thank Dog. photography » fun, artistic, modern pet portraits | Dallas,Texas

trials and tribulations of a baby lab

I’ve posted about some of this episode on Facebook (if you don’t “like” thank Dog, you should!), but here’s the complete story…

Wednesday night, the little guy threw up.  I didn’t worry too much about it – dogs sometimes vomit.  But the next morning, Mr. Jet was super lethargic and he had zero interest in his breakfast – highly out of character.  I began to worry.  Around lunchtime, I returned home to check on him.  He was still acting super pathetic and still hadn’t touched his breakfast.  Given his penchant to put anything and everything in his mouth, I instantly began to worry about a possible obstruction so I felt around on his belly — and he cried out in pain.  Oh no.

After a frantic message to DFW Rescue Me, I took Jet to the vet.  They had the same suspicion I did so they took a few xrays of the dude.  Unfortunately, the xrays weren’t overly helpful — it looked like there might be something blocking the exit of the stomach into the intestines, but it was impossible to tell conclusively.  Regardless, it was very clear the little guy did not feel good – plus he’d developed a bit of a fever, also worrisome.   The vet gave us a few options:  (1) open him up for exploratory surgery – which may end up being unnecessary; or (2) wait it out to see if he passes or digests whatever it is – risking him potentially becoming septic and/or perforating.  Fun choice, right?

Before that decision was made, I moved Jet to a different clinic – one that was open late and had staff on hand 24/7.  Vet #2 examined him and his xrays… and pretty much said the same (with a potential addition course of action – a barium series to tract movement through the digestive system).  The ultimate decision was to get him on an IV and to closely monitor him through the night.  Since his symptoms had only appeared the night before, he hopefully wouldn’t become septic or perforate if we waited an additional 7-8 hours.  And if he started to turn for the worse or vomited again during the night, they’d go ahead and perform surgery then and there.  If not, they’d continue monitoring him and try feeding him a bit in the morning.  Luckily he made it through the night fine, and scarfed up the food in the morning.  Even better, he didn’t vomit but did poop.  His belly was still tender, but less so (particularly after he relieved himself).  He was fed several more times throughout the day, each time keeping it down.  A bit more poop (there were a few red strings in it, but nothing that would have obviously have caused the problem).  The decision was made to let me bring him home last night and monitor him here (with catheter left in place just in case).  When I picked him up, he was clearly feeling better – not back to his normal self, but a lot better (he was SO pathetic on Wednesday – everyone at both vets commented on how sweet the little baby was.  While he is sweet in his own way, he’s not cuddle-up-in-your-arms-with-sad-puppy-eyes-when-there-are-other-dogs-around sweet.)

thank Dog. photography | dallas, tx

He did well last night.  I fed him a couple small meals, which he again kept down – but his poop began to worry me (nothing appeared that could have been an obstruction, but I won’t get any more graphic and gross than that).  The vet was not overly concerned with the poop issue (something about upper and lower intestines – his was consistent with irritation in the less troubling of the two).  More importantly, his behavior indicated he definitely was feeling much better.  He is almost back to being a crazy, friendly, noisy, pain-in-the-butt, stereotypical lab puppy.  He’s well hydrated, has a healthy appetite, his gums look good, and his poop issue was not overly concerning to the vet.  So the vet removed his catheter today and sent us home again with a couple medications for his gut.

So…. what happened?  I don’t really know.  There was clearly something very wrong with him – and all the vets who saw him agreed, enough to seriously consider emergency surgery.  Everything pointed to an obstruction, and Jet is a lab puppy so it seemed likely.  I’ve tried to watch what he puts in his mouth (I’ve recovered innumerable sticks and rocks and pieces of trash and parts of toys from his mouth), but I’m sure things have gotten past me.  But since nothing appeared to have made its way through, I began to worry that maybe something else was wrong (I had no idea what though).  Today’s vet on staff  reassured me though, as she thinks he probably just finally digested whatever it was. If Jet continues to eat well, and doesn’t vomit – and his poop issue clears up – the vet thinks he’ll be back to 100% in 72 hours or so.  Of course, if he vomits again, we may be right back at the vet.  Fingers crossed.

Why am I disclosing all this?  Well, because his vet bills, including the emergency care, overnight stay, multiple xrays, medications, IV, etc., are… high.  I’m not positive, but I’d estimate they are now in the $800-1,000 range.  That’s a significant amount of funds not budgeted for – funds that DFW Rescue Me could have used to rescue several other dogs.  So… if you’re able and willing, please consider making a donation to DFW Rescue Me.  If you do make a donation, send me your name and address, and Jet and I will send you a thank you card.

On a side note – I’d like to give huge thanks to both City Vet – Oak Lawn (vet #1) and Hillside Vet Clinic (vet #2).  All the doctors (and staff) at both locations were caring, helpful, and willing to patiently talk through everything with me, even when I was calling every couple hours.

Marjorie - My Corgi (~4.5 years old) went through much the same issue, and when a Corgi refuses to eat, you know something’s wrong. We took him to VCA, where they took X-rays and found an obstruction of some kind in his intestines. They didn’t think it was serious enough to do surgery, however, and monitored him overnight at the clinic. We were allowed to take him home after a couple of days, and he was back to his normal, happy, gluttonous self. They said that it would work its way through his poop eventually and gave us some medications to help. It’s been months now, and he’s totally fine.

Fortunately, he’s at the age where he doesn’t indiscriminately eat everything so I’m not sure what he had in his belly.

I think our vet bill came to about $800-900 (thankfully, we have pet insurance), so I’m sure Jet — with his multiple vet visits and exams — cost at least that much. Hope Rescue Me got lots of donations!!

Thank god he’s okay!!

Gia Heybrock - people have to be ready for more than that – last year when our – at the time – 10.5 year old lab was diagnosed with a malignant tumor on his leg – we had to act fast – the cost $7,500.00 – how did Jet end up in rescue? Is she all lab? gia

Debbie - Jet and his 7 siblings (and mom) were pulled from the shelter when they were two days old (he’s 4 1/2 months now). I don’t know if the mom was an owner surrender or a stray though. He’s definitely mostly lab, but I don’t think he’s pure bred – his tail’s not otter-y and he’s a bit too leggy.

Beth may - can i get boxes of christmas cards with this black lab pix? it is adorable. we have had four labs and this is the cutest card that i have ever seen

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