Things were going pretty smoothly for Thanksgiving week. I should have known the other shoe was going to drop. It always does, right?
The company was great. The turkey was perfect. The Christmas shopping was going along swimmingly (online, of course). The only hitch? Annie wasn’t feeling well.
It’d been 4-5 days since she’d really eaten anything worth noting. She’d maybe make it through her breakfast if we gave her all day. She wasn’t even jealous of the attention Justice was getting. I knew things were pretty bad when I dropped food on the floor while in the kitchen making dinner, and she just eyed the food without even bothering to get up and retrieve it.
Of course, things came to a head on a Saturday. These things never go sour during regular business hours. Our local vet (Chester) was closed, so were clinics in Veazie, Orono, two in Bangor, and one in Brewer. I ultimately settled on the emergency vet people on Dirigo Drive in Brewer.
Annie and I drove down mid-afternoon on Saturday and waited our turn to be seen. She just looked so deflated.
Our initial examination plus ultrasound and x-rays ruled out: bowel obstruction, foreign body poisoning (like a penny), tumors, gallstones, and/or mucosal something-or-other that’s also bad. It ruled in: a wildly high total bilirubin (and way out of whack “other” liver values), a grossly enlarged liver, but reasonable kidney numbers. The vet said that the most common dog infection presents with both big liver AND big kidney numbers. She only had half. The thinking is your classic chicken/egg problem. Was her huge liver pinching her gall bag and making the whole area inflamed, or is her bile duct kinked, which has caused her huge liver inflammation?
Only time will tell.
We admitted her (which was tough for Annie and I both) for IV antibiotics and hydration. Hopefully when things start to settle, she’ll feel more like herself and will be able to take meds by mouth. If, for some reason, there’s an until-now undiagnosed kink in any of her tubes, she may need surgery in Portland of all places. Cross your fingers.
She’s due for repeat labs this afternoon at 4:00, so I hope to know more when Gabe and I visit around 5:30. Since this is just a nights and weekend emergency room, they close at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, and I’ll have to have her out of there by then. I just hope I can take her home tonight. If not, she’ll need to be picked up tomorrow morning and transferred to Chester Animal Hospital for more inpatient services. Good thing I’ve got a few bucks squirreled away for a rainy day. Or a sick dog. But who wants to head down to Brewer at 4:00 on Monday morning? Certainly not this guy.
Needless to say, the kids aren’t taking it very well. Even Justice doesn’t seem to know what to do with himself. Jake keeps threatening to cry.
Here’s a pic I took from the exam room. She doesn’t even “look” like she feels good, despite the brave face.
I’ll keep you posted.