You know when someone asks you if you want the good news or the bad news and you have to choose which one to get first? Most of the time I pick the bad news, because then I don’t ruin the good news by wondering what is coming around the corner.
Well, here’s the bad news: Potter’s sick again. After a whole 10 days of him doing well and feeling great, he’s started with some new symptoms. Mainly, he excessively drinks his water like a frat boy at a chugging contest. This doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but upon googling I found out that it is actually pretty serious. It could be any number of illnesses, from doggie diabetes to Cushing’s disease.
I called my trusty doctors at the animal hospital and apparently this could be very bad news indeed. One of the things that they thought might have been wrong with Potter when he was so sick was pancreatitis. His new drinking issues could mean that the pancreatitis may have lead to diabetes. I took him to the vet this morning for testing and luckily there is no glucose in his urine, which means that this is not diabetes. Yay!
However, due to his protein levels they wanted to do an additional urine and blood test to check out a few other possibilities. We should have all of the results within the next few days. Since it was too late to go into the office after this latest adventure, Potter and I are taking a sick day and hanging out on the couch.
When I left off, Potter was happy to be home on Sunday, June 12th. I was super relieved that he was doing so well. In fact, in true ‘me’ fashion, I kept jumping on him like a not-so-stealthy ninja to give him snuggles and kisses.
He was doing well on Sunday and seemed to be okay Monday morning too. When I got home from work that evening to walk him, he was back to being sick. I tried to stay optimistic, thinking that maybe he just needed to get this out of his system.
On Tuesday morning he started vomiting again during his morning walk. I confined him to the kitchen while I was getting ready for work, and he was sick in there too. I called the animal hospital and they said I needed to bring him back in. Once I got him there, they checked Potter out and decided that he needed to stay there for the day so that they could force fluids and keep an eye on him. After they checked in with me that evening, we decided to leave him at the hospital overnight so that they could keep watching him to see if he got worse again.
He did great at the hospital, so I went to pick him up on Wednesday morning and brought him back home. I had to go into work, so I gave him a kiss and put him in the crate for the day. Since I had an event to attend directly after work, my husband walked and fed Potter when he got home. Unfortunately, he was back to vomiting. I raced home from my event, and Potter was just lying around with his sad face on. He seemed okay though, so we decided to wait and see how he was feeling in the morning.
He seemed okay, so I went to work and asked my husband to stop by and check on him when he could. After only two hours, my husband came home to find that Potter had gotten much worse and was sick inside his crate. When I got his call, I raced back home to pick up Potter and rushed back to the animal hospital.
This time when I spoke to the vet, she was getting really concerned that he still wasn’t improving. She suggested that we do an x-ray immediately, which showed that there was *something* in his stomach. She wasn’t sure what it was and it could have just been some undigested food or fluid. She suggested not feeding him anything solid and doing another x-ray later that evening. She also recommended that we do additional blood tests to check for various things. An ultrasound might also be necessary, depending on what they find on the second x-ray.
Of course, I immediately start crying because my first thought is that my dog has a tumor or cancer, or some sort of bleeding ulcer. She had already taken Potter into the back area after the x-ray to get him ready to go back on the IV, but she allowed me to see him before I left. I walked back to where he was caged, trying to hold my tears back so I didn’t freak him out any more. He was so drained and weak that when I reached my hand through the bars, he just looked sadly at me and scooted away. I had a meltdown in the car, afraid that I had just pet him for the last time.
Throughout the day, I got calls from the animal hospital letting me know that all the tests were normal. They did another x-ray and whatever it was that they saw seemed smaller, so that decided it was just something being digested. The blood test for his pancreas was a bit high, but that could be due to him being sick for the last few days. Just in case, they started Potter on a deworming treatment that should help if he has any parasites. They took him off the IV late that evening and kept an eye on him overnight to see if he would improve or get worse again.
He finally started improving. They don’t know whether it was due to the deworming medication, the IV’s or just that it’s taken this long for whatever it was to get out of his system, but he starts doing better for more than 12 hours. Just in case, they decide to keep him at the hospital until Saturday to make sure that he actually is better this time.
Saturday & Sunday
When I picked him up on Saturday, he was very happy to jump in the car and come home with me. He was a bit tired all day, but ate all of his food and wasn’t sick at all.
Giving him his dose of the deworming treatment was ridiculous, I wrestled him to the ground and shoved the syringe of liquid into his mouth.
Of course, the second I started squeezing it, he moved. I ended up with the medicine everywhere EXCEPT his mouth. The floor. His arm. My arm. His dog tag. My toe. Everywhere.
I was afraid to leave him alone, so I basically just stalked him around the house all day and stared at him as he slept. You should have seen how deliriously happy I was when he went for a walk and everything was finally normal. I’ve never been so excited about poo in my entire life.
On Sunday, he finally started acting like himself again. I had given him a toy the day before that he just nudged around a bit (not normal behavior for my crazy dog). He didn’t even put up a fight when I put the toy on his back to ride him around like a little furry horse. By Sunday night he had returned back to normal and completely destroyed the toy by ripping it open and pulling the stuffing out. This morning when I fed him, he was back to having his tap dancing ‘happy feet’ while waiting for the food bowl to be placed on the floor. His only sign that he’s not totally recovered is that he doesn’t have the energy to jump up onto our bed. I’m super hopeful that my little guy will get there soon!
