy daycare, so it wasn’t wrestle mania all day.
But when John got home from work, Lucas still couldn’t settle, and he started to drool. We called the vet, who thankfully agreed to see him even though they were about to close.
They did x-rays as soon as he walked in the door and found tons of gas bubbles and… something. A lump of something soft but without a defined shape. She gave him medicine to relieve the gas and gave us two options: surgery on the spot or come back at 8 am to repeat the x-rays. She said that if it were her dog, she’d wait until morning. (I LOVE when vets say that. It makes me feel much better about my decision when they contextualize it to their animals if that makes sense.)
So we decided to wait. Before he left the vet, she gave him a shot of an anti-nausea med on his back.
At this point, Lucas – our fearful, dog-reactive dog – had been in the waiting room with other dogs. He had been taken by a tech to the back for x-rays and held stretched out, crying, while they got the films. He had gotten pills and pokes and prods. As she was giving him the shot, he had reached his limit and bucked trying to get away.
Ten minutes later, John brought him home. He walked in and the first thing I saw was blood caked in the back of his fur.
When he bucked, the needle jabbed him. The poor guy was uncomfortable, had an upset stomach, and then was pouring blood. Since his stomach was still under pressure, he didn’t want to settle still. We bribed him onto his bed (thank goodness for canned salmon), applied pressure, and – 10 minutes later – it stopped.
We got him cleaned up, tucked in his bed, then we ate dinner and settled in to watch TV.
Every few minutes we’d check on him in his bed.
And that little bugger… After a horrid, stressful, painful day, he wagged his tail in tiny little flickers each and every time we checked on him.
Even though he felt terrible, he was so dang sweet the whole time. Yet another lesson to take from my dogs…
(By the way, he was totally fine at his x-rays the next day. She said that it could’ve been a chunk of food that fermented in there – who knew – or that he had been stressed or something, which can cause their stomach to stop working temporarily. It was a weird situation, but thankfully it turned out a-ok.)