Today found me, at 5:30 in the morning, lying sleepless, waiting for my dog to die. I listened to her breathe, and prayed it wasn't Parvo. For those who don't know, Parvo is an extremely serious disease in puppies. Attacking the digestive system, it causes bloody diarrhea and vomiting. It hits hard, it hits fast, and it has about a 70% survival rate. Puppies that are unvaccinated mostly die. Puppies that are vaccinated can still get it; Poppy is finished with her vaccinations. There is no cure, once the dog develops the disease. Hospitalization, I.V. hydration and antibiotics are about all that can be done. Then nature takes its course.
I remember when I was a kid, my brother had an amazing boxer puppy my dad brought home from a friend. The pup was about 5 months old, and developed parvo. It was horrific. He couldn't stand, he was shaking, bloody poop and vomiting a foul brown liquid. He was gone within 12 hours. So, with Parvo, time is of the essence, and I was panicked, waiting for the vet to open. I didn't want to overreact, but I was concerned. Earlier in the night, Poppy had very loose poops. On the kitchen floor. Then, the pup who has been sleeping through the night woke up twice, once at 3:30 a.m. to poop and again at 5:30 a.m. She didn't make it outside that time, she just couldn't hold it. Lethargic and not very hungry, she just laid on the floor.
At one point, she was sleeping so soundly that she didn't look like she was alive. I revisited that moment of horror I used to feel when I brought my newborn home for the first time, would wake up and think, in a blind panic, "The baby is not breathing!" Crib death was a huge fear for me. The fact that I had a friend with a newborn who died of S.I.D.S. made the possibility even more real to me. But, of course, they baby was always breathing, it was just hard to tell sometimes.
Enter today. I called my puppy's name, and she didn't respond. I fought nausea and panic, and shook her, and she slowly raised her head, looking at me blearily.
I called the vet, as soon as they were open, and we headed down there. It's a bit of a trip from here, but at that point, Poppy had perked up a bit, and I wasn't quite as worried. The vet did a test for parvo, for gardia (a parasite) and for cocchia. She was negative for parvo, and for gardia. Still waiting to hear about cocchia. In the meantime, we are resting her digestive system and she isn't happy with me, because she isn't able to eat. I gave her some of the broad-spectrum antibiotic that the vet gave us for her, and she seems to be doing a lot better.
I questioned what caused her stomach upset: new foods, a trip to the dog park, stress.
The mystery was solved when JBear found a small, finger-sized bag of mini m&m's that were mostly gone. Aha! Chocolate is anathema to dogs. It is toxic, due to the theobromine in it. They can get very sick, and even die from getting into chocolate. And I had been soooo careful, but we think she found this bag wedged in between the cushions of the chair. We have no idea when she would have eaten it, because she is watched constantly. But eat it, she did.
While I recognize that I probably seemed like a paranoid first time mama, I am still glad I took her in. Absolutely better safe than sorry when it comes to puppies. She is feeling better, still a bit droopy. And.. $250 later, that was one expensive bag of m&m's.
T, who has all chocolate up high on a shelf