Friday, 1 May 2020

A Scary Trip to the Emergency Vet with our Puppy

Last weekend did not go to plan. Life in lockdown is stressful enough but on Saturday night my 11 month old puppy, George, scared the life out of me and Ian. I even think Teddy knew there was something wrong as he wouldn't leave Georgie's side.

Let me give you a little bit of backstory. Both my dogs go off the lead once they're in a secluded field so they can chase after each other, explore and tire themselves out. They're both excellent at recall so come back to us as soon as they're called. And if Ted (who likes to dawdle), is taking too long to recall, George goes and gets him; he's like a little chaperone.

One thing about George is he gets into everything, or rather he puts everything in his mouth. I can't begin to tell you how many shredded tissues I've picked up this week or how often I've found him carrying a sock around (I swear he finds socks that I didn't know existed). And as closely as we monitor him at home, when he's off the lead, Ian can't always see if George is chowing down on something.

Another thing about my bouncy little G is he is very alert. He reacts whenever either me or Ian move, and if we get up to go to the bathroom, he follows us. When Ian is in the garden, George can hear him coming in before the door even opens and he's up at the kitchen door waiting to greet him. He's a happy greeter and likes to know where we are.

Fast-forward to Saturday; the three boys (Ian, Teddy and George) go out on their evening walk at around 7pm, they're out for approximately an hour and when they come home the dogs have a drink and nap - this is all usual behaviour. Ian spent some time in the garden and text me checking if I was okay and if the dogs were; I told him we were all fine, and the dogs were fast asleep.

A few minutes later, Ian comes into the house. Every other day, George would have been in the hall waiting to jump all over his dad, but he hadn't even opened his eyes, let alone got up. It didn't cross my mind at the time that he didn't move but we decided to have an early night and watch Netflix in bed. Usually George is up on the bed before I'm even out of the living room but after calling his name numerous times he didn't move. His eyes were open but he was glued to the floor. I encouraged him some more and he eventually, very lazily followed me through to the bedroom. My initial reaction was that he was extremely tired and had overdone it on his walk but when he got on the bed clumsily and lay staring off into space in a dazed way, I began to worry.

George wasn't responding to his name and his pupils were massive. He was also flinching when we touched his abdomen. I asked Ian to take him outside into the garden to see if he needed some fresh air or the toilet but he was staggering as he walked, leaning off to one side and almost falling over. His head was also wobbling and he wet himself when he came back inside. His legs were in strange positions and it was like he couldn't hold himself up; we both said he appeared drunk.

I was so scared as I had no idea what was wrong with my little fluffy boy so I called the emergency vet number at 9:30pm and we got to the hospital just after 10. George sat on Ian's knee during the car ride and cried the whole way there, it was horrible. For all of us.

Due to lockdown, we weren't allowed to go in with George so we waited in the car for him to be called and after about half an hour, he happily pranced into the practice with the nurse. He walked in as if he was taking part in Crufts and I giggled watching him be the little people-pleasing show-off that he is.

A few minutes later, after his nurse triage, she called me and told me her initial findings were that he was a happy, healthy dog. I almost laughed down the phone; he's been acting like he's tripping on acid, he's not okay. He's always happy with new people, that's just George. I explained all the symptoms again and told her he's had a concerning head tremor, balance issues and we're really troubled. I was then informed it'd probably be an hour before the vet could see him and did we want to wait. Of course we did, our baby was poorly. We wanted the vet to help him.

I googled some of his symptoms, which I don't ever recommend doing, but I couldn't help myself as I was terrified; and my research pointed to an inner-ear infection or poison. I tried not to panic, he was in the best place possible but I wished I could have been there with him.

Ten minutes later the nurse called back; George was seeing the vet. The call was on loudspeaker and the vet went over all the symptoms, his history and what George had done earlier that day. He gave him a full examination and concluded that G had ingested something toxic whilst on his walk earlier on and it appeared like his body was fighting it off but he needed some medicine to help. George was given an injection and some charcoal medicine which had to be administered every four hours. We were told if he wasn't any better the next day to come back as he'd require blood tests to find out what the toxin was and potentially require further treatment. George was brought back to the car and he fell asleep on the ride home.

When we got home he was still displaying all the symptoms we expressed and I FaceTimed my mum to show her how he was acting. She got really upset seeing him tremor and lose balance. We all love our George Porge so it was difficult watching him act so strangely.

After the chat, we had a cuddle with him in bed and then Ian stayed up with him in the living room so he could have his medicine and be monitored. It took George quite a while to fall asleep as every time he closed his eyes, he quickly opened them as he, too, was worried.

The next morning I opened the bedroom door and was greeted by my bouncy, happy boy. He was completely back to normal and acting like the night before hadn't happened. Both Ian and I were so relieved that our baby was okay.

Ian watches the pups like a hawk when they're out walking but he's been even more vigilant since this happened. We have no idea what he ingested but we've made sure we have some charcoal available for if it ever (please diety, don't let it) happens again.

If your pet shows similar symptoms to George, make sure you get advice from your vet. I have no medical or veterinary training but wanted to share our story.

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