duck-shaped pain


13 October 2002
Poor doggie.

I spent much of yesterday in a place I did not want or plan to be: the veterinarian's office.

I woke up on Saturday, made coffee and went outside to water the plants. My dog Hoover, who would normally be up and bouncing around, demanding a biscuit, was nowhere to be seen. I looked around the yard and saw that he wasn't laying in his doghouse or under the tree -- his usual napping spots. Nor was he running around the yard, barking his fool head off at grass or bees or dangerous old ladies walking around the street.

I finally spotted him in an odd corner of the yard, one that he rarely frequents. He was laying on the grass, in an odd position. I called him: no answer. I walked over to him, and I was thinking, oh no -- dead dog, dead dog until I saw that he was breathing, shallowly. I patted him, poked him, yelled his name, but nothing seemed to rouse him.

I called his veterinarian and she told me to bring him in right away. My dad and I drove him down there, since I needed help getting him in and out of the car. Hoover opened his eyes while he was being moved and while he was in the car, but once he got to the vet's office, he fell asleep again.

My dog has epilepsy, so that was an immediate suspect in what might be wrong with him. Usually, he only has small, 2- to 3-minute seizures, but the vet thought that he might have had a massive one, which would have left him with brain damage or otherwise incredibly exhausted. She also thought he might have ingested something dangerous, since he was so sleepy and out of it. As she said, "This looks like a dog that's been anesthetized." She did some blood tests, and the results of those made her think that he might also have some sort of liver trouble, which can cause weird things in dogs.

He was moved to the x-ray room, so that she could rule out some other things. While he was laying on the x-ray table, two of the office cats came over and sat on him, and he didn't move a muscle. He must have been either really, really sick or really, really tired.

The x-rays ruled out the liver issue or tumors or other blockages, and the vet called a couple of other vets in town to get their opinion on what might have happened. No answer, and we decided that the best cause would be to leave him there for observation. She was moving closer to the idea that he had been either poisoned or had gotten into something dangerous.

"Can he get into your medicine cabinet?" she asked me. I replied no, that he would have to break into the house, open the bathroom door, fetch a stool, open the medicine cabinet, take out the hair gel, bandages, candles, and other things which I stuff in there when I'm cleaning up the bathroom, and then he would find…nothing. Actually, I didn't say any of that. I just said no.

I went home and checked out the backyard. There didn't seem to be anything odd back there, and it was obvious that he hadn't gotten into the garage where the chemicals are stored. So I couldn't think of what it might be, other than something someone had given him through the fence. There are a bunch of gaps in the fence: not big enough for him to escape through, but certainly big enough for someone's hand. And we've had a rush of new people moving into the neighborhood, none of whom I know.

Later that night, the vet called me to say that Hoover had woken up. In her words, he looked "hung over," and she promised to call me in the morning to report on whether or not he would be ready to go home.

This morning, she called and said that he was better, although he had had a seizure during the evening. I went over to get him, and he had another one between when she called and when I arrived. These always leave him all spacey and reluctant to move, so I stayed with him at the vet's office for a while before taking him home.

So, right now he's in the back yard. I had to fence off the stairs to the deck because he's been having seizures all afternoon, and if he has one up on the deck, he runs the risk of rolling off of it. We still don't know what caused what happened yesterday -- the vet plans to run more tests to see if he was indeed poisoned, and I have no idea. But he's continuing to have a very rough weekend. Poor doggie.

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