Scare Tactics

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Oh, Tessa.

It seems like if she doesn't provide us with some kind of health scare, it's not a normal year. Thankfully, this wasn't as serious as the BIG scare in 2008, but it still sucked.

We ended up at the emergency vet today, scared of all the "what ifs."

Back up to yesterday afternoon. We took Tess for a walk, and on the way home, she stopped to sniff what appeared to be a leaf in the grass, so I let her. (She is a dog, after all.) Next thing we knew, she was gulping it up, chewed it twice, and swallowed. I wasn't standing that close to her, so I have no idea what it actually was. The way she chewed it and the way she gobbled it up, it seemed like it was likely discarded food (we were near a couple of restaurants, so it seemed probable). Of course, I was kind of alarmed, but dogs are gross and eat gross things sometimes, so we didn't give it much thought. Tess acted completely normal for the rest of the day, so it was not much of a concern.

But then, at 1:00 a.m., we were awakened by the sound of Tessa jumping off of our bed and heaving her stomach contents onto the floor. Three times. Not a great way to wake up in the middle of the night, I assure you. Although this is definitely not "normal" for her, it has happened before in the four years that we've had her, so generally, we clean up and go back to bed. But given that she had eaten the unknown object earlier in the day, we were significantly more worried than usual.

After cleaning up, we did a series of "tests" to see if Tessa would act as her normal self. We actually took her on a walk up and down our street (yes, at 1:00 a.m.!) to see if she would be up for it. She seemed relatively OK, so we came back and, although worried, got back into bed and tried to get some sleep. Except it wasn't restful, because we both kept waking up to check on the sick little girl.

At 6:00 a.m., I woke up to find Michael awake, concerned that Tessa hadn't yet tried to wake him up. (She is typically so "starved" for food, that she wakes us up as early as she knows is acceptable to make Michael take her outside, feed her, and then AND ONLY THEN will she come back to bed with us to sleep in on the weekends.) It was clear then that Tess definitely hadn't bounced back from her vomiting episode, and she wasn't herself.

Still, we got up and Michael took her outside to see what she'd do. When she came back inside, she didn't run for her food like normal--in fact, she didn't give a crap about it. She ran to me and wanted me to hold her. Obviously a sick little girl! I took her over to the kitchen and gave her a little water, and put a few morsels of food in her bowl. She ate them and didn't seem to suffer any ill effects, so I was pretty encouraged that all would be OK.

But before we went back to bed, I called the emergency vet hotline to ask some questions. The woman on the other end didn't seem extremely concerned either, telling me to just observe her and feed her a bland diet today. Again, we snuggled back up in bed and tried to get a few more hours of sleep.

Between 9:30-10 a.m., we woke up and decided to get up. Tessa was pretty lethargic. Not alarmingly so, but definitely out of the ordinary for her. I tried to give her some more water, but found that although she would drink it, she would unfortunately throw it back up within a minute or so. This happened two or three times before I gave up and became pretty worried.

We decided we'd take her on a short walk to the grocery store to pick up a few things considered part of a "bland diet" for her so we could try to get something in her stomach. But as we were getting dressed to go, Tessa began vomiting again. After she had emptied what little was in her stomach (the food from 6 a.m.), she continued to vomit repeatedly, consisting of only stomach acid and bile (sorry, eww).

I picked up the phone and dialed the emergency vet line immediately, and updated the tech. She still wasn't too concerned, but when I mentioned I was afraid Tess was going to become dehydrated, she asked me to check the color of Tessa's gums. When I did, they were white. The tech said that is "really NOT a good sign" and advised us to bring her in immediately.


Because we had no idea what she had ingested, they had to run blood tests to check for toxins, but they also had to take x-rays to ensure that whatever she ate wasn't causing some kind of G.I. blockage. And of course, in order to get the x-rays, they said they were going to have to give her a mild sedative. NOT what we wanted to hear. He said that he was pretty concerned that she couldn't keep down water and had continued to vomit, even after the 1:00 a.m. episode.

To top it all off, they said that we'd have to leave her there for 1-2 hours while they did these tests and treated her with fluids. HEARTBREAKING, because this little girl hates to be left at the vet. It's seriously traumatizing for her, and she always gives us the saddest looks when we have to hand her over. HATE IT.

After we reluctantly passed her over to the doctor, we left for a while to try to get our minds off of her (impossible) and kill some time. We returned to the hospital about an hour later, only to have to wait almost another hour. It sucked. Sincerely sucked. I had too much time to imagine all possible worst case scenarios and by the time they called us in I was freaking out!

The doctor came in and showed us her x-rays, which were clear (except for some gas bubbles in the intestines, ha!), and told us that her bloodwork came back clear as well. RELIEF. Sweet relief. We paid the bill while they finished up her treatment (they gave her some fluids under her skin to help keep her hydrated), and finally, we were reunited.

Poor girl is STONED. They must've given her some seriously good drugs. When they handed her back to me, she was whining with every breath (as if she was saying, "MAMA! You won't believe what they did to me!") but her tail was wagging because she was happy. But the look in her eyes was far away and she was obviously out of it. Hilarious and so sad, all at the same time.

We've been instructed to keep an eye on her. We had to wait until 8:00 p.m. to feed her, and when we did, it had to be a mixture of boiled hamburger, rice, and low-fat cottage cheese (um, ew!). The vet expects that she'll be feeling loads better tomorrow. I sure hope so.

We're all exhausted from last night's NO SLEEP, so we're heading to bed early. We're thankful to have little Tessa home with us.

So pitiful. We caught her staring off into space several times today. At one point, she was sitting on the couch, staring at the back of it. Would love to know what those drugs were making her see!

We want our lively little girl back! :(


Hometown Queen April 12, 2010 at 4:19 AM  

Glad to hear Tessa is alright - there's pretty much nothing more terrifying than not knowing what's wrong with your pet!

americamowry April 12, 2010 at 8:14 AM  

I can't imagine the worry! So glad to hear she should be all better today! You guys are going to be great parents:)

Jen April 12, 2010 at 9:22 AM  

Poor Tessa! I can imagine how worried you were. Glad it sounds like she's on the mend!

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