I’m finally feeling a little bit of relief that this is past us, even though I’m still paranoid that he’s going to get sick again. I have been on an emotional rollercoaster for the past week and my body feels like I lost a fight with someone fierce.
I have to take a moment to recommend the staff at the Anne Arundel Veterinary Emergency Clinic. They truly made this experience much better then it could have been. I probably saw five different veterinarians in the week that we were in and out of the hospital. Every single one of them, as well as the ladies at the front desk, was professional and compassionate. They were great at providing me with updates twice a day (or even more) and recommending what was actually best for my dog, rather than what would bring them in the most money. I really feel like they cared about my dog and were happy for him when he finally gave a doggie ‘smile’ and went home. They also get major bonus points for putting up with me when I broke down in sobs on multiple occasions.
Growing up I had two poodles, first the mother and then one of her puppies. They were kind of my dogs, but mostly belonged to my whole family. They both lived long lives and passed away before I graduated college. When I graduated, I moved back home for about a year and then decided to move into an apartment with a boyfriend. A few years later, I bought my own townhouse and at the age of 25 lived alone for the very first time in my life.
After going from my parent’s house with my three younger siblings, to a college dorm, to a shared apartment – my townhouse was so quiet that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Not to mention, after years of cleaning up after other people, I was totally confused when my house stayed neat all day long.
After about four months of living alone, I gave myself the best Christmas present in the world, Potter. At 11 weeks old, he weighed only four pounds and fit into one of my hands like a little fluffy guinea pig. I used to stick him inside my winter coat (with his head stuck out of my chest like a furry alien) whenever I went to visit my friends and family.
I loved him at first sight and he drove me crazy for about 2 years straight with his chewing (he ruined a kitchen table and four chairs, shoes, a baby gate, and so much more), his yappy barking, and the fact that he would leave little poop presents in the house *right after* I took him out for a walk.
He finally outgrew his terrible puppy stage and became a really awesome dog. Potter loves to perch himself on top of the couch and nap, get all crazy in my bed to pull the covers down and then snuggle himself in for awhile, and gnaw the crap out of a bone with a fierce look in his eyes. When I was dating, he’d make his feelings known about my boyfriend choices and picked Travis as his new dad the day he met him.
When I’m having a crappy day, the best thing is the world is when I get to snuggle up with my boys.
I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of Potter vomiting on the floor of my bedroom. I threw myself out of bed to get him on the bathroom floor, which is so much easier to clean up, but of course he was finished by that point. As I went through the house, it was like a horror movie. Potter had been sick (in one way or another) in every room of the house, probably about 15 times. And all in the hour between when my husband left for work and I awoke.
When I took him to the vet, they examined him and took a bunch of samples. It seemed like he was feeling better, until he decided to leave a little present on the exam room floor. At that moment, the vet determined that he was severely dehydrated and was deteriorating quickly. He recommended that he go to the animal hospital so that they could hook him up to an IV as soon as possible.
While waiting for them to finish with the blood tests and finalize the paperwork for us to go to the animal hospital, the tears started. Potter’s isn’t even 8 years old yet and I can’t imagine losing him yet. I called my husband at work and he was able to leave early to go with us to the animal hospital.
While Travis drove, I sat with Potter on my lap tried to keep from freaking out. As if I needed yet another reason to love my husband, when I mentioned that the cost of the animal hospital was most likely going to be very high, he said that it didn’t matter and we’d spend as much as it takes.
Once we arrived at the animal hospital, the vet on call examined Potter again and agreed that they should start him on an IV and keep him overnight. She said that it was possible that he might be much better by the next day, but if he wasn’t they would do x-rays and also check his pancreas.
When she took Potter away, I tried as hard as I could to keep from crying. I just couldn’t shake the thought that I might not ever see my dog alive again.
Of course, the harder you try not to cry, the more you end up sobbing. After we completed all the necessary paperwork, they let us visit Potter before we left. When we went back to see him, the sounds of all of the other dog’s whining and the look on my dog’s face as we had to leave just about broke my heart.
My husband had to work last night, so I sat at home in my quiet house and tried to hope for the best. Needless to say, there was a lot of tossing and turning involved.
I am so thrilled to say that this story has a happy ending. We received a call from the hospital vet this morning saying that we could pick Potter up this afternoon. After 24 hours on an IV, he was doing so much better. They don’t really know what was wrong with him, but apparently some dogs just end up getting a really bad stomach bug for no reason.
He has to take an antibiotic for the next few days, and also has a special diet to follow. Ironically, I spent more time tonight making Potter’s special meal then I did on my own food for the past few days.
Potter is super happy to be home, but I think he’s getting kind of sick of me randomly grabbing him to pet him. I don’t care though, I’m so happy that I get more time with my furry little son that I’m going to snuggle the crap out of him until he finds a better hiding place!