Long Week, Sick Puppy

This has been a very long week.  I’ve been to the vet three times, coming home each time with new prescriptions and diagnoses. I have a sweet little dachshund who is in pain and frustrated by the e-collar he has to wear because he can’t control himself.  I’ve had intermittent sleep, and I’m emotionally drained.  As I said, a very long week.

I’ll warn you now, what follows is going to be an overly detailed, step-by-step retelling of what has been going on.  I’m putting it to paper, so to speak, more for therapy for me than because I think the general cares all that much.

The first sign that Shaggy wasn’t feeling well was food being left in his dish. He never leaves food behind. Usually he vacuums his dish within a few seconds and starts casting a covetous gaze on Collen’s. After a weekend of no improvement, we went to the vet, and the doctor prescribed amoxicillin and previcox for a possible infection in his “South 40” somewhere. He was doing a funny thing where he was swallowing now and then, but didn’t think much of it. After the first day we saw a huge improvement, but the swallowing continued, and he was licking his feet more than normal.

On Wednesday he was licking his feet and rubbing his face manically, so Thursday morning I took him to the vet, afraid he was having an allergic reaction to the medication. The vet (different vet from before) thought it was allergies but was concerned about something from his blood test on Monday and decided to check his thyroid function. Sure enough, his results came back and they indicated that he is hypothyroidal (which would account for a number of things now that we have the benefit of hindsight). So we have a new prescription for that condition plus the vet recommended Benadryl for allergies.

Thursday night was rough. I slept with the dog in a separate bed so as not to wake Kristin if he had to get up in the night. I woke up at 3 AM to find Shaggy had exited the bed and been licking and rubbing his face and paws for who knows how long. Brought him back to bed, put on an e-collar we had from when Collen had surgery years ago and finally was able to get him to sleep. No such luck for me though.

So back to the vet, back to the original vet this time.  We take them to the nearby Humane Society clinic, so they have a rotation of vets, which is why he has been seeing different doctors each visit. At this point the vert agrees that Shaggy’s mouth, especially on one side, is quite raw.  He cries if you even get close to touching it, so it must hurt quite bit.  He suspects Shaggy is having an allergic reaction or burn from something he ate or chewed on.  Since we have child locks on all the cabinets where chemicals are and nothing has been disturbed, it must have been something outside.  We could also still be looking at a reaction, perhaps to the amoxicillin, so he switched Shaggy over to doxicycline and threw in a stronger antihistamine to boot.  He could really use some cortisone, but the vet doesn’t want to do that because of some of the numbers from his bloodwork. There’s also a concern that the mouth wound will get infected and that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.

Back home we go with a new, smaller e-collar (a little too short it turns out) and a return visit scheduled for Monday to review his condition. Shaggy eventually figured out he could rub the end of his muzzle if he really stretched, so I picked up a new Comfy Cone for him that was a little longer and a lot more comfortable for him.  Hopefully you never need one for your dog, but if you do, I recommend you get one.  Much better for you and the dog than the standard plastic ones. I picked mine up at Petco.

He’s eating wet food although I have to spoon feed him because of the cone. Water is tricky because it hurts him when it it gets on one side of his mouth, so I give it to him in a gravy ladle and he drinks from one side of his mouth.  I think he finally peed late tonight; with the cone on, he refuses to move, so I have to remove it and try and stop him from licking long enough to go.  He smells quite unpleasant from the wound and the saliva, so we’ve tried to wipe all around his head with some dog-safe wipes.

Kristin is going to sleep with him tonight so that I can get some sleep finally, but I’m not sure how well I’ll sleep. Last night I had a horrible dream where he was hurt and Collen had a mortal wound. I woke up quite distressed, and it just reimforces how emotionally worked up I get about my dogs.  They’re our babies and it just kills me to see either of them hurt like this.

Anyway… I’m hopeful that his mouth can start to heal now that he isn’t disturbing it as much as before. He’s going to have to stay in the e-collar until he is completely healed because he can’t be trusted to leave it alone, but maybe he’ll get used to it and stop being so recalcitrant.  (Side note, he does the same thing when we put his Packers jersey on him when we watch the games during football season. He just sits on the couch motionless until you take it off of him. The difference is the behavior with the jersey is cute and funny and with the cone it is annoying and upsetting.) If we can avoid an infection, even better.