The gagging caught my interest.
Lucy began gagging shortly after our walk on Sunday and I wondered if she had something stuck in her throat. It stopped and started and stopped and started. And then she started licking air. That got me up, looking to see if I could see something in her throat. Of course, I couldn’t.
And then she started pacing. Lucy is a 10-year-old basset hound. Walks are always followed by naps. But she seemed to have trouble getting comfortable and that worried me greatly because bassets are one of the breeds prone to bloat, a potentially life threatening condition when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid, making it expand and putting pressure on other organs. In severe cases, the stomach can rotate. I gave her a Gas-X and took her to the emergency vet, hoping I was wrong. As we drove to the emergency room, she drooled profusely.
Portland has a fantastic 24-hr emergency vet hospital called DoveLewis.
The parking lot seemed rather full when we pulled in. I guessed our regular vet wasn’t the only one closed on Sundays. When Lucy and I walked in, The waiting room wasn’t packed, but still, I figured we were in for a couple of hours of veterinary care.
We didn’t have to wait long after checking in. Our vet was Dr. Casey who took us into an exam room. She was impressed when I told her about the Gas-X. I explained about my work with basset rescue and how I follow several blogs and boards related to basset hounds.As she lifted Lucy’s tail, some gas was released, and we had a little laugh. We talked over bloat and having a foreign object lodged in her throat and we decided on a course of action. She took Lucy back for x-rays and I got to wait.
I had planned ahead and packed a book, but was too anxious to read. As I leafed through magazines I noticed the other people waiting for word on their pets
- a family consisting of a mom,dad with a young son and daughter
- a middle-aged couple
- a single man
While I waited the security guard walked in from the parking lot, helping a frail, elderly woman. He carried her cat carrier and helped her get checked in. She made us all chuckle when asked if she needed help filling out the paperwork. She said, “I’m slow, but I can do it”. Later, he came back in to check on her because she had left her car window down. He offered to take her keys and roll up her window. Everyone who worked there was so nice!
I listened as the receptionist answered calls. She had two calls about poison and one about negative reactions to vaccines. The most serious conversation seemed to be with someone asking about euthanasia for a dog that had bitten a child. She explained that they did not do behavioral euthanasia, and gave resources that might be helpful. More than once she made sure that the dog had been removed from the home where the child lived.
Finally, I was called back to look at the x-rays. No foreign object showed up in Lucy’s throat, but her stomach was clearly filled with gas. Although sedating her and inserting a tube down her throat was an option, Dr. Casey didn’t recommend it. Instead, she recommended pain medication, anti-nausea medication and some subcutaneous fluids. I love how the word subcutaneous rolls off my tongue.
I returned to the lobby to wait some more. As I waited, another couple came in with a Yorkie and a woman brought in a pit bull who was going to be a blood donor. She wasn’t giving blood that day, she was an excitable dog, so the owner was training her to be relaxed in the clinic. The family checked out and I learned they were there for their guinea pig. The single man came and went and it looked serious. He was waiting for other family members to come. A woman came in with an old black pomeranian who seemed to have hurt his mouth.
And then I was called for a discharge consultation. Lucy was coming home with no meds, but directions for a bland diet and Gas-X every six hours for two to three days. She had a good sleep once we were home and seems to be healing well. She is almost her perky self again. I worry a little every time I see her tongue come out, fearing that she about to relapse, but, I know I will relax a little more each day.
DoveLewis isn’t a place you ever want to have to visit, but if you do, you and your pet will receive excellent care.