This week has started out kind of crazy around here. On Monday, I came home from work and was greeted by three happy pups. Everything was normal and I was getting ready to change into my "dog walking" clothes so Joe and I could take them out when Dottie came up to me. I reached down to give her a pat on the head just as she started making those dog "pre-throw up" sounds and then threw up a nice portion of her breakfast. My first thought was that she had been drinking a lot of water and then started wrestling with Alven causing her to loose her kibble. We told her to lie down in the office and started cleaning up the mess. Right in the middle of applying generous amounts of Nature's Miracle to the carpet I hear more throw up sounds and I look into the next room and sure enough more breakfast is making an appearance. Joe and I are now scrambling for more towels and moving fast to get to the next spot. When we finish there we go in search of Dottie to look her over and find her on the couch, right next to another mess. Oh my gosh! Now I'm worried and think it's something more serious. I ask Joe if she's eaten anything weird, he says no, and she throws up again on the floor.
Now worry starts to escalate to very, very concerned. We start thinking this is going to call for a visit to the ER. Joe says, give her ten more minutes and if she's still bad we'll take her in. He doesn't even finish saying that when she throws up again! This is five times now in the span of maybe 10 to 15 mins. She's going to the ER. I call ahead to let them know we're coming, grab a towel for her and go get Dottie. What I find is Dottie throwing up again in the kitchen. Joe's Mom says that she saw Dottie chewing a T-Shirt earlier in the day and took it away from her, but maybe she managed to eat some. I take her outside and again more throwing up. By now panic has set in. Joe pulls out the car, I jump into the backseat with Dottie and we're off. The ER is about 15 mins away on the highway and she throws up two more times in the car, but there's nothing left in her body and only bile is coming out.
By the time we run into the ER with her she has thrown up anywhere from 8 to 10 times in the span of less than an hour. We get taken to a room immediately and I tell them about the T-Shirt. They take her away to get x-rays and Joe and I are left in the room where a flat screen TV is showing Finding Nemo. A few minutes later they bring her back. While in the room she throws up 2 more times and minutes feel like years.
Finally the doctor comes back in with his laptop, shows us the images and immediately we knew that did not look normal. Here was the first X-ray:
Apparently, all that stuff you see in her intestine is poop. At first he thought she might just be constipated because he couldn't make out anything that could be causing a blockage. We told him she had been going to the bathroom twice a day, everyday so she wasn't that constipated to cause that. He said there could be something in there, but all the poop made it very hard to know for sure since you couldn't see it. He told us we should leave her with them and they would put her on fluids, give her some anti-throwing up medicine and try and get her to go to the bathroom so they could re-do the x-rays around 1am and get a better idea of what was going on. We agreed, though it felt horrible to leave her behind. He told us that if he called us at 1am it was probably because there was a blockage and we would need to talk about the next step, but either way we would be back at 6am to pick her up and take her to our regular vet. We went home to wait and stare at our cell phones. We tried to sleep, but it was hard and at 1:30am, since we hadn't heard anything, we called them. They had redone the X-rays and she was looking better.
She had gone to the bathroom and it looked like things were starting to pass on. At 6am we were there to get her and she had a catheter attached to her leg, but she was looking more perky. The doctor said it looked like she would be fine, but we should take her to our regular vet so they could decide if to continue treatment or let her recover at home. We took her home, rested for a half hour, and were the first appointment of the day at our vet's office.
By now she was starting to feel better and giving out kisses all around. When the vet came in she immediately started giving him the lovey eyes and didn't even mind when he started the exam. He could feel something, but since it was moving he didn't think it was lodged. He took a fecal sample and said it felt kind of hard so she could be constipated, but he wasn't convinced. He took another sample and in it was something orange. At first I thought it was a piece of carrot, since we give it to them as treats, but the doctor takes a closer look and says, "No...I think it's rubber." My immediate and exact reaction was: ''DOTTIE, YOU DID NOT!!!!!!!!"
I knew exactly, 100%, what that was and it was definitely rubber. It was part of an orange, slinky-like, rubber toy we had gotten them at the store because it was "durable," and quickly found out it was not. On SUNDAY I had been cleaning and put it on the table in my "throw away" pile. Alven had come by, snatched it from the table and ran off with his ill gotten gains. I put down my cleaning supplies and followed after him, but didn't find him right away. Then I see him coming from the front living without the toy. I keep going and sure enough there is Dottie with the toy and some chewed up pieces next to it. I grabbed the toy, the pieces, checked her mouth for any leftovers and threw it away. She could not have been alone with that toy for more than a couple of minutes so I was shocked she had enough time to swallow anything. But sure enough she had and it was now making itself at home in her colon.
I was allowed to take her home since it seemed to be passing and the doctor thought the best thing to do would be to let nature take it's course. But I was to watch her like a hawk and if she threw up again, or seemed to be straining, I was to rush her back for further treatment and they were going to leave the catheter in just in case I had to bring her back. My eyes were glued to this dog for the rest of the day. Finally, at around 11am she went to the bathroom. Oh my gosh I have never analyzed the act of going to the bathroom as closely as I did with Dottie. The following was my internal monologue while starring daggers at her so as not to miss anything:
Is she straining? I don't think she is. What about now? No, I think it's okay. It seems to be at a good rate. What if she's straining and I don't know it's straining!?!?!? Get a grip Sandra or you won't focus!!!! Okay I think she's almost done. Did that take too long??? No, I think it was fine. What if I'm getting this wrong?!?! Oh my gosh why did you have to eat rubber??? Why didn't I just throw that damn thing away the second I bought it!!!! Focus to see if she's straining!!!! Oh, wait I think she's done. Is that a good amount of poop??? It looks like a good amount. What does a good amount even look like?!?!
Fortunately, I was able to get enough of a grip to check the poop to see if there was more toy and sure enough I found 3 more pieces. They were a pretty good size and made it quite obvious why we were in this predicament. The rest of the day she slept and drank a little water. I spent that time starring at her and analyzing her every breath, until Joe came home and took over while I went to take a shower. At night she went to the bathroom again, but this time there was no more toy and the vet said we seemed to be out of the danger zone and she would be fine. We felt like we could breathe again, but we still woke up throughout the night just to look over at her and make sure she was OK. This morning the catheter came out and she got some breakfast.
Here is what she looked like yesterday when I got her home. By the end of the day I looked the same, except less cute and without a spiffy purple bandage, but with nice purple bags under my eyes and probably less hair on my head than I had on Monday.
She is doing fine today and back to her puppy ways. Also, in a panicked, crazed, whirlwind I went throughout the whole house and threw away all the toys I could find that were cloth, rubber, plastic, etc. The only thing that survived where the deer antlers and a Kong ball that is too big to fit in her mouth (hopefully!). If she wants something to chew on she can go find Alven and vice versa; that's what brother's and sister's are for anyway.
I will now end this gigantic post with a final side note: while doing the preliminary exam the ER vet discovered that Dottie has an extra tooth on one side. It's little but probably explains why she's a crazy chewing machine. She has extra tooth power!