Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sick and worried sick


Monday last week I get home from work and Stella and Rocky rush downstairs and do their usual greeting dance which is them grabbing their respective balls of rope and wagging their tails and walking circles around me. I spend about a minute saying hello to them and then I turn away to hang up my jacket. When I turn back around, I see Stella already lying in her bed with her head on her paws. I say something like, "Lazy much?" but immediately realize something's not right. She doesn't want to move.

She really doesn't want to move but I make her get up anyway because I want to see what's wrong with her if anything. Part of me is still not sure she's not just being extra slothful at the moment.

She gets up slowly and her belly is all tucked in and the her tail is curled right up between her legs. She just stands there, doesn't move. I immediately think it's bloat because that's the fall back illness for most Great Dane owners when they see their dog experiencing some kind of unexplained stomache related pain. Bloat can kill a dog in 20 minutes so it's not like there's any pressure or anything. Plus it's extremely painful: stomache twisting, trapping the gas inside, gas expands. It's like the stomache becomes a balloon and it gets bigger and bigger.

I take her outside to see if it's not something like a cramp, something that can be walked off but she's still in discomfort after a few minutes. So there's nothing I can do but drive her to the Veterinary Emergency Clinic.

We get there and after another quick walk and still no change, we go inside the clinic. I'm not going to go into the details but basically I pick up Stella the next morning, because they wanted her there overnight, and I'm $1200 thinner. They've run bloodwork and multiple X-rays and they've found nothing. And now Stella's traumatized from having to spend the night at the clinic with an IV stuck in her and she's still in pain so they've also added some pain killers to the bill - although now I'm thinking the pain killers are for me.

I make an appointment for Stella at her regular vet for noon that same day and after more X-rays there and more examinations and $300+ later, they find nothing wrong with her, although it's looking like it's more of a hip or leg issue than a stomache problem.

I bring her home. I put her on Metacam and the next morning she's pretty well back to normal. Two more days on Metacam then I take her off it, holding my breathe, hoping whatever it was that ailed her doesn't come back once the drug wears off.

It doesn't or at least it hasn't yet.

$1500 spent and nada. Even if I had used the cash as firestarter, it would have been more useful. I'm sure Stella would have gotten more enjoyment out of it if I had spent it on steak.

16 comments:

borderjack said...

Hi Fred,
I hope Stella's okay. She's lucky to have you.

Lynn said...

Sorry, Fred. I've been there and done that a few times over. On one hand I wish I could be more patient and wait to see if "it" (whatever it happens to be at the moment) passes. On the other, I don't know what I'd do with myself if I waited and it turned out horribly. I'm glad the lovely Stella is feeling better and I hope she stays that way. Sorry 'bout your pocketbook though.

GoodDog said...

Poor Stella! So sorry to hear about the mystery illness. I've had similar experiences with the emergency vet. If the dogs could just talk and say what feels bad it would save us thousands. Alas this is the price of unconditional love.

Laura HP said...

Poor Stella! I'm glad she's feeling better. Bizarrely I had a very similar experience recently - Alice (the giant bunny) completely lost her balance and could barely walk. We went to the VEC, spent way too much money and found nothing. And boom, she started walking and now she's almost back to normal. You're glad you spent the money in case it would have helped, but on the other hand, you have to think - all that money, for nothing except scaring your animal.

Marcie said...

Ohhh Stella! She might of just been looking for a metacam fix.

Cathrine said...

Yep, it's a big bite out of the budget, but better to be poorer and have a live dog than richer and a dog who died because you waited to see when there was a serious problem. Like everyone else here, I'm just glad for you she got better. She's an older girl, and the day will come too soon as it is...

House of the Discarded said...

When something like this happens in our house, my husband and I always say the same thing:

"Gee, we were due to spend $1500.00 on one of the cats" (or dog..or..)

Usually this kind of thing happens the week before the holidays.

Lynda said...

Fred, I do feel your pain. Sorry you had to go through that. Fingers crossed Stella stays her normal self for you!!

Lynda

Fred said...

Thanks everyone for all the well wishes. Stella has been all clear for three days now so I'm thinking whatever it was has passed. Once I'm sure she's okay, I'm going to send her to the employment office to get a job.

Biscuit said...

Oh, the poor sweetie. I'm glad she's feeling better, Fred.

(I keep thinking I should sign up our non-defective cats for health insurance, and then forgetting (we have two with preexisting conditions that make them pretty much uninsurable, at least for reasonable rates).)

spotted dog farm said...

so glad stella is recovering. the pocketbook stuff hurts (but could be much worse, of course, as you know)...

i have a friend who is having a similar experience with her dane and she is interested in talking with you, so i gave her your email, hope that's ok.

Fred said...

Hi spotted dog farm, no problem with the email though, as you can tell from my experience with Stella, I'm not sure how much I'll be able to help.

FrogDogz said...

Poor both of you! Isn't it amazing how they can look on death's door, but a $1500 vet exam will find nothing at all wrong?

I completely understand, though. I've had more than my fair share of "OMG, is it bloat?" vet runs. Thank God I can get stomach tacking done on my next big guy or gal.

Kara said...

I'm glad to hear hear things are back to normal.

My pup is finally back to normal too after hurting his back somehow. I'm $500 poorer but much happier knowing he's not in pain. Nothing worse than seeing a pet in pain.

Wikked Windy said...

Sorry to hear taht Stella wasnt feeling well. I think you have me beat. I am only up to $1000 and still counting with my next follow up appt. My little had a really nasty hot spot that scared the bejesus out of me and i rushed her to the emergency vet, then a few mroe trips to my vet and alas im 1000 poorer and still no clue of what is causing her allergies.

Evil Shannanigans said...

that happened with Pepper...she threw up for a day straight and after hundreds of dollars in tests and bloodwork I was told she probably just had a blockage which most likely passed.
Of course, as a completely well trained owner, she is worth every penny.