Disclaimer: There is no knitting content here.
Yesterday I almost lost my dog. This is the dog I’ve had since 1999 — I brought her home in February, she had been born in December. She was the tiniest thing with a huge belly and little stumpy tail; she was so tiny she liked to sleep behind the toilet. Through the years she has been with me through thick and thin; through multiple lovers, through apartments and houses, through cancer treatment and recovery.
Jessie is now 10. Last night she developed bloat and a 360 degree torsion of her stomach. This is a life-threatening emergency that requires surgical intervention. Without it, it is usually fatal. Here is a short primer on bloat, for any readers who are both unfamiliar and curious. I didn’t understand immediately what was happening — she began retching but wasn’t bringing anything up. She was panting, lethargic, and her abdomen became very enlarged and rigid. Jessie is barrel-chested but skinny, with slim hips and an hourglass shape. Last night she looked like she swallowed a beach ball. It was amazing how large her abdomen was. I called the emergency vet, carried Jessie to the car, and took her there. They immediately did x-rays and took her into surgery.
I went to the bar.
The surgery went well. They found that she has a splenic tumor, so they removed her spleen (I found out today that the bloat was a lucky thing for us as dogs with splenic tumors generally bleed to death with little warning). There was also a tumor floating in the omentum (this is the mesh covering over your guts) so that was removed as well. They have both been sent to pathology and we’ll have those results in a few days.
She’s home now, after spending the day at our usual animal hospital, getting IV hydration and other post-operative care. She has a Fentanyl patch and a large incision closed with staples. She is getting several small, home-cooked meals per day in addition to sucralfate (to coat and soothe her post-operative stomach) and an antibiotic. The patch will stay on for 5 days. She goes back to the vet in 7 for staple removal.
I feel immensely fortunate that I was home when this happened, that I recognized something was wrong and how serious it was, and that she received surgical intervention right away. It was not cheap. Our emergency office has no payment plans; you have to pay for service when it is rendered. Which means if we didn’t have the $2600 it cost to have the surgery my dog would probably be dead. I suppose they can’t do payment plans or charity care because of the large number of people who have pets and may not be able to pay the bill but it still doesn’t sit well with me. It doesn’t seem like your economic status should be the deciding factor of whether your animal lives or dies but I guess it is.
Jessie is home and is currently snoozing on her bed. We’re camping out in the living room tonight because she is restricted from stairs.
Extreme sleepy pup close up: