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The topic of this Behind The Blogger prompt is “If It Happens Again” and boy this is an easy post for me to write! As you’ll see by my title the second half, “I Will Know Better & Trust My Own Instincts” these are words I have recently spoken and felt guilt about. If you are familiar me then you know my dogs are family and are treated as such and are regulars on my blog. Well, six months ago one of my dog’s became ill and I went against my better judgement and it almost cost my pup his life!
It all started on a Wednesday, my middle fur child Sig, vomited once but acted fine otherwise. The next day he began to vomit again so I took him to a local, well-known and loved veterinarian who I have been to for years. Now the Wednesday he got sick I had fed him fresh blueberries which are totally safe for dogs but Thursday the vet heard this and said that Sig simply had an upset stomach from the blueberries, he said that in Sig being a schnauzer, they have finicky stomachs. I have had schnauzers for the past 16 years and I am well aware of their sensitive stomachs but he is the vet. So we go home with nausea meds and come Friday he stops vomiting but now is hardly eating which is way out of the norm for him so I call the vet back and explain his behavior and stressed to them that I felt something more was going on.
After expressing my concern I was assured that if I give him a few days he will feel better and that a dog with a sick stomach won’t eat and they did not have any appointments available that day and I would have to wait till Tuesday because Monday was a holiday. I was not happy with the conversation but didn’t know if I was overreacting but something was telling me something more serious was going on, I mean, I know my dog and I knew something was off. When I had went in Thursday to the appointment I wanted blood-work run and whatever ever else that needed to be done but they felt that wasn’t necessary because he simply had an upset stomach from blueberries in which I questioned because they are safe and even if it had upset his stomach, he wouldn’t be worse two days later! Now knowing what I do, I should have demanded blood-work or took him somewhere where they would! I just knew something was wrong, I felt it!
Over the weekend he was about the same, barely eating and vomiting every once in a while. I meanwhile was worried and fuming waiting for Tuesday to come. So now it’s Monday which is a holiday and Sig is laying on the couch with me and I notice his stomach looked funny, it looked yellowish-green. I immediately panicked, I thought this can’t be normal. I drove him an hour and a half away to a specialty hospital and within twenty minutes of being seen I was told Sig had developed jaundice and he was in liver failure. I was in shock to say the least. They were astonished over the details I relayed to them about the timeline from him getting sick and his treatment thus far. The first thing the doctor said was “blueberries are safe for dogs”.
A few days in Sig wasn’t really expected to live. His liver was shutting down, his body was filled with infection and his liver enzymes and ALT would not even register as it was so high, even diluted it was still unreadable. He was in ICU at the hospital with 24 hr care, it was such a difficult time. He was so far away so toward the end of the week I ask if there was anyway he could be transferred to a vet near home (definitely not mine) and was told no, that the local vets were not equipped to handle his condition and told that when he left there it would be with palliative care instructions. If you are unfamiliar with palliative care, it’s pretty much hospice care, there is just no time restrictions put on your length of time left as hospice is usually within a 6 month life expectancy. I was beyond sick! Sig wasn’t improving much at all and our bill was already at $4,000.
Fast forward a few days later, they were finally able to read his blood-work after being diluted and he began to eat on his own! This was remarkable! The doctors could not believe it, they said it was miracle he survived that week. He was able to be transferred and the local vet said the same after reading his records sent from the specialty hospital – it’s a miracle! He has liver damage and has had on going care & meds till this day but is on the mend. The liver is a wonderful rejuvenating organ. Had Sig have been tested anytime that week he first developed symptoms it would have been discovered that his liver was beginning to fail and things would have been different. I still feel bad for not doing more that Friday, or Thursday for that matter, I knew by then something was off with him and that I felt the vet was wrong but went against my instincts and waited it out as the vet instructed and nearly lost my dog.
If I am put in a similar position in the future where something like this happens again, I will know better! I will know to follow my own instincts!
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