Love from Milo

Barks, My Dogs

Milo is back to his old self now.

A sincere thank you to family and friends who were here when we needed you.

Now that things have settled back down, I am posting the breakdown of what happened.

Saturday morning all seemed okay, I fed Macy and Milo and left for the morning to help host a birding event in my community.  Saturday afternoon Milo got a hold of an old piece of wood in the garage and potentially ingested a small piece of it before we got it away from him.  He would not eat after that so did not have supper but was still drinking water.

Through the night he threw up several times.  With nothing in his belly, it was all grass and clear liquid.  I didn’t think much of it until the morning when his behavior changed, and he became a bit lethargic and refused to eat either meal on Sunday.  Knowing that Monday would be Victoria Day and the vets would be closed I was really hoping the situation would turn around.  I stuck close to home to keep an eye on him.  Sunday morning was the last time I saw him have a drink of water on his own, so I was spoon feeding him water.  On Monday night I asked my neighbour who is a nurse to come over to see if she could help me get a read on the situation as I was debating whether to take him to emergency.

Naturally he perked up a bit when he saw her.  He even went to his water bowl and showed her he could drink water.  We looked in his throat and didn’t see anything stuck.  His eyes were clear, his gums were pink.  We were discussing whether I could wait until the morning to take him to our own vet.  Then about 15 minutes later he vomited up a pile of horrid smelling bile that was more like poop.  She said, take him to emergency.  So off I went.

The veterinarian at Metro Emergency who saw him wanted to do x-rays and bloodwork, but I said I would rather wait to get them down in the morning at my own vet and just wanted him examined and out of danger.  He said his abdomen seemed sensitive but nothing in his throat and he was dehydrated so we gave him a subcutaneous fluid injection and I brought him home.

Tuesday morning, we went to our vet, Dr. Jessica McCarron, at the Burnside Veterinary Clinic.  We set him up with IV fluids and scheduled an Xray for him.  I left him for the day at the clinic and went home and setup a GoFundMe fundraiser as it has been a very difficult year financially in my home and I had no money to pay for any of it.  Also, wanted to be able to do whatever necessary without worrying about the cost.  Surgery is never out of the question with GI issues and blockages and tests don’t always show the whole picture. 

Tuesday afternoon I got an update from the vet that the Xray didn’t show anything of concern although it is not easy so see blockage in an Xray.  She suggested I pick him up at 730pm but leave the IV line in just in case he was no better.

He seemed a bit better but when we got home, he would neither eat nor drink water.  He ate a bit of grass, came inside, went to bed, and didn’t move once until the morning. 

Wednesday morning, he was so lethargic he could barely pick his head up.  I put him in his crate and took him back to the vet for another day of IV fluids and tests.  I ordered a 2nd Xray and a bloodwork pane.  Bloodwork all clear.  I requested something to make him feel better since he was still refusing food or water.  He was given sucralfate which treats acid in the stomach and esophagus.  The vet said the only other test that may show something would be a scope, but they did not have one at the clinic. More on that later.  An ultrasound was suggested but it would apparently not likely show anything.  The only conclusive way to know if there is blockage when tests don’t show is to surgically open the dog up which is not what anyone wants, and most things will pass in time.

And so now we wait.  And hope.

Later in the afternoon I got some good news the Xray showed the barium moving through his system and had reached his colon.  Dr. McCarron phoned to say that he was now hydrated properly so she would remove the line.  Also, he was now enthusiastically eating so her hope was he was on the mend.

I picked him up Wednesday night.  Everyone at the clinic said he was a star patient and they all loved him.  Interestingly he didn’t want to leave the day before and couldn’t wait to go back.  It’s because he knew he needed to be there.  This time he couldn’t wait to go home.  Lots of pep and energy.  Took him home he wanted to play frisbee, eat, and drink water.  Still no poop and that was the final important piece of the puzzle.

Thursday morning, he pooped!  Finally!  So, I closed donations to the GoFundMe and enjoyed Milo all day.

Thursday night he wouldn’t settle to sleep for night.  He kept appearing in the living room or downstairs.  I figured he was trying to tell me something, so I went into the bedroom.  He was on my bed at this point.  He showed me his IV-line battle wound and I acknowledged it then he put his head on me and relaxed.  He was trying to make me understand what had happened to him.  He then went to his own bed for the night and didn’t stir again.  He is such a sensitive and smart boy. Border Collie through and through.

We will never really know if the wood was the problem.  I’m told sometimes you never really know.  All evidence points to small blockage and lots of discomfort.  I will say that dehydration is very serious.  Milo has been sick before but not gotten dehydrated and it caught me off guard.  Apparently, it is difficult to replenish fluids and electrolytes, so we now have a bottle of Pedialyte in the cupboard…just in case.

I’m very grateful this turned out okay.  So scary.  I really thought I may lose him.  It was hard every step of the way to make the best decisions when talking to the vet and ordering tests. 

What I think would be very helpful and everyone feels the same is that veterinary care was the same price 24/7 and equipment was available to all clinics.  Since speaking with many people, I’ve found out it’s not uncommon to have to go to several clinics to get the treatment you need.  The trouble with that is, you choose your veterinarian because your dog loves them, and you trust them.  The stress of changing vets and clinics is not good for the dog or for anyone.

One suggestion I have is for there to be mobile equipment that can be ordered to be used at multiple locations.  So, if I could have ordered a scope and the equipment could arrive on site, that would save so much stress.

This may not be possible, but food for thought maybe a good business opportunity for someone.

I shudder to think of how many pets are unnecessarily euthanized due to finances and inconvenience that could be saved with some planning.

Of course, Nova Scotia can’t get that sorted out for humans, doubtful we will solve it for pets.  However, my hope springs eternal, always.

Love from Milo.

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