I came home from Easter brunch yesterday and was laying on the couch with my three pups. I heard a loud gurgling noise coming from Colt’s stomach, followed by a burp. He looked a little uncomfortable so I took him outside and he had a normal stool so we came back in for a few. He continued the gurgling and burping for about 20 minutes and I decided to check him out. I’m a veterinary assistant and do know the basics of emergency care – I took his pulse which was on the much lower end of normal, but he had a normal temperature, and he wasn’t acting too painful.. but I decided something wasn’t right and took him to the emergency vet.
The veterinarian, who actually works part time at my work, came in and informed me that bloat probably wasn’t the issue (my major concern) because he did not look like a typical bloat dog. He palpated his abdomen and agreed it was painful and decided to do xrays just in case something was in there. I am so glad he did, because he found a partially twisted stomach and a possible obstruction. He was immediately rushed into surgery (which lasted for the LONGEST 2 hours of my life) and the gas was released from his stomach, an ankle sock removed from his intestines, and a gastropexy (tacking the stomach) was performed.
This has been the most eye-opening experience I’ve had to deal with – we’ve only had Colt for 4 months after pulling him off the euthanasia list for aggression in a Denver shelter. He has become a major part of mine and my boyfriend’s lives and thinking that we might lose him was so scary. He is still at the emergency vet and I am waiting for word that he is able to be transferred to my veterinarians office for post-operative care. We were able to visit him this morning and although he was very out of it he was able to walk outside with us and wag his tail. Most of the visit he spent sleeping next to the window with the sun hitting his face.
This was a very scary reminder that sometimes illness doesn’t look typical – I was certain that taking him to emergency was an over-reaction but knew something was off. I would rather waste $200+ on an examination and xrays than have to worry about losing my dog to something treatable. As the people who live with them every day, we know our pets best. I hope others will see this as a reminder that things can happen very quickly, even in young, healthy dogs. Hug your pets for me today, please, and keep my boy in your thoughts as he goes down this road of recovery